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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 298.9 km/sec
density: 1.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2210 UT Dec01
24-hr: A0
2210 UT Dec01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 01 Dec 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 30 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: 2.4 nT
Bz: 1.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Dec. 3rd or 4th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Dec 01 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 Dec 01 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
December 1, 2008
NORTHERN LIGHTS: Did you sleep through the auroras of November? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.  

MOONBOW CHALLENGE: Experts once thought that moonbows--that is, rainbows formed in moonlight--were only visible around the time of a bright full Moon. "Amateur astronomer Martin McKenna has just broken that rule by photographing a moonbow only 7 days before the new moon," announces atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "The challenge now is to image one even closer to a new moon." Readers, can you do it? "Who knows," says Cowley, "I might even offer a prize of an umbrella!" Submit your images here.

STUNNING SKY SHOW: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look south. Beaming through the twilight is one of the prettiest things you'll ever see--a tight three-way conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and the crescent Moon: sky map.

Photographer Ehsan Sanaei Ardakani sends this picture taken just hours ago from Ardakan, Iran:

"It was one the most spectacular conjunctions ever," he says "I took the picture using a Nikon D70s set at 200 ASA for 20s."

more images: from Becky Ramotowski of Tijeras, New Mexico; from Ramiz Qureshi of Karachi, Pakistan; from Mustafa Erol of Antalya, Turkey; from Hossein Haeri-Ardakani of Ardakan, Yazd, Iran; from Milan Gucic of Belgrade, Serbia; from Premjith Narayanan of the Kingdom of Bahrain; from Mike Salway of Central Coast, NSW Australia; from Sigurd Lasa of Cebu, Philippines; from Kim Cheol-Joong of Chuncheon, Gangwon-do, South Korea; from David Maidment of Sohar, Oman; from Mania Rahban of Kerman, Iran; from Trevor Ward of Perth Western Australia; from Cindy Safina of Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong; from Raghu Kalra of New Delhi; from Shahrin of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; from Tunç Tezel of Denizli, Turkey; from Paul Haese of Blackwood, South Australia; from Chunkin Man of Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong; from Nigel Dudley of Oakford, Western Australia; from James Kevin Ty of Manila, the Philippines; from Simon Chan of Perth, Western Australia; from David Hough of Warners Bay NSW Australia; from Dennis Mammana of Borrego Springs, California; from Luc Bellavance of Rimouski, Quebec; from Stephen O'Meara of Volcano, Hawaii;

AURORA WATCH: Last night in far-northern Nunavik, Quebec, the clouds parted to reveal a green and purple ribbon of light winding among the stars. Sylvain Serre grabbed his Canon 30D and snapped this picture:

Photo details: Canon EOS 30D, 10mm, f/3.5, ISO 800, 20 sec

"November has been a good month for auroras," says Serre. "We've had five clear nights and I saw the Northern Lights every time." Serre's home in far-northern Quebec lies under Earth's auroral oval, a glowing ring around the North Pole where auroras are almost constantly active. Last night's display was encouraged by a crack in Earth's magnetosphere briefly opening and allowing solar wind to pour in. It was a minor display by the standards of Nunavik--"not very beautiful," deadpans Serre, "but we enjoyed it anyway."

A better show is in the offing. A solar wind stream is heading for Earth and it could spark geomagnetic storms when it arrives on Dec. 3rd or 4th. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

Nov. 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Previous Novembers: 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 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 December 1, 2008 there were 1002 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Dec. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 WY94
Dec. 5
3.2 LD
35 m
2008 WG14
Dec. 5
4.8 LD
49 m
2006 VB14
Dec. 14
36 LD
795 m
2008 EV5
Dec. 23
8.4 LD
435 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.
  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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