FARSIDE SOLAR FLARES: An active region just over the sun's eastern horizon is crackling with solar flares and hurling material high above the stellar surface. One of today's flares, a C4-class event, created a wave of ionization in Earth's upper atmosphere despite the fact that the blast site was not directly visible from Earth. The source of this activity appears to be old sunspot 1112, which has spent the last ~12 days transiting the far side of the sun, and is now about to turn back toward our planet. Visit http://spaceweather.com for movies of today's activity and updates.
COMET HARTLEY UPDATE: NASA's Deep Impact (EPOXI) probe is closing in on Comet Hartley 2 for a daring flyby on Nov. 4th. The small but active comet is full of surprises, with spinning jets, geysers of cyanide gas, and a strangely pickle-shaped core. Mission scientists expect to reveal first images from the flyby during a press conference on Thursday afternoon, around 4 pm EDT. Tune into NASA TV to follow events live, and meanwhile read this story for a preview:
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