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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 472.5 km/sec
density: 2.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1710 UT Aug08
24-hr: B1
1230 UT Aug08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 08 Aug 07
Tiny sunspot 966 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 13
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 06 Aug 2007
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= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Updated: 2007 Aug 08 2131 UT
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.4 nT
Bz: -0.0 nT
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Aug. 10th. Credit: SOHO Extreme Ultraviolet Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2007 Aug 08 2203 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: 2007 Aug 08 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
30 %
05 %
15 %
01 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
40 %
10 %
30 %
05 %
15 %
What's up in Space
August 8, 2007
Where's Saturn? Is that a UFO--or the ISS? What's the name of that star? Get the answers from mySKY--a fun new astronomy helper from Meade.

MARS UPDATE: A global dust storm is still blowing around Mars, but the air over Spirit and Opportunity has cleared slightly, allowing crucial sunlight to reach the rovers' solar panels. Opportunity's batteries are now fully charged, and Spirit's batteries are almost so. Project manager John Callas of JPL cautions that "conditions remain dangerous for both rovers," but the situation is improving: more.

PERSEID FIREFLY: The Perseid meteor shower is underway. Don't panic, the peak doesn't occur until August 12th and 13th, but already five or six shooting stars per hour may be seen during the dark hours before dawn.

"The Perseids are definitely intensifying," says Brian Emfinger of Ozark, Arkansas, who caught this meteor in flight early Tuesday morning:

The Perseid isn't the only thing flying through the frame. "There's also a lightning bug blinking through," he points out. The bug and the meteor crossed during a 25-second exposure at ISO 800. Emfinger used a Canon Digital Rebel XT.

More Perseids are coming. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

PILEUS CLOUD: "I've never seen anything like this before," reports Shantara Ford of Santa Fe, New Mexico. "I was taking photos of the sun streaming through some thunder clouds yesterday when I saw what looked like a stack of circular auroras sitting on top of the cloud."

Auroras in New Mexico? It has happened before, but not this week.

Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains what Shantara saw: "This is an iridescent pileus cloud. On sunny afternoons, cumulus clouds boil upwards, pushing layers of moist air above them even higher where they cool and condense to form cloud caps or 'pileus' (Latin for cap). Pileus clouds formed very quickly have their water droplets all the same size--the perfect condition for iridescent colors."

Readers, when cumulus clouds rapidly surge into your afternoon sky, look for the caps. "It was truly an amazing experience," says Shantara.

more images: from Dr. Michael T. Goodling of Kenya, East Africa

.2007 Noctilucent Cloud Gallery
[Night-Sky Cameras] ["Noctilucent Cloud"--the song]

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 August 8, 2007 there were 875 potentially hazardous asteroids.
July 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2007 FV42
July 2
53 LD
1.2 km
2007 MB4
July 4
7.6 LD
130 m
2007 DT103
July 29
9.3 LD
550 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 Environment Center
  The official U.S. government bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
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.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2007, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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