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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 353.9 km/sec
density: 0.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A3
2040 UT Nov18
24-hr: A3
2040 UT Nov18
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 18 Nov. 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 17 Nov 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 1 days
2009 total: 243 days (76%)
Since 2004: 754 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 17 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= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.0 nT
Bz: 1.9 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Nov. 20th or 21st. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Nov 18 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 18 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
20 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
20 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
November 18, 2009

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


GREAT FIREBALL: A remarkable midnight fireball that "turned night into day" over parts of the western United States last night was not a Leonid. Infrasound measurements suggest a sporadic asteroid not associated with the Leonid debris stream. The space rock exploded in the atmosphere with an energy equivalent to 0.5 - 1 kilotons of TNT. Approximately 6 hours later, observers in Utah and Colorado witnessed a twisting iridescent-blue cloud in the dawn sky. Debris from the fireball should have dissipated by that time, but the cloud remains unexplained; we cannot yet rule out a connection to the fireball event. Stay tuned for further analysis. videos: #1, #2, #3.

LEONID METEOR UPDATE: As forecasters predicted, there was a surge of Leonid meteors during the late hours of Nov. 17th. Preliminary counts from the International Meteor Organization exceed 120 meteors per hour:

The surge occurred when Earth passed through a double-stream of debris from Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. We call it a "double-stream" because it consists of dust ejected from the comet on two occasions, in 1466 AD and 1533 AD. Earth is exiting the double-stream now, but low-level Leonid activity continues. Listen for pings on the meteor radar. .

UPDATED: 2009 Leonid Meteor Gallery
[previous Leonids: 1998, 2001, 2002, 2006]

GOODBYE SUN: "The last week has been special with the sun rising in the south and setting in the south only an hour later," reports Fredrik Broms of Kvaløya, Norway. "But today (Nov. 16) the sun barely made it above the horizon." He photographed the few visible rays using a Nikon D3:

"Now sky watchers around the Arctic Circle enter the long polar night when the sun doesn't rise at all. How long this period lasts depends on your latitude. Here in northern Norway, the sun won't be back until the end of January."

"Goodbye sun, until 2010!"

November Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Novembers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001]

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 18, 2009 there were 1080 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Nov. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
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
2009 VA
Nov. 6
0.05 LD
6 m
2000 UJ1
Nov. 7
43.3 LD
1.2 km
2009 VT1
Nov. 9
1.4 LD
6 m
2000 TO64
Nov. 10
44.2 LD
1.9 km
2009 UK20
Nov. 12
6.5 LD
20 m
2009 VX
Nov. 12
2.6 LD
26 m
2009 VR
Nov. 13
6.6 LD
10 m
2009 VC1
Nov. 18
6.0 LD
21 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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