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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 599.5 km/sec
density: 1.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A5
2035 UT Jul03
24-hr: A6
1205 UT Jul03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2345 UT
Daily Sun: 03 Jul 10
Sunspot 1084 is big but very quiet. No solar flares are in the offing. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 11
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 02 July 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 35 days (19%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 803 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 02 July 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 73 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 01 July 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.6 nT
Bz: 2.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is exiting a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jul 03 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: 2010 Jul 03 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
July 3, 2010

ANDROID FLYBYS: Our field-tested satellite tracker is now available for Android phones. Features: Global predictions and flyby alarms! Learn more.


WEEKEND SKY SHOW: Jupiter and the Moon are gathering in Pisces for a beautiful weekend sky show. Look south at sunrise to see the two heavenly beacons less than 10o apart. They are so bright, you can see them even after the sky turns twilight blue--indeed, that is the most beautiful time to look. Morning sky maps: July 3, July 4.

DOUBLE BLAST: The sun is very active today. A pair of magnetic filaments--one on either side of the solar disk--erupted on July 3rd, hurliing a pair of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) into space. Click on the image to set the clouds in motion:

The movie actually shows four eruptions. The first pair may have been precursors of the second. Stay tuned for related high-res images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory and more information as we unravel these explosive events.

SPACE STATION COMPANION: The International Space Station has an unexpected companion this weekend. On Friday, July 2nd, Russia's Progress 38 supply ship failed to dock with the ISS when the ISS-Progress telemetry link was temporarily scrambled by interference (details). Now Progress 38 is circling Earth in tandem with the space station.

"After getting an alert about the aborted docking, I set up my camera and waited for a scheduled pass of the ISS over my home in Northern Ireland," says amateur astronomer John C McConnell. "Sure enough, up popped the ISS from behind the trees and about ten degrees in front was the Progress." He took this picture using a Canon 400D:

Click here for a better view of the faintly streaking Progress 38

"The evening sky was still bright, and the Progress 38 was faint, but I could see it," says John C McConnell. "It resembled an ordinary satellite though it was on the same orbit as the ISS."

Canadian satellite watcher Kevin Fetter also caught the Progress 38. He video-recorded it flying past the bright (2nd magnitude) star Schedar in Cassiopeia: watch it!

(UPDATE) Russian ground teams have figured out the cause of the docking problems. A TV transmission from the Zvezda Service Module interfered with radio signals used by the automated docking system. This triggered a "cancel dynamic operations" command that instructed the Progress 38 to fly past the station on its final approach for docking. The interference has been eliminated and a second docking attempt will be made on Sunday, July 4, at 12:10 p.m. EDT.

Until then, check the Simple Satellite Tracker for ISS flyby predictions--and be alert for a companion.

more images: from Mariusz RudziƄski of Mirostowice Dolne, Poland; from Mateusz Szczupak of Lubin, Poland

Lunar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[Science@NASA: Big Lunar Eclipse] [astronomy alerts]

May 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Mays: 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002] [aurora alerts]

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 July 3, 2010 there were 1138 potentially hazardous asteroids.
June-July 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 JR34
May 14
5.8 LD
12 m
2003 HR32
May 17
55.2 LD
1.0 km
2010 JN71
May 26
8.2 LD
245 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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