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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 482.1 km/sec
density: 3.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2244 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A1
2245 UT Nov07
24-hr: A1
2245 UT Nov07
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 07 Nov 08
New-cycle sunspot 1007 is about to disappear over the sun's western limb. Credit: SOHO/MDI

more images: from Paul Haese of Blackwood, South Australia; from Robert Arnold on the Isle of Skye, Scotland
Sunspot number: 11
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 06 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= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 9.8 nT
Bz: 1.1 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from this coronal hole should reach Earth on Nov. 7th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Nov 07 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 07 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
15 %
20 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
What's up in Space
November 7, 2008
WAKE UP! Did you sleep through the auroras of October? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.  

AURORA ALERT: High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for Northern Lights tonight. Earth is entering a high-speed solar wind stream and this is lighting up auroras around the Arctic Circle.

images: from Aleksander Chernucho of the Kolyskia peninsula, Russia; from LeRoy Zimmerman of Ester, Alaska

TAURID METEORS: The annual Taurid meteor shower is underway and it could be a good show. 2008 is a "swarm year" for the Taurids: Between Nov. 5th and 12th, 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.

Roman Piffl sends this report from Slovakia: "Last night (Nov. 5th), a very bright Taurid fireball streaked over the northern horizon of Marianka near our capital city Bratislava." He and colleagues Ivan Majchrovic and Tomas Maruska captured the meteor in this 30 second exposure with a Canon 5D:

"We estimate the magnitude of the fireball to be -10, about as bright as a quarter Moon," he says.

Readers, be alert for more of these in the nights ahead. The best time to look is anytime after dark. The constellation Taurus (where Taurids appear) rises at sunset and hangs high overhead at midnight: sky map.

more Taurid photos: from Frank R Uroda of Port Huron, Michigan; from Brian Emfinger of Ozark, Arkansas

GREAT PROMINENCE: "The sun left two gifts on my doorstep this morning," says Alan Friedman of Buffalo, New York. "There was a gorgeous solar prominence and a glorious warm November day that allowed me to observe it in shirtsleeves!" This was the view through his backyard solar telescope:

Other observers saw it, too: Stephen Ames of Hodgenville, Kentucky, called it "a real WOWser!" Jan Timmermans of the Netherlands measured the prominence and found it surging "four times higher than Earth itself. It was huge." John Boyd of Santa Barbara, California, said "it was the biggest prominence I've seen in a long time. I'm glad the sun is getting active again."

Indeed it is. The month of October brought four new-cycle sunspots, doubling the total of the previous nine months. For the first time in 2008, new-cycle active regions are outnumbering their old-cycle counterparts. Solar Cycle 24 is definitely picking up steam and this fiery prominence may be a further sign of things to come.

Readers, if you have a solar telescope, take a look at the increasingly active sun.

more images: from David Leong of Hong Kong; from Jan Timmermans of Valkenswaard, the Netherlands; from Steve Irvine of Big Bay, Ontario, Canada; from Adrian Guzman of San Jose, California;

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 7, 2008 there were 997 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
2008 VM
Nov. 3
0.1 LD
4 m
2008 VA4
Nov. 4
7.7 LD
49 m
2008 VB4
Nov. 4
1.3 LD
10 m
2008 VC
Nov. 4
4.4 LD
18 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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