On October 23rd there will be a partial eclipse of the Sun. Got clouds? No problem. The event will be broadcast live on the web by the Coca-Cola Science Center.
CHANCE OF FLARES: Despite shrinking by ~10% on Oct. 24th, sunspot AR2192 remains the largest and most active sunspot of the current solar cycle. By far. NOAA forecasters estimate an 85% chance of M-class flares and a 45% chance of X-flares on Oct. 25th. Solar flare alerts: text, voice
ANOTHER X-FLARE: Giant sunspot AR2192 erupted again on Oct. 24th (21:40 UT), producing a powerful X3-class solar flare. Using a backyard solar telescope, Sergio Castillo of Corona, California, was monitoring the sunspot when it exploded, and he snapped this picture:
"This flare was so intense that it almost shorted out my computer! Well ... not really," says Castillo, "but I knew right away that it was an X-class eruption."
A pulse of extreme UV radiation from the flare ionized the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere, causing a brief but strong blackout of HF radio communications over the dayside of Earth. Such blackouts may be noticed by amateur radio operators, aviators, and mariners.
Coronagraph data from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) suggest that the explosion did not hurl a significant CME toward our planet. (Interestinngly, none of the X-flares from this active region has so far produced a major CME.) As a result, Earth-effects may be limited to the radio blackout. Solar flare alerts: text, voice
Space Weather Photo Gallery
SUNSET SOLAR ECLIPSE: On Thursday, Oct. 23rd, the New Moon passed in front of the sun, producing a partial solar eclipse visible from almost all of North America. The eclipse was particularly beautiful in eastern parts of the continent where maximum coverage occurred at sunset. "Setting over Hamilton Harbour, the eclipsed sun cast a beautiful orange glow over the end of the perfect autumn day," says John Gauvreau, who sends this picture from Ontario, Canada:
"Magnificent sunspots, magnificent weather, magnificent eclipse!" he says.
Millions of sky watchers in Canada, the USA and Mexico witnessed the afternoon crescent, with coverage ranging from 12% in Florida to nearly 70% in Alaska. Browse the photo gallery for more views from the eclipse zone.
Eclipse Photo Gallery
DECADE-CLASS SUNSPOT: Sunspot AR2192, now facing Earth, is the largest sunspot of the current solar cycle. Sprawling across more than 200,000 km of solar terrain, wider than the planet Jupiter, this is the type of sunspot that comes along every 10 years or so. To put AR2192 in context, spaceweather.com reader Hagan Hensley of San Antonio TX placed it beside pictures of two other significant sunspots from the years 2001 and 1947:
"Using Photoshop, I created this composite image of three big sunspots: AR2192 (2014), AR9393 (2001) and the great sunspot of 1947, the largest ever recorded," explains Hensley. "Positions on the solar disk shifted somewhat to avoid overlap."
Spaceweather.com didn't exist in 1947, so we're not sure what happened then. In 2001, however, giant sunspot AR9393 was fully covered by the web site. In March of that year, the sunspot unleashed multiple X-flares, caused radio blackouts and radiation storms, and sparked red auroras seen as far south as Mexico.
"Good thing these aren't all on the sun at once!" says Hensley. Indeed.
Space Weather Photo Gallery
Aurora Photo Gallery
Comet Photo Gallery
Every night, a network
all-sky cameras scans the skies above the United
States for meteoritic fireballs. Automated software
maintained by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office
calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth
in Earth's atmosphere and many other characteristics.
Daily results are presented here on Spaceweather.com.
On Oct. 25, 2014, the network reported 57 fireballs.
(32 sporadics, 17 Orionids, 3 Southern Taurids, 3 Leonis Minorids, 1 epsilon Geminid, 1 chi Taurid)
In this diagram of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point--Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]
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
all the time.
October 25, 2014 there were 1508
potentially hazardous asteroids.
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.
official U.S. government space weather bureau
first place to look for information about sundogs,
pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO
is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial
and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
the NOAA Space Environment Center
underlying science of space weather