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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 312.7 km/sec
density: 1.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
1555 UT Nov01
24-hr: C1
0440 UT Nov01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 01 Nov 10
New sunspot 1120 is growing rapidly, quadrupling in area since yesterday. Credit: SOHO/MDI. 2-day movie: 8 MB mpg
Sunspot number: 32
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 31 Oct 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 45 days (15%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 813 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 31 Oct 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 81 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 31 Oct 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.7 nT
Bz: 2.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 01 Nov 10
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Nov 01 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
01 %
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 Nov 01 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Monday, Nov. 1, 2010
What's up in space

ON SALE NOW: The David H. Levy Comet Hunter -- offering the clearest views of Comet Hartley 2.


RADAR IMAGES OF COMET HARTLEY 2: What is the shape of nearby Comet Hartley 2? On October 24th, astronomers used the giant Arecibo radar to image the comet's core. And the answer is ... "a cross between a bowling pin and a pickle," reports Tim Larson of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. According to the radar images, the "pickle" is 2.2 km long and spins around it's short axis once every 18 hours. The Deep Impact (EPOXI) probe will get a closer look on Nov. 4th when it flies by the comet at a distance of only 435 miles. Stay tuned.

COMET UPDATE: Amateur astronomers report that they can once again see Comet Hartley 2 through backyard telescopes as the morning moon fades in brightness. latest images: #1, #2, #3.

AMAZING HALOES: On Oct. 30th in Kittilä, Finland, photographer Sauli Koski witnessed a brief but unforgettable display when the rising sun shone through a morning cloud of wintery ice crystals. Fortunately he had his camera:

Full sized images: labeled or unlabeled

"These were the best ice haloes I have ever seen," says Koski. "They were there for only about 10 minutes and then gone. What a delight!"

"It was a gem of a halo display," agrees atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "Koski saw at least 13 different arcs. Some, including two types of Parry arc, are rare. Three more arcs, the helic, Parry supralateral, and Moilanen are exceedingly rare. See the key for the arc identities. With winter fast approaching, now is the time for outstanding halos."

more images: from Oleg Toumilovitch of Johannesburg, South Africa; from Inge Malan of Woodmead, Johannesburg, South Africa; from Dawn Wyngaard of Johannesburg, South Africa; from Tinyiko Chauke of Pretoria, Gauteng ,South Africa

DANGEROUS BEAUTY: As November begins, Venus is passing almost directly between Earth and the sun, an event astronomers call "inferior conjunction." The view through a telescope is both beautiful and dangerous. Henry Mendt of Maracaibo, Venezuela, took this daylight picture of Venus only 7o from the blinding sun on Oct. 31st:

Venus is such a slender crescent because the planet's night side is almost-squarely facing Earth. "Only 0.7% of the disk was illuminated," says Mendt, "but the crescent was bright and wide, a full arcminute in diameter. This made Venus easy to find even in the midday sky." Here he describes how he safely targeted Venus using an 8-inch telescope and photographed the planet from inside the shadows of a parking garage.

Venus will become even easier to find in the weeks ahead as it emerges from the glare of the sun into the pre-dawn sky. The crescent will be a little fatter, but much less dangerous and no less beautiful. Stay tuned for the Morning Star.

more images: from Somsawat Rattanasoon of Chiang Mai, Thailand; from Jim Werle of Henderson, Nevada

October 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Octobers: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001]

  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 1, 2010 there were 1157 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 TQ19
Oct 8
9.6 LD
37 m
2010 TS19
Oct 10
3.7 LD
31 m
2010 TD54
Oct 12
0.1 LD
7 m
2010 TB54
Oct 13
6.1 LD
19 m
1999 VO6
Oct 14
34.3 LD
1.8 km
2010 TK
Oct 16
4.5 LD
37 m
1998 TU3
Oct 17
69.1 LD
5.2 km
2010 TG19
Oct 22
1.1 LD
70 m
1998 MQ
Oct 23
77.7 LD
1.9 km
2007 RU17
Oct 29
39.2 LD
1.1 km
2003 UV11
Oct 30
5 LD
595 m
3838 Epona
Nov 7
76.8 LD
3.4 km
2005 QY151
Nov 16
77.7 LD
1.3 km
2008 KT
Nov 23
5.6 LD
10 m
2002 EZ16
Nov 30
73.9 LD
1.0 km
2000 JH5
Dec 7
47 LD
1.5 km
2010 JL33
Dec 9
16.6 LD
1.3 km
2008 EA32
Jan 7
76.5 LD
2.1 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.
  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
  the underlying science of space weather
Science Central
  more links...
2010 Perseid meteor shower
Fine astrophotography and gift cards by Alan Friedman
Toys which are out of this world from
space weather alerts
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