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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 295.6 km/sec
density: 0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1650 UT Nov05
24-hr: B3
1255 UT Nov05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 05 Nov 08
New-cycle sunspot 1007 is about to disappear over the sun's western limb. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 14
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 Nov. 2008
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= 0
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.1 nT
Bz: 1.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
A weak solar wind stream flowing from this shallow coronal hole could reach Earth on Nov. 6th or 7th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 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: 2008 Nov 05 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
50 %
01 %
35 %
01 %
10 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
25 %
01 %
50 %
01 %
20 %
What's up in Space
November 5, 2008
BEHOLD THE SUN: Would you like to see fiery prominences and new-cycle sunspots with your own eyes? On sale now: Personal Solar Telescopes.  

TAURID METEOR WATCH: The annual Taurid meteor shower peaks Nov. 5th through 12th, and it could be a good show. 2008 is a "swarm year" for the Taurids: Earth is due to pass through a swarm of gritty debris from parent comet 2P/Encke. When the same thing happened in 2005, sky watchers observed a slow drizzle of midnight fireballs for nearly two weeks. Be alert for Taurids: sky map.

SUNSPOT 1007: "There is a lovely swirling plasma maelstrom approaching the sun's western limb," reports astrophotographer Pete Lawrence, who sends this picture from his backyard observatory in Selsey, UK:

Most of us call it "sunspot 1007." It is only the eighth sunspot of young Solar Cycle 24; it is also the biggest and most active. On Nov. 3rd and 4th, sunspot 1007 unleashed a series of B-class solar flares that bathed Earth's dayside in X-rays and caused ionospheric disturbances over Europe. After many months of deep solar minimum, the sun is finally showing signs of life.

Solar rotation is about to carry sunspot 1007 over the western limb where it can no longer be seen from Earth. Readers, if you have a solar telescope, catch the "lovely maelstrom" before it goes.

sunspot photos: from M. Ugro et al. of South Portland, Maine; from Robert Arnold of Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Stephen Ames of Hodgenville, Kentucky; from Pavol Rapavy of Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia; from Paul Maxson of Surprise, Arizona; from Guenter Kleinschuster of Feldbach, Styria, Austria;

KASATOCHI, WEEK 12: Twelve weeks ago in Alaska's Aleutian islands, the Kasatochi volcano erupted. More than a million tons of ash and sulfur dioxide rocketed into the stratosphere, giving rise to sunsets of rare beauty around the northern hemisphere. Those sunsets are still with us....

On Nov. 2nd, "we had another great Kasatochi sunset with bright light and colors!" reports P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden. He snapped this picture using a Canon 450D:

"This sunset has several volcanic hallmarks," says atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "Stratospheric ash and sulfate aerosols have scattered light near the horizon to produce an intense yellow twilight arch. Higher up, the sky shows signs of the purple light, a mixture of dust-scattered blue light and reddened sunset rays. Finally, to the left is a long dark shadow across the stratosphere where a low-hanging cloud over the horizon has blocked the sun’s light." (Note: The shadow is best seen in the full-sized photo.)

"It’s been 12 weeks since Kasotochi erupted. Some volcanoes have given years of colorful sunsets and, who knows, this one could also!"

more images: from Lionel Bernardi of Toulouse, France; from Aymen Ibrahem of Giza, Egypt: from Bizik Péter of Eger, Hungary; from Elaine Parker of Westover, Maryland; from Anne Patterson at the Dingle peninsula, Ireland; from Valentin Grigore of Targoviste, Romania; from John C McConnell of Maghaberry Northern Ireland.

Oct. 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Previous Octobers: 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 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 November 5, 2008 there were 996 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Nov. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 TX3
Nov. 1
9 LD
45 m
2008 UT95
Nov. 2
1.5 LD
15 m
2008 UC7
Nov. 2
4.5 LD
17 m
4179 Toutatis
Nov. 9
20 LD
3.8 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 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
  a one-stop hub for all things scientific
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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