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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 298.2 km/sec
density: 7.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2140 UT Oct10
24-hr: A1
0455 UT Oct10
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 10 Oct. 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Photo credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 09 Oct 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 8 days
2009 total: 220 days (78%)
Since 2004: 731 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 09 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= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.2 nT
Bz: 0.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes:
A minor solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on or about Oct. 11th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Oct 10 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 Oct 10 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
October 10, 2009

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


MARS IN THE MORNING: Set your alarm for dawn. This weekend Mars and the Moon are having a beautiful close encounter in the morning sky. Go outside before sunrise and look up. The red planet is brighter than a 1st-magnitude star and it looks nice beside the quarter Moon. Sky maps: Oct. 11, Oct. 12.

FIREBALL #1: On Friday night Sept. 25th, at approximately 9:03 pm EDT, an asteroid the size of a child's tricycle hit Earth just above Lake Ontario. It was a lucky strike, right in the middle of a network of seven all-sky cameras operated by the University of Western Ontario (UWO). The disintegrating asteroid produced a blinding fireball 100 times brighter than a full Moon. Click on the image to view a movie from the Hamilton, Ontario, station:

The asteroid exploded in flight, producing strong low-frequency sound waves in the atmosphere. Analysis of infrasound records along with video from the seven camera stations lead researchers to believe that fragments of the asteroid could have reached the ground. "This bright fireball was large enough to have dropped meteorites in a region south of Grimsby on the Niagara Peninsula, providing masses that may total as much as several kilograms," according to a UWO press release.

Researchers at Western Ontario are interested in hearing from anyone within 10 km of Grimsby who may have witnessed or recorded the fireball, seen or heard unusual events at the time, or who may have found possible fragments of the freshly fallen meteorite. Meteorite-hunting tips and more video may be found here.

FIREBALL #2: Unrelated to the Ontario fireball of Sept. 25th, another fireball lit up the skies of New Mexico on Oct. 9th at 2:04 am MDT. "It was a super-sized meteor almost as bright as the full Moon," reports amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft. "Happily, my observatory was running on all cylinders and I was able to photograph the fireball and capture its radio sounds." Turn up the volume and click here.

The sounds you just heard were 61 MHz transmissions from a distant TV station. The signals bounced off the ion trail created by the meteor's fiery descent through the atmosphere and were recorded by Ashcraft's radio telescope near Santa Fe.

Although the Draconid meteor shower was active on the night of Oct. 8th-9th, this meteor was no Draconid. "It did not come from the constellation Draco," notes Ashcraft. "It appears to be a random or 'sporadic' meteoroid."

Ashcraft welcomes reports from other observers, which might help him refine the meteor's ground track.

Sept. 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Septembers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 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 10, 2009 there were 1075 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Oct. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2001 CV26
Oct. 8
9.8 LD
2.2 km
2009 TJ
Oct. 13
10.8 LD
130 m
1999 AP10
Oct. 20
29.7 LD
2.7 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
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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