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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 597.8 km/sec
density: 0.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B8
2230 UT Nov15
24-hr: C2
0749 UT Nov15
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 15 Nov 10
Sunspot 1124 continues to grow and could soon pose a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI. 2-day movie: 9 MB mpg
Sunspot number: 69
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 14 Nov 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 45 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 813 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 14 Nov 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 86 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 14 Nov 2010

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: 3.2 nT
Bz: 1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 15 Nov 10
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on Nov. 16th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Nov 15 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: 2010 Nov 15 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
40 %
20 %
20 %
05 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
50 %
50 %
30 %
30 %
05 %
05 %
Monday, Nov. 15, 2010
What's up in space

ON SALE NOW: The David H. Levy Comet Hunter -- offering the clearest views of Comet Hartley 2.


AURORA WATCH: NOAA forecasters estimate a 50% chance of geomagnetic storms on Nov. 15th when one or more CMEs are expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

REVIVAL ON JUPITER: Think of the turmoil at the sea surface just before a massive submarine emerges from depth. Something like that is happening on Jupiter. A turbulent plume is breaking through the giant planet's cloudtops in the south equatorial zone, heralding the emergence of ... what? Scroll past this Nov. 14th photo from astrophotographer Paul Haese of Glenalta, South Australia for further discussion:

The plume, circled in Haese's photo and known to astronomers as the "SEB Revival Spot," is a sign that Jupiter's South Equatorial Belt (SEB) is about to return. The great brown belt disappeared earlier this year, leaving Jupiter without one of its signature stripes. No one knows where the SEB went, although some researchers have speculated that it sank beneath high altitude clouds and might now be bobbing back to the top.

Christopher Go of the Philippines first noticed the Revival Spot on Nov. 9th. At first it was small and white and required careful astrophotography to detect. Only five days later, it is expanding rapidly and darkening; soon, it could become visible to novices in the eyepieces of backyard telescopes. Stay tuned for updates.

more images: from Brian Combs of Buena Vista, GA; from John Nassr of Baguio, Philippines; from David Kolb of Lawrence, KS

SUNDIVING COMET: The solar system has one less comet after one of the dirty snowballs swung past the sun on Nov. 14th--a little too close--and did not survive. Click on the image to view a movie of the death plunge:

Japanese comet hunter Masanori Uchina first noticed the sundiver in coronagraph images from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) on Nov. 13th. At the time it was a dim and distant speck, but it rapidly brightened on Nov. 14th as it approached the hot sun. Now it is just a dissipating haze of vapor and comet dust.

The comet was likely a member of the Kreutz sungrazer family. Named after a 19th century German astronomer who studied them in detail, Kreutz sungrazers are fragments from the breakup of a giant comet at least 2000 years ago. Several of these fragments are thought to pass by the sun and disintegrate every day. Most are too small to see but occasionally a bigger fragment like this one attracts attention.

October 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Octobers: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001]

  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 15, 2010 there were 1164potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 TQ19
Oct 8
9.6 LD
37 m
2010 TS19
Oct 10
3.7 LD
31 m
2010 TD54
Oct 12
0.1 LD
7 m
2010 TB54
Oct 13
6.1 LD
19 m
1999 VO6
Oct 14
34.3 LD
1.8 km
2010 TK
Oct 16
4.5 LD
37 m
1998 TU3
Oct 17
69.1 LD
5.2 km
2010 TG19
Oct 22
1.1 LD
70 m
1998 MQ
Oct 23
77.7 LD
1.9 km
2007 RU17
Oct 29
39.2 LD
1.1 km
2003 UV11
Oct 30
5 LD
595 m
3838 Epona
Nov 7
76.8 LD
3.4 km
2005 QY151
Nov 16
77.7 LD
1.3 km
2008 KT
Nov 23
5.6 LD
10 m
2002 EZ16
Nov 30
73.9 LD
1.0 km
2000 JH5
Dec 7
47 LD
1.5 km
2010 JL33
Dec 9
16.6 LD
1.3 km
2008 EA32
Jan 7
76.5 LD
2.1 km
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
  more links...
Northern Lights tours with Artic Pathfinder
Fine astrophotography and gift cards by Alan Friedman outreach, imaging, and reviews
2010 Perseid meteor shower
Toys which are out of this world from
space weather alerts
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Superior Labels - Out of this World!
Christmas Cards
satellite tracking
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