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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: 363.9 km/sec
density: 6.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2240 UT Oct29
24-hr: B1
2240 UT Oct29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Oct. 09
Sunspot 1029 is a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Photo credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 26
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 28 Oct 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2009 total: 232 days (77%)
Since 2004: 743 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 28 Oct 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= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.5 nT
Bz: 2.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Oct 29 2201 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
05 %
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: 2009 Oct 29 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 %
What's up in Space
October 29, 2009

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

 

THE SUN'S SNEAKY VARIABILITY: It might not be obvious to the naked eye, but the sun is a variable star. A sensor slated for launch onboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory will probe the sun's "sneaky variability" with better time and spectral resolution than ever before. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

BIG SUNSPOT: After five days of non-stop growth (movie), sunspot 1029 has become the biggest active region of the year and a beautiful target for backyard solar telescopes. Amateur astronomer Lecoq Etienne sends this picture from Mesnil-Panneville, France:

The sunspot's large dark core is about the size of Earth, while the entire sunspot group stretches about 50,000 km from end to end. The behemoth has been crackling with magnetic activity, producing 10 C-class solar flares in the past few days. That more than triples the number of C-flares (3) previously detected in all of 2009. According to NOAA forecasters, there is a 5% chance of an even stronger M-class flare during the next 24 hours. Stay tuned for solar activity!

more images: from Dave Gradwell of Near Birr Ireland; from Jimmy Eubanks of Boiling Springs, South Carolina; from Gianluca Valentini of Rimini, Italy; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from John C McConnell of Maghaberry, Northern Ireland.

INDONESIAN ASTEROID: Picture this: A 10-meter wide asteroid hits Earth and explodes in the atmosphere with the energy of a small atomic bomb. Frightened by thunderous sounds and shaking walls, people rush out of their homes, thinking that an earthquake is in progress. All they see is a twisting trail of debris in the mid-day sky:


Click to view an Indonesian news report

This really happened on Oct. 8th around 11 am local time in the coastal town of Bone, Indonesia. The Earth-shaking blast received remarkably little coverage in Western press, but meteor scientists have given it their full attention. "The explosion triggered infrasound sensors of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) more than 10,000 km away," report researchers Elizabeth Silber and Peter Brown of the Univ. of Western Ontario in an Oct. 19th press release. Their analysis of the infrasound data revealed an explosion at coordinates 4.5S, 120E (close to Bone) with a yield of about 50 kton of TNT. That's two to three times more powerful than World War II-era atomic bombs.

The asteroid that caused the blast was not known before it hit and took astronomers completely by surprise. According to statistical studies of the near-Earth asteroid population, such objects are expected to collide with Earth on average every 2 to 12 years. "Follow-on observations from other instruments or ground recovery efforts would be very valuable in further refining this unique event," say Silber and Brown.


October Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Octobers: 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 October 29, 2009 there were 1078 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Oct. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2001 CV26
Oct. 8
9.8 LD
13
2.2 km
2009 TJ
Oct. 13
10.8 LD
18
130 m
2009 TM8
Oct. 17
0.9 LD
17
10 m
2009 TF8
Oct. 17
7.6 LD
19
20 m
2009 TH8
Oct. 19
4.5 LD
18
45 m
2009 UE
Oct. 19
2.5 LD
19
40 m
2009 UD
Oct. 20
2.0 LD
17
17 m
1999 AP10
Oct. 20
29.7 LD
13
2.7 km
2009 TO8
Oct. 21
7.4 LD
19
27 m
2009 UJ
Oct. 22
6.8 LD
19
25 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
   
  more links...
   
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