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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 400.6 km/sec
density: 0.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A3
1800 UT Oct04
24-hr: A3
1800 UT Oct04
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 04 Oct. 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Photo credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 03 Oct 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 2 days
2009 total: 214 days (78%)
Since 2004: 725 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 03 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= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 1.5 nT
Bz: 0.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Oct 04 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 04 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
October 4, 2009

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


COSMIC RAYS HIT SPACE AGE HIGH: NASA spacecraft are measuring record-high levels of cosmic rays--a side-effect of the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century. This development could have implications for the amount of shielding astronauts need to take when they explore deep space. Science@NASA has the full story.

HARVEST MOON: Tonight's full Moon has a special name--the Harvest Moon. It's the full moon closest to the northern autumnal equinox (Sept. 22). In years past, farmers depended on the light of the Harvest Moon to gather ripening crops late into the night. Electric lights have since replaced it, but the Moon could still do the job if called upon:

Catalin M. Timosca took the picture last night from a moonlit cornfield in Turda, Romania. "I used a Nikon D40X," she says.

Half a world away in Tijeras, New Mexico, "the Harvest Moon was escorted by a blanket of pink fluffy clouds as it rose above the tree line," reports Becky Ramotowski, who photographed the glowing landscape. "Now I really feel like Fall is here."

more images: from Doug Zubenel of Kansas City, Missouri; from Azhy Chato Hasan of Erbil city, Kurdistan Region, Iraq; from Bryan Murahashi of San Jose, California; from Tamas Ladanyi of Marko, Hungary; from Will Wickham of Horseheads, New York; from Miguel Claro of Almada, Lisboa - Portugal; from Stefano De Rosa of Turin, Italy; from Mark Staples of Little Lake Santa Fe in Waldo,Fla; from Fredrik Broms of Kvaløya, Norway; from Jaroslav Patuc of Visnove, Slovakia; from Marko Posavec of Koprivnica, Croatia; from John C McConnell of Maghaberry, Northern Ireland; from Daisuke Tomiyasu of Ashiya, Hyogo, Japan; from Jason Lee of Washington, DC; from M-P Markkanen of Kuusamo, Finland; from Tavi Greiner of Shallotte, NC; from Nazlı Cetinok Arun of Istanbul, Turkey

MEANWHILE ON THE SUN: Astronomers are monitoring an arch-shaped prominence dancing along the limb of the sun. "It is several times wider than Earth," notes Greg Piepol of Rockville, Maryland, who recorded this view through his Coronado SolarMax90:

Michael Buxton of Ocean Beach, California, has made a must-see movie of the prominence. "It was quite large and very pleasing to view as it danced in the chromosphere. The movie shows 1 hour and 45 minutes of action."

Readers with solar telescopes, train your optics on the sun's northwestern limb.

more images: from John Minnerath of Crowheart, Wyoming; from Mike Borman of Evansville, Indiana; from Steve Riegel of Santa Maria, California; from Fabio Mariuzza of Biauzzo - Italy; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from Mark Townley of Brierley Hill, West Midlands, UK; from Fabio Mariuzza of Biauzzo - Italy

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 4, 2009 there were 1079 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Sept. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 QC35
Sept. 2
2.9 LD
35 m
2009 RY3
Sept. 11
1.9 LD
50 m
2009 RR
Sept. 16
2.8 LD
33 m
2009 RG2
Sept. 21
9.1 LD
31 m
2009 SN103
Sept. 28
1.2 LD
13 m
2009 HD21
Sept. 29
22.9 LD
1.0 km
1998 FW4
Sept. 29
8.6 LD
550 m
2009 SH2
Sept. 30
2.8 LD
49 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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