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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
SPACE WEATHER
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 525.9 km/sec
density: 2.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Oct28
24-hr: A0
0215 UT Oct28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 28 Oct 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 26 Oct. 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.7 nT
Bz: 7.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth as early as Oct. 28th, although the 29th is more likely. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Oct 28 2201 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
01 %
01 %
CLASS X
01 %
01 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2008 Oct 28 2201 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
25 %
25 %
MINOR
15 %
15 %
SEVERE
05 %
05 %
What's up in Space
October 28, 2008
BEHOLD THE SUN: Would you like to see fiery prominences and new-cycle sunspots with your own eyes? On sale now: Personal Solar Telescopes.  

AURORA WATCH: High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras tonight and tomorrow. A solar wind stream is heading toward Earth and could arrive as early as Oct. 28th: gallery.

SOLAR EXPLOSION: Yesterday, Oct. 27th, something exploded on the far side of the sun. The blast hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) over the sun's western limb where the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory caught it in flight:


Click to launch a 0.3 MB movie

The CME was not aimed at Earth (for the record, it is heading in the general direction of Saturn), so there will be no space weather consequences for our planet. What caused the explosion? Possibilities include a farside sunspot or a collapsing magnetic filament. Whatever the source, it was a break from the relentless calm of recent months. The sun is alive, after all.

VOLCANIC SUNSETS: Three months ago, Alaska's Kasatochi volcano spewed more than a million tons of volcanic ash and sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere. Much of that "stuff" is still up there. It's drifting around the northern hemisphere causing displays like this:

"After sunset on Oct. 26th, I saw a lovely purple colour in the western sky," says photographer Pete Glastonbury of Devizes, UK. "It lasted for about 15 minutes."

Purple is one of the telltale signs of a volcanic sunset. Fine volcanic aerosols in the stratosphere scatter blue light which, when mixed with ordinary sunset red, produces a violet hue. But purple isn't the only thing to look for, says atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. In addition, he advises, "be alert for a very bright yellow twilight arch, fine cloud structure in the arch seen through binoculars, and long diffuse rays and shadows from the west."

One or more of these flags may signal a wisp of volcanic debris drifting over your hometown. Go outside at the end of the day and look west. Kasatochi could be waiting.

more images: from Doug Zubenel of De Soto, Kansas; from Peter Tarr of Queens, New York City; from Jeffrey Berkes of West Chester, PA; from Liem Bahneman of Bothell, WA; from John Flude of Lower Willingdon, East Sussex UK; from Andy English in the Cibola National Forest of New Mexico.; from P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden;


2008 Orionid Meteor Gallery
[IMO meteor counts] [2006 Orionids]

       
Near-Earth Asteroids
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.
On October 28, 2008 there were 992 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Oct. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2008 QS11
Oct. 2
11 LD
14
470 m
2008 SH148
Oct. 4
5.8 LD
19
26 m
2005 GN59
Oct. 6
20 LD
15
1.4 km
2008 TC3
Oct. 7
IMPACT
-13
3 m
2008 TZ
Oct. 10
5.3 LD
18
37 m
1999 VP11
Oct. 16
72 LD
17
860 m
2001 UY4
Oct. 18
74 LD
17
1.1 km
Comet Barnard-Boattini
Oct. 21
75 LD
16
unknown
2008 UM1
Oct. 22
0.2 LD
22
2 m
2008 TT26
Oct. 23
3.6 LD
15
70 m
2000 EX106
Oct. 23
69 LD
18
1.1 km
2005 VN
Oct. 29
4.1 LD
15
116 m
2008 TX3
Nov. 1
9 LD
19
45 m
4179 Toutatis
Nov. 9
20 LD
14
3.8 km
Notes: LD means "Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.
Essential Links
NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
  The official U.S. government space weather bureau
Atmospheric Optics
  The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
STEREO
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
  a one-stop hub for all things scientific
  more links...
   
©2008, SpaceWeather.com -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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