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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 349.6 km/sec
density: 0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2343 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
1800 UT Oct01
24-hr: B5
1000 UT Oct01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 01 Oct 10
Sunspot 1109 is slowly decaying and poses a diminishing threat for C-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI. Resolutions: 4096, 1024, 512
Sunspot number: 45
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 30 Sep 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 41 days (15%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 809 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 30 Sep 2010


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 90 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 30 Sep 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.6 nT
Bz: 2.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 01 Oct 10
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Oct 01 2201 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
05 %
05 %
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: 2010 Oct 01 2201 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Friday, Oct. 1, 2010
What's up in space
 

iPHONE VS ANDROID! Actually, it doesn't matter which phone you carry. Our cool, new app turns both smartphones into field-tested satellite trackers. Learn more.

 

FIRST AURORAS OF OCTOBER: The solar wind is flagging and solar activity is low. No matter. Auroras are dancing across the skies of northern Norway anyway. From a beach near Straumnes on the Lofoten Islands, photographer Jan Koeman sends us the first auroras of October.

APPROACHING COMET: Green comet 103P/Hartley 2 is approaching Earth for a close encounter on Oct. 20th. At that time, the comet will be only 11 million miles from Earth and should be dimly visible to the naked eye from dark sky sites. It already looks great through backyard telescopes. Italian amateur astronomer Toni Scarmato took this picture on Sept. 29th using a 10-inch reflector:

He caught the comet gliding by lambda Cassiopeia, a 6th magnitude double star. "In 7x50 binoculars, the comet is diffuse and very large," says Scarmato. "I estimate its size around 20-arcminutes and brightness at magnitude +7.5."

Two weeks after Comet Hartley has its close encounter with Earth, NASA will have a close encounter with the comet. The EPOXI spacecraft (formerly known as Deep Impact) is hurtling toward Comet Hartley now, and on Nov. 4th it will fly 435 miles from the comet's active icy nucleus. The encounter will mark only the fifth time in history that a spacecraft has been close enough to image a comet's core.

Until then, amateur astronomers can monitor the comet as it glides through the constellation Cassiopeia in the evening sky. A finder chart from Sky and Telescope shows the comet passing by a variety of stars and deep-sky objects, offering many photo-ops in the nights ahead.

more images: from Michael Jäger of Stixendorf Austria; from P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden; from Mike Broussard of Maurice, Louisiana; from Rolando Ligustri observing remotely from New Mexico; from Mike Holloway of Van Buren, Arkansas;

A GIGANTIC JET NEAR KSC: You know what comes out of the bottom of a thunder storm--lightning. But do you know what comes out of the top? On Sept. 28th at 7:01 am EDT, Joel Gonzalez photographed a gigantic jet shooting up from a storm near NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Click on the image to watch the action--and turn up the volume for a crackling soundtrack:

Gigantic jets are lightning-like discharges that spring from the top of thunderstorms, reaching all the way from the thunderhead to the ionosphere 50+ miles overhead. They're enormous, powerful, and also fairly rare. The first one was discovered in 2001 by Dr. Victor Pasko in Puerto Rico. Since then only a few dozen have been recorded, almost always over open ocean.

"This storm was just north of the Kennedy Space Center over the Atlantic," notes Gonzalez. "It was daylight already when the jet decided to fire off! Because of this, a lot of detail was lost, but if you watch the movie closely you can see hints of streamers reaching up to the ionosphere."

Because they connect thunderstorms directly to the ionosphere, gigantic jets play some role in the global flow of electricity around our planet, but how big is that role? No one knows. Investigations of gigantic jets are considered cutting-edge.

Amateur astronomers, you can contribute to this research. Check your local weather radar map for storms just over the horizon, point your meteor cameras in that direction, and click. Gigantic jets may not be as rare as we think.


Sept. 2010 Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Septembers: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 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 October 1, 2010 there were 1147 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2009 SH2
Sep 30
7.1 LD
24.9
45 m
2010 SK13
Sep 30
0.7 LD
27.2
15 m
1998 UO1
Oct 1
32.1 LD
16.6
2.1 km
2005 GE59
Oct 1
77 LD
18
1.1 km
1999 VO6
Oct 14
34.3 LD
16.9
1.8 km
1998 TU3
Oct 17
69.1 LD
14.6
5.2 km
1998 MQ
Oct 23
77.7 LD
16.7
1.9 km
2007 RU17
Oct 29
39.2 LD
18.1
1.0 km
2003 UV11
Oct 30
5 LD
19.3
595 m
3838 Epona
Nov 7
76.8 LD
15.5
3.4 km
2005 QY151
Nov 16
77.7 LD
17.6
1.3 km
2008 KT
Nov 23
5.6 LD
28.2
10 m
2002 EZ16
Nov 30
73.9 LD
18.2
1.0 km
2000 JH5
Dec 7
47 LD
17.3
1.5 km
2010 JL33
Dec 9
16.6 LD
17.6
1.3 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
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
   
  more links...
 
 
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