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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: 637.3 km/sec
density: 0.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2256 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Nov26
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Nov26
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 26 Nov 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 24 Nov. 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= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
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: 4.6 nT
Bz: 3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2257 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Nov 26 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 Nov 26 2201 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
05 %
MINOR
05 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
05 %
MINOR
10 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
November 26, 2008
NORTHERN LIGHTS: Did you sleep through the auroras of November? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.  

THANKSGIVING SKIES: Thanksgiving is the biggest travel holiday of the year in the United States. Millions of people board airplanes and fly long hours to visit friends and family. Dreading the trip? Think of it as a sky watching opportunity. There are some things you can see only through the window of an airplane: full story.

ISS TOOLBAG: When Endeavour astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper dropped her toolbag during a spacewalk on Nov. 18th and it floated away, mission controllers probably thought they'd seen the last of it. Think again. Amateur astronomers have been monitoring the backpack-sized toolbag as it circles Earth not very far from the International Space Station. (continued below)


Above: NASA TV footage of the runaway toolbag.

After sunset on Nov. 22nd, Edward Light saw the bag using 10x50 binoculars as it sailed over his backyard in Lakewood, New Jersey. "It was quite a favorable 70-deg pass in clear skies," he says. "The visual magnitude of the bag was about +6.4 plus or minus half a magnitude." On the same night, Keven Fetter of Brockville, Ontario, video-recorded the bag zipping past the 4th-magnitude star eta Pisces: 900 kB movie. "It was easily 8th magnitude or brighter," says Fetter.

This week the toolbag is making a series of passes over Europe; late next week it will return to the evening skies of North America. Using binoculars, look for it flying a few minutes ahead of the ISS. Spaceweather's satellite tracker is monitoring both the space station and the tool bag; click here for predictions.

SUNSET SKY SHOW: On one side of the sky, two bright planets converge. On the other side, two bright satellites meet and flare. On the ground, a photographer presses the button on his camera (a Canon 30D). Perfect timing:


Click to view the full-sized image

"Venus and Jupiter were shining threough a gap in the clouds last night when a pair of Iridium satellites passed overhead," says Mark Staples of Waldo, Florida. Sunlight glinted off the satellites' flat antennas, producing two supernova-like flares "within 20seconds and 1o of each other. The brighter flare was already half-finished when I started the exposure."

Double Iridium flares are uncommon. There are 66 active Iridium satellites orbiting Earth, but they don't often cross paths at the exact moment of a flare. In this case, an on-orbit spare in a lower orbit lapped a higher, primary Iridium satellite; they met in sunlight and oh-so-briefly stole the show from Venus and Jupiter.

Readers, keep an eye on the sunset sky tonight. Venus and Jupiter are still there, rapidly converging for a spectacular conjunction with the Moon at the end of the month. It's a lovely show--no Iridium required.

Sky maps: Nov. 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, Dec 1.

more images: from Gary A. Becker of Coopersburg, Pennsylvania; from Jorge Solano of Guatemala City, Guatemala; from Mahdi Zamani of Tehran, Iran; from Alex Roca of Hortoneda, Lleida. Spain; from Doug Zubenel of De Soto, Kansas; from Gordon Garcia of Bartlett, Illinois; from Sabahattin Bilsel of Gokcebel, Bodrum, Turkey


Nov. 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Previous Novembers: 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2001, 2000]

       
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 November 26, 2008 there were 1001 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Nov. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2008 TX3
Nov. 1
9 LD
19
45 m
2008 UT95
Nov. 2
1.5 LD
17
15 m
2008 UC7
Nov. 2
4.5 LD
20
17 m
2008 VM
Nov. 3
0.1 LD
20
4 m
2008 VA4
Nov. 4
7.7 LD
17
49 m
2008 VB4
Nov. 4
1.3 LD
18
10 m
2008 VC
Nov. 4
4.4 LD
20
18 m
4179 Toutatis
Nov. 9
20 LD
14
3.8 km
2008 WO2
Nov. 16
1.0 LD
20
5 m
2004 XK3
Nov. 18
1.8 LD
15
60 m
2008 VZ3
Nov. 22
5.7 LD
18
55 m
2008 WD
Nov. 24
6.9 LD
19
30 m
2008 WC
Nov. 26
5.1 LD
19
23 m
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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