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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 287.3 km/sec
density: 0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2343 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Nov05
24-hr: A0
0935 UT Nov05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 05 Nov. 09
Sunspots are trying to emerge at the circled locations. They do not yet show up in SOHO white light images, but the active regions are clear in this magnetic map. Photo credit: SOHO/MDI

more images: from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex; from Robert Arnold of Isle of Skye, Scotland
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 Nov 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 5 days
2009 total: 237 days (77%)
Since 2004: 748 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 04 Nov 2009

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= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.7 nT
Bz: 0.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Nov. 6th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Nov 05 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
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: 2009 Nov 05 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
November 5, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you miss the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.


TAURID METEOR SHOWER: Earth is entering a stream of debris from periodic Comet 2P/Encke, and this is causing the annual Taurid meteor shower. The shower has a broad maximum lasting from Nov. 5th through 12th. At most, only about 5 Taurids per hour streak across the sky, but what they lack in number they make up for in dazzle. Taurid meteors tend to be fireballs, very bright and slow. Look for them falling out of the constellation Taurus during the hours around midnight. [sky map] [Taurid counts: north, south]

Taurid photos: from John Chumack of Dayton, Ohio; from Brian Emfinger of Ozark, Arkansas; from Joe Westerberg of Joshua Tree National Park, California

GLANCING BLOW: Arctic sky watchers should be alert for Northern Lights on Nov. 5th. NOAA forecasters say there is a chance that a coronal mass ejection (CME) will hit Earth's magnetic field, and the impact could spark a high-latitude geomagnetic storm. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory recorded this movie of the CME:

The billon-ton cloud was blown into space by departing sunspot 1029 on Oct. 31st. Normally, CMEs take only two or three days to reach Earth, but during the deep solar minimum of 2008-2009, the clouds have slowed to a veritable crawl. Crossing the sun-Earth divide now requires about five days, so an Oct. 31st CME should arrive on Nov. 5th. Because the blast was not squarely Earth-directed, the sluggish CME will deliver at most a glancing blow. NOAA forecasters estimate a 5% chance of strong geomagnetic storms around Earth's poles.

October Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Octobers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001]

WHAT ARE THE ODDS? A ray of light leaves the sun, travels 93 million miles, bounces off some moondust, angles toward Earth, travels another quarter million miles to Switzerland, where it threads a 10-meter hole in the Alps and passes through the lens of an onlooker's digital camera. This series of seemingly improbable events actually happened on Oct. 29th. The onlooker, Ricklin Andreas of Elm, Switzerland, took a picture to prove it:

"The full Moon was shining through Martin's hole--a natural gap in the rock of the Tschingelhorn," explains Andreas.

What are the odds? It happens about twice a year. The sun itself shines through the gap on March 12/13 and Oct. 1/2. Likewise, the full (or nearly-full) Moons of March and October are in the right position to peek through the hole, although they don't do it on the same fixed dates as the sun because of complications caused by the Moon's 27.3-day, 5o-tilted orbit.

Andreas happened to be in the right place at the right time. To see the improbable, keep looking up!

Explore the Sunspot Cycle

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 5, 2009 there were 1077 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Nov. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 UW87
Oct. 31
1.6 LD
11 m
2009 UK14
Nov. 1
9.1 LD
29 m
2006 JY26
Nov. 2
6.7 LD
10 m
2000 XK44
Nov. 4
28.8 LD
1.1 km
2000 UJ1
Nov. 7
43.3 LD
1.2 km
2000 TO64
Nov. 10
44.2 LD
1.9 km
2009 UK20
Nov. 12
6.5 LD
20 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.
  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
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.













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