You are viewing the page for Oct. 7, 2009
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 264.9 km/sec
density: 0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2322 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Oct07
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Oct07
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 07 Oct. 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Photo credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 06 Oct 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 5 days
2009 total: 217 days (78%)
Since 2004: 728 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 06 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= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.6 nT
Bz: 0.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2323 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on or about Oct. 9th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Oct 07 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 07 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 7, 2009

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


ASTRONOMY NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE: Tonight, Oct. 7th, President Barack Obama will host a star party for middle school students on the South Lawn of the White House. Selected amateur astronomers will be on hand to show guests the moons of Jupiter and point out a brilliant Iridium flare. That's about all you can see from the light-polluted skies of Washington DC, but for many attendees, it'll be the experience of a lifetime. Tune into for a live webcast.

LUNAR IMPACT: NASA's LCROSS spacecraft and its Centaur booster rocket will hit the Moon on Friday morning, Oct. 9th, at approximately 4:30 a.m. PDT (11:30 UT). The spectacular double-impact will be broadcast live on NASA TV. Can't wait? Click on the image below to watch a computer-generated preview (11 MB Quicktime):

The impacts are designed to unearth frozen water from the cold and shadowy floor of crater Cabeus near the lunar south pole. Moon water is valuable stuff. It costs about $30,000 to rocket a liter of water from Earth to the Moon. If NASA could find water already on the Moon, it would save a lot of money for future thirsty colonists. H2O also can be split into O2 for breathing and H2 for rocket fuel.

Evidence of water will be sought in two plumes of debris that billow out of Cabeus. The Hubble Space Telescope, NASA's Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter, and several great telescopes on Earth will monitor the plumes for spectral signs of water (H2O) or water fragments (OH). Mission scientists say the plumes might also be visible in backyard telescopes with apertures of at least 10 inches. US observers west of the Mississippi River are favored with darkness and a good view of the Moon when the spacecraft strike. Browse the links below for observing tips:

ITALIAN GLORY: Yesterday, photographers Andrea Alessandrini and Paolo Candy were flying over Italy's Tirrenum Sea when they looked out the window of their airplane and saw this:

It was a glory--"one of the prettiest I've ever seen," says Candy. And that means something because he's written a book on the subject.

Glories are rings of light around your shadow. They are caused by sunlight reflected backwards from water droplets in clouds. Exactly how backscattering produces the colorful rings is a mystery involving surface waves and multiple reflections within individual droplets. Each sighting is a puzzle--all the more reason to seek them out.

"Glories are often seen from aircraft," notes atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "Get a seat opposite the sun and watch them ring the aircraft's shadow." Airplanes are not absolutely required, however. All you really need is a high perch and moist clouds. Look for glories on mountains and hillsides, in sea fog, and even indoors.

more images: from Stephen Thompson flying over St Eustatius in the Dutch Caribbean

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 7, 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.
©2019 All rights reserved.