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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 401.8 km/sec
density: 1.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2341 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B9
1735 UT Nov27
24-hr: C1
1102 UT Nov27
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 27 Nov 11
Sunspot 1358 poses a slight threat for Earth-directed M-flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 133
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 26 Nov 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 26 Nov 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 133 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 26 Nov 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.0 nT
Bz: 2.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 27 Nov 11
Solar wind flowing from this southern coronal hole could reach Earth on Nov. 29. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Nov 27 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
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: 2011 Nov 27 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
39 %
40 %
17 %
20 %
01 %
02 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
11 %
10 %
27 %
26 %
58 %
61 %
Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011
What's up in space

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

Metallic pictures of the Sun

AMATEUR ASTRONOMERS PHOTOGRAPH MARS ROCKET: NASA's super-sized Mars rover Curiosity is en route to the Red Planet after a successful liftoff from Cape Canaveral yesterday. Amateur astronomers are monitoring the mission's progress: Duncan Waldron of Brisbane, Australia, photographed Curiosity's spacecraft and its booster rocket shortly after a separation burn over the Indian Ocean (image) while Scott Ferguson of Titusville, Florida, caught the rover leaving the Earth-Moon system at a distance of 161,877 km (image). Curiosity is due to reach Mars in August 2012.

RADIATION STORM AND CME ALERT: A solar radiation storm is in progress around Earth. At the moment, the storm is classified as minor, which means it has little effect on our planet other than to disturb HF radio transmissions at high latitudes. Bigger effects, however, may be in the offing. The same explosion on Nov. 26th that caused the radiation storm also hurled a CME into space at about 930 km/s (2 million mph). According to analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the CME will reach Earth on Nov. 28th at 17:21 UT (+/- 7 hours). Click to view an animated forecast track:

The impact of the cloud could trigger a geomagnetic storm. Indeed, NOAA forecasters estimate a 58% chance of severe storming around the poles when the CME arrives. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras after nightfall on Monday. Aurora alerts: text, phone.

SUNSET CONJUNCTION: Last night, the slender crescent Moon passed by Venus in the fading glow of sunset. "Crystal clear skies offered the perfect view of the pair setting over this hillside in western Colorado," says Thad V'Soske, who captured the scene using a Canon 30D digital camera:

The Moon is moving away from Venus now--but it will be back. On Dec. 26th, the crescent Moon and Venus will reprise their close encounter for a lovely night-after-Christmas sky show. Browse the links below for a preview.

more images: from Mohammad Mehdi Asgari of Bayandor, Zanjan, Iran; from Fred Espenak of Portal, Arizona; from Amirreza Kamkar of Qayen, Iran; from Mitsuo Muraoka of Hatoyama, Saitama, Japan; from Francesc Pruneda of Batet de la Serra, Spain; from Erika Rix of Zanesville,OH; from Kosma Coronaios of Louis Trichardt, South Africa; from Joseph Kline of Tucson, Arizona; from David Blanchard of Flagstaff, Arizona; from Robert T. Smith of Stoneville, NC; from Jimmy Westlake of Twin Lakes, Colorado; from Mark Seibold of Portland Oregon; from Adrian New of Castroville, Texas; from Paul Johnston of West Point, New York; from Doug Schmutz of Hamblin Valley, Utah; from Jan Curtis of Santa Fe, NM; from Pete Strasser of Tucson, Arizona;

BLACK FRIDAY SOLAR ECLIPSE: On Friday, Nov. 25th, the new Moon passed in front of the sun, slightly off-center, producing a partial solar eclipse visible from Antarctica, Tasmania, and parts of South Africa and New Zealand. Mike Nicholson photographed the event about two minutes before sunset from Otaki Beach, NZ:

"We were experiencing gale force Sou'westerlies when I took the picture," says Nicholson. "Low clouds plus flying salt and sand provided a natural filter to reduce the glare of the sun."

Maximum coverage occurred about 100 miles off the coast of Antarctica where the sun turned into a slender 9% crescent. Will any pictures be submitted from that remote location? We're still waiting.

more images: from James of Christchurch, New Zealand; from Joerg Schoppmeyer of Signal Hill, Cape Town; from Bonar Carson of Dunedin, New Zealand; from Peter Sayers of Penguin, Tasmania, Australia

  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 27, 2011 there were 1270 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 WJ15
Nov 20
2.6 LD
39 m
2011 WQ4
Nov 21
2 LD
15 m
1996 FG3
Nov 23
39.5 LD
1.1 km
2011 WP4
Nov 24
1.5 LD
17 m
2011 WN2
Nov 25
8.2 LD
39 m
2003 WM7
Dec 9
47.6 LD
1.6 km
1999 XP35
Dec 20
77.5 LD
1.0 km
2000 YA
Dec 26
2.9 LD
80 m
2011 SL102
Dec 28
75.9 LD
1.0 km
1991 VK
Jan 25
25.3 LD
1.9 km
433 Eros
Jan 31
69.5 LD
8.5 km
2009 AV
Feb 16
44.9 LD
1.2 km
2000 ET70
Feb 19
17.7 LD
1.0 km
2011 CP4
Feb 23
9.1 LD
255 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 web 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 Dynamics Observatory
  Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
  the underlying science of space weather
Science Central
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
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