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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 281.2 km/sec
density: 2.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B3
1922 UT Oct30
24-hr: B8
0138 UT Oct30
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 30 Oct 12
None of these sunspots is actively flaring. Solar activity is low. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 75
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 30 Oct 2012

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2012 total: 0 days (0%)
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Update 30 Oct 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 108 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 30 Oct 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.1 nT
Bz: 1.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 30 Oct 12
A minor solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Nov. 3-4. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Oct 30 2200 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: 2012 Oct 30 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
45 %
10 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
20 %
30 %
35 %
60 %
Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012
What's up in space

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

Metallic pictures of the Sun

QUIET SUN: With no sunspots actively flaring, the sun's X-ray output has flatlined. Solar activity is low, and no strong flares are expected today. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

SUPERSTORM SANDY: Anyone who doubts the value of space exploration should watch this video of hurricane Sandy approaching the east coast of the United States on Oct. 26-28. Without weather satellites and space-age sensors, residents in the storm's path wouldn't know what was coming until the storm surge arrived. While many lives were lost, weather satellites undoubtedly saved many more.

NASA's fleet of Earth-observing satellites is doing more, however, than just tracking the storm. It is collecting valuable scientific data on Sandy's inner workings:

This graphic shows the structure of Sandy's eye illuminated on Oct. 28th by a radar onboard the TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission) satellite. TRMM and other satellites continued to probe the organization of the eye as Sandy merged with a cold front to become a deadly superstorm. Such data will help forecasters anticipate future storms even more accurately than this one.

Check NOAA's Storm Center for updated information about the storm.

HUNTER'S MOON ADDS TO STORM SURGE: A fraction of superstorm Sandy's awesome storm surge was contributed by the full Moon, which raised high tides just as the storm was making landfall. No pictures are available from the US east coast, where Sandy's clouds eclipsed the Moon. European observers, however, were able to confirm that the lunar disk was fully illuminated:

Antal Kocsis caught a British Airways Airbus flying in front of the Moon over Királyszentistván, Hungary. "The skies were clear and planes were flying," notes the photographer. Across the Atlantic, the situation was sharply different.

According to folklore, this is the Hunter's Moon, so-named by some Native American tribes to mark the time of late-autumn hunts they once conducted to top off their stores of food for winter. This year, "Storm Moon" is a better fit.

Realtime Lunar Photo Gallery

GROUND-HUGGING RAINBOW: Most rainbows arch up into the sky, but on Oct. 27th, Stefan Elieff of Punta Arenas, Chile, photographed one that seemed to hug the ground:

"Scattered rain clouds were rolling in low over the hills behind the city when this unusually low rainbow appeared," says Elieff.

Although low rainbows are seldom seen, they are actually quite common. They appear whenever raindrops are illuminated by a high-hanging sun. "A rainbow's center and the sun are always on opposite sides of the sky," explains atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "So when the sun is high, the rainbow is low. Indeed, as the sun climbs, the rainbow sinks--sometimes right into the sea."

Look for more atmospheric optics phenomena, rare and otherwise, in the realtime photo gallery:

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]

  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 30, 2012 there were 1343 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
1991 VE
Oct 26
34 LD
1.1 km
2012 UK171
Oct 27
7.4 LD
55 m
2012 UW9
Oct 29
9.4 LD
31 m
2012 UU169
Oct 29
3 LD
32 m
2001 CV26
Oct 30
68 LD
2.4 km
2012 UL171
Nov 3
7.6 LD
17 m
2012 UX136
Nov 4
2.7 LD
37 m
2007 PA8
Nov 5
16.8 LD
2.4 km
2012 UV136
Nov 10
5.8 LD
33 m
2012 UY68
Nov 14
6.7 LD
42 m
2010 JK1
Nov 25
9.3 LD
56 m
2009 LS
Nov 28
55.2 LD
1.1 km
2009 BS5
Dec 11
8.4 LD
15 m
4179 Toutatis
Dec 12
18 LD
2.7 km
2003 SD220
Dec 23
59.8 LD
1.8 km
1998 WT24
Dec 23
69.2 LD
1.1 km
2003 UC20
Dec 29
25.7 LD
1.0 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
Space Weather Alerts
  more links...
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