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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 369.8 km/sec
density: 0.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M1
1808 UT Oct31
24-hr: M1
1808 UT Oct31
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 31 Oct 11
New sunspot 1334 is growing rapidly. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 80
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 30 Oct 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 30 Oct 2011


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 127 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 30 Oct 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.9 nT
Bz: 2.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 31 Oct 11
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Oct 31 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
60 %
60 %
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: 2011 Oct 31 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Monday, Oct. 31, 2011
What's up in space
 

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

 
Metallic pictures of the Sun

DISINTEGRATING COMET: A small comet dove into the sun during the late hours of Oct. 30th. Blasted by intense solar heat, the 'dirty snowball' disintegrated in plain view of the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). Watch the movie and note how the comet shrinks to a pinprick just before it vanishes.

SPOOKY AURORAS: Some observers are calling it the "almost-Halloween storm." Blood red auroras that filled the skies over parts of the United States and Europe on Oct. 24-25 were certainly spooky. Indeed, veteran photographer Mike Hollingshead of Blair, Nebraska, felt the best place to capture the display was from a graveyard:

"At first the auroras seemed ordinary--that is, until the 'red surge madness' began," says Hollingshead. "Crazy bright shrouds of red light danced behind the head stones for 15 minutes." Other observers saw ghostly forms, moody trees, green phantasms, and more disturbing shades of red. Could Halloween itself be any more frightening?

Trick or treaters in Alaska, Canada and Scandinavia are about to find out. NOAA forecasters estimate a 15% to 25% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Oct. 31st in response to a solar wind stream gently buffeting Earth's magnetic field. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for spooky lights. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

October 2011 Aurora Gallery
[previous Octobers: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]

DOUBLE SATELLITE FLYBY: To catch one satellite having a close encounter with a distant star requires careful timing and a degree of luck.On Oct. 28th, Kevin Fetter of Brockville, Ontario, did it twice. Play the movie to watch two spacecraft criss-cross Regulus in the constellation Leo:

The first satellite was SkyMed-2, part of a constellation of Earth observing satellites deployed by the Italian Space Agency. SkyMed satellites are remarkable because they sometimes flare like Iridiums.

The second, brighter satellite in the video is Tiangong 1, China's new space station. The 8.5-ton module was launched on Sept. 29th on a two-year training mission. Chinese spacecraft and taikonauts will be visiting Tiangong 1 in the months ahead to practice rendezvous and docking maneuvers, to exercise space construction techniques, and to learn to live onboard an orbiting outpost. An unmanned probe, the Shenzhou 8, is due to launch on Nov 1st for China's first remote docking exercise.

This means more double flybys are in the offing. Sighting times for Tiangong 1 and companions are available from Spaceweather.com's Satellite Tracker. Your smartphone can tell you when to look, too.

  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 31, 2011 there were 1256 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2011 UC190
Oct 26
1.8 LD
--
28 m
2011 UX255
Oct 28
0.4 LD
--
15 m
2011 FZ2
Nov 7
75.9 LD
--
1.6 km
2005 YU55
Nov 8
0.8 LD
--
200 m
2011 UT91
Nov 15
9.9 LD
--
102 m
1994 CK1
Nov 16
68.8 LD
--
1.5 km
1996 FG3
Nov 23
39.5 LD
--
1.1 km
2003 WM7
Dec 9
47.6 LD
--
1.6 km
1999 XP35
Dec 20
77.5 LD
--
1.0 km
2000 YA
Dec 26
2.9 LD
--
80 m
2011 SL102
Dec 28
75.9 LD
--
1.1 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 web 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 Dynamics Observatory
  Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
STEREO
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Heliophysics
  the underlying science of space weather
Science Central
 
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