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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 376.8 km/sec
density: 1.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2343 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
1945 UT Aug11
24-hr: B3
1345 UT Aug11
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 11 Aug 10
Sunspot 1093 is splitting in two. Readers with solar telescopes should take a look! Credit: SDO/HMI
Resolutions: 4096, 1024, 512
Sunspot number: 56
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 10 Aug 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 35 days (16%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 803 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 10 Aug 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 84 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 10 Aug2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.6 nT
Bz: 1.3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the Sun. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Aug 11 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 Aug 11 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
August 11, 2010

iPHONE VS ANDROID! Actually, it doesn't matter which phone you carry. Our cool, new app turns both smartphones into field-tested satellite trackers. Learn more.


SUNSET PLANETS: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look west. Venus, Mars and Saturn have formed a celestial triangle in the twilight sky, and just below them the crescent Moon is passing by Mercury. It's a joyous view. Don't miss it! Sky maps: Aug. 11, 12, 13.

PERSEID METEOR SHOWER: Earth is entering the debris stream of comet Swift-Tuttle and this is causing the annual Perseid meteor shower. According to the International Meteor Organization, observers are now counting as many as 25 meteors per hour during the dark hours before dawn. For Tamas Ladanyi of Taliandorogd, Hungary, just one was plenty:

"This bright Perseid flying over the ruins of St. Andrew church made my evening," says Ladanyi. "It was so beautiful alongside Jupiter and the Milky Way."

The best is yet to come. Earth is approaching the heart of the debris stream, causing meteor rates to increase rapidly. On peak-night, Thursday, August 12th, observers could count as many as 100 Perseids per hour. It's such a good show, even the planets are gathering to watch. Shouldn't you, too?

New: 2010 Perseid Meteor Gallery
[live meteor radar] [IMO meteor counts] [NASA meteor chat]

ONE MONTH AGO: On July 11, 2010, the Moon passed directly in front of the sun, producing a total eclipse over the South Pacific. "It was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen," says Billy Mallery who witnessed the event from Easter Island:

"I spent much time trying to find just the right place on the island for totality, and this was it... with the Moai 'looking' straight at the sun's corona," says Mallery.

Easter island was one of the few places the Moon's shadow made landfall. Mostly, the path of totality sprawled across open, uninhabited ocean. That didn't stop the eclipse-chasers, though, who crowded upon every boat, cruise ship, and atoll they could find to watch the show. Browse the gallery for more reminiscences.

Updated: Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[NASA: South Pacific Eclipse] [animated map]

August 2010 Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Augusts: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]


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 11, 2010 there were 1142 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 PJ9
Aug 9
2.8 LD
55 m
6239 Minos
Aug 10
38.3 LD
1.1 km
2005 NZ6
Aug 14
60.5 LD
1.3 km
2002 CY46
Sep 2
63.8 LD
2.4 km
2010 LY63
Sep 7
56 LD
1.2 km
2009 SH2
Sep 30
7.1 LD
45 m
1998 UO1
Oct 1
32.1 LD
2.1 km
2005 GE59
Oct 1
77 LD
1.1 km
2001 WN5
Oct 10
41.8 LD
1.0 km
1999 VO6
Oct 14
34.3 LD
1.8 km
1998 TU3
Oct 17
69.1 LD
5.3 km
1998 MQ
Oct 23
77.7 LD
1.9 km
2007 RU17
Oct 29
40.6 LD
1.0 km
2003 UV11
Oct 30
5 LD
595 m
3838 Epona
Nov 7
76.8 LD
3.4 km
2005 QY151
Nov 16
77.7 LD
1.3 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 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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