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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 449.5 km/sec
density: 4.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1836 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Nov24
24-hr: A2
1655 UT Nov24
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 24 Nov. 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 23 Nov 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 1 day
2009 total: 244 days (75%)
Since 2004: 755 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 23 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= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.8 nT
Bz: 2.9 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1838 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 Nov 24 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 24 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
25 %
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
What's up in Space
November 24, 2009

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


SPACESHIP SIGHTINGS: The International Space Station and space shuttle Atlantis are docked together and putting on a good show in the night sky. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flybys of your home town.

NIGHT LIGHTS: Last night, sky watchers around the world witnessed a beautiful conjunction of Jupiter and the Moon. Together, the two heavenly bodies were so bright they could be seen through clouds and city lights. In Hong Kong, astrophotographer Wah! opened the shutter of his Canon 450D and watched the pair blaze a trail above the tropical urban landscape:

"To make the picture, I combined more than two hundred 30-second exposures," he explains. "What a nice display!"

If you missed it, there is a second chance. Jupiter and the Moon will gather again on Dec. 20th and 21st for a conjunction even more beautiful than last night's. It's a solstice sky show that must not be missed. Mark your calendar and, meanwhile, browse the images below.

more images: from M. Raşid Tuğral of Ankara, Turkey; from Monika Landy-Gyebnar of Veszprem, Hungary; from Bryan Tobias at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetary, San Antonio, Texas; from Mohamad Soltanolkottabi of Kashan, Esfajan, Iran; from Tamas Ladanyi of Veszprem, Hungary; from Wioleta Zarzycka of Iceland; from Valentin Grigore of Targoviste, Romania; from Frankie Lucena of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico; from Doug Zubenel of De Soto, Kansas.

ICE HALO ENIGMA: Nov. 17th was a cold day in Silvercreek-Granby, Colorado. The air itself was filled with tiny ice crystals called "diamond dust," and when the morning sun rose over the eastern hills and rays of light mixed with the ice, luminous arcs filled the sky. A photographer named Jay photographed the display:

It was not only a beautiful sight, but also a mysterious one. Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains:

"This diamond dust display contains an enigma. The 'V' shaped halo is a Moilanen arc named after its Finnish discoverer. We know it might be formed by sun rays passing between ice crystal faces sloping at an unusual angle of 34o to each other. But that is all we know. Experts in Finland have sampled ice crystals whenever they have seen the Moilanen arc, but so far they can find no traces of crystals with the required angles. How and what forms it is one of the halo world's biggest mysteries!"

"And that is not all," he adds. "Jay's display has two helic arcs. These are also very rare, but at least we know how they were made!"

Finally, don't leave without viewing the full-sized photo, in which individual diamond dust crystals may be seen glinting in sunlight.

November Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Novembers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001]

2009 Leonid Meteor Gallery
[previous Leonids: 1998, 2001, 2002, 2006]

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 24, 2009 there were 1083 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Nov. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
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
2009 VA
Nov. 6
0.05 LD
6 m
2000 UJ1
Nov. 7
43.3 LD
1.2 km
2009 VT1
Nov. 9
1.4 LD
6 m
2000 TO64
Nov. 10
44.2 LD
1.9 km
2009 UK20
Nov. 12
6.5 LD
20 m
2009 VX
Nov. 12
2.6 LD
26 m
2009 VR
Nov. 13
6.6 LD
10 m
2009 WQ6
Nov. 16
0.9 LD
7 m
2009 WX7
Nov. 16
3.7 LD
20 m
2009 VC1
Nov. 18
6.0 LD
21 m
2009 WJ6
Nov. 20
0.5 LD
14 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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