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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 661.9 km/sec
density: 1.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1910 UT Jul14
24-hr: A0
1910 UT Jul14
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 14 Jul 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 July 2008
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= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.2 nT
Bz: 3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Jul 14 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: 2008 Jul 14 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
July 14, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of July 12th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

ERUPTION: Solar activity may be low, but it's not zero. This morning the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) recorded a spectacular eruption on the sun's eastern limb: image. An unstable magnetic filament flung itself into space, traveling as fast as a million mph, something that can happen without the aid of a sunspot. Even during solar minimum, it pays to keep an eye on the sun.

NOCTILUCENT SURPRISE: Noctilucent clouds (NLCs) are supposed to be a high-latitude phenomenon, most often seen in Canada, Russia and northern Europe. So imagine the surprise of veteran astrophotographer Tunç Tezel on July 13th when he saw noctilucent tendrils peeking above the horizon of Turkey:

"This view of noctilucent clouds may be one of the farthest ever from the poles," says Tezel. "I went to mile-high Tasliyayla Plateau, 40 km south of Bolu for dark skies. Noctilucent clouds lit up as soon as the morning twilight started. It was amazing! For the record, my location was 40o 31' N, 31o 37' E."

This sighting highlights a mystery of noctilucent clouds: Why are they spreading south? Noctilucent clouds first appeared in the late 19th century, and in those days they were confined to latitudes above 50o N (usually far above). In recent years, however, the clouds have been spotted in Oregon, Colorado, Utah, possibly Virginia, and now Turkey. These sightings are a call to sky watchers at all latitudes: Be alert for NLCs! Observing tips may be found in the photo gallery:

2008 Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[Strange Clouds] [Sky Cameras]

OVER THE MOON: No, it's not a cow. The solar arrays rule that out:

"It's the International Space Station (ISS)," says Leonardo Julio of Buenos Aires, Argentina. "We photographed it last night, July 13th, gliding past lunar crater Tycho. Julio's team, which included friends Enzo De Bernardini and Adriana Fernández, used an 8-inch Meade LX90 equipped with a Canon 20D digital camera to capture the flyby.

The ISS has grown so large in recent years that a backyard telescope is all you need to see its details. The solar arrays span 80 meters, about the same as 30 cows lined up single file. The station's habitable volume, 425 m3, equals the combined volume of about 100 dairy cows, while the mass of the station, 280,000 kg, equals 400 cows.

So, no it's not a cow. It's more like a whole herd.

STAMPEDE! This week the space station begins a series of bright evening flybys over North America. If you live in that part of the world, check the Simple Satellite Tracker to find out when to look.

July 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-sky Cameras]

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 14, 2008 , there were 960 potentially hazardous asteroids.
July 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2003 YE45
July 13
16.5 LD
1.4 km
2008 BT18
July 14
5.9 LD
1.0 km
2003 LC5
July 15
62 LD
1.4 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 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...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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