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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 288.4 km/sec
density: 0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2340 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Nov03
24-hr: A0
1410 UT Nov03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 03 Nov. 09
The Earth-facing side of the sun is blank--no sunspots. Photo credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 02 Nov 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 3 days
2009 total: 235 days (77%)
Since 2004: 746 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 02 Nov 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= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 0
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.1 nT
Bz: 0.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Nov. 6th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Nov 03 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 Nov 03 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
30 %
01 %
20 %
01 %
05 %
What's up in Space
November 3, 2009

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


TAURID METEOR SHOWER: Earth is entering a stream of debris from periodic Comet 2P/Encke, and this is causing the annual Taurid meteor shower. The shower has a broad maximum lasting from Nov. 5th through 12th. At most, only about 5 Taurids per hour streak across the sky, but what they lack in number they make up for in dazzle. Taurid meteors tend to be fireballs, very bright and slow. Look for them falling out of the constellation Taurus during the hours around midnight. [sky map]

meteor images: from John Chumack of Dayton, Ohio

NOT-SO-BLANK SUN: Today, the sunspot number is zero, which means the sun is blank, right? Wrong. This morning, NASA's STEREO-A spacecraft photographed sunspot 1029 seething with activity over the sun's western horizon:

Photo credit: STEREO Extreme Ultra Violet Telescope (195 A)

This impressive sunspot, which rotated over the sun's western limb three days ago, does not add to the sunspot number because it is no longer visible from Earth. Astronomers only count spots that are on the Earth-facing side of the sun. That's how it's been done since Rudolph Wolf invented the sunspot number in 1848. In those days, only one side of the sun was visible from Earth, so the tradition was established.

Now, however, for the first time in the history of astronomy, NASA's twin STEREO spacecraft are seeing over the sun's horizon, tracking sunspots that officially "don't count." The two spacecraft are moving toward opposite sides of the sun, and by February 2011 the entire sun will be under their watchful eyes. Perhaps it is time to start thinking about a "whole sun" sunspot number. As today's image shows, the sun is not always as blank as it appears to be.

FULL FROSTY MOON: According to folklore, last night's full Moon was the "Frosty Moon." Its one of the highest and brightest full Moons of the year in the northern hemisphere. In the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Azhy Chato Hasan photographed the silver orb framed by the leaves of a moonlit eucalyptus tree:

Elsewhere around the world, the Frosty Moon was framed by different things: an ice halo, a colorful corona, a bank of eerie clouds. Browse the links below for even more variety.

more images: from Jeff Warvel of Carmel, Indiana; from Mike Holloway of Van Buren, Arkansas; from Pieter-Jan Dekelver at the National Park Hoge Kempen in Maasmechelen, Belgium; from Daisuke Tomiyasu of Ahiya, Hyogo, Japan; from Louis Suarato of Albany, NY; from Arman Golestaneh of Boshrouye, Iran

October Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Octobers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 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 November 3, 2009 there were 1077 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Nov. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 UW87
Oct. 31
1.6 LD
11 m
2009 UK14
Nov. 1
9.1 LD
29 m
2006 JY26
Nov. 2
6.7 LD
10 m
2000 XK44
Nov. 4
28.8 LD
1.1 km
2000 UJ1
Nov. 7
43.3 LD
1.2 km
2000 TO64
Nov. 10
44.2 LD
1.9 km
2009 UK20
Nov. 12
6.5 LD
20 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
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.













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