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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
SPACE WEATHER
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 304.5 km/sec
density: 4.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2120 UT Jun21
24-hr: A0
2120 UT Jun21
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 21 June 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 20 Jun 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 3 days
2009 total: 134 days (78%)
Since 2004: 645 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 20 Jun 2009

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
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.9 nT
Bz: 1.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from this far-northern coronal hole will probably miss Earth or at most deliver a glancing blow on or about June 25th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Jun 21 2201 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
01 %
01 %
CLASS X
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: 2009 Jun 21 2201 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
June 21, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you sleep through the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.

 

HAPPY SOLSTICE: Summer begins in the northern hemisphere on Sunday, June 21st, at 5:45 am UT (1:45 am EDT) when the sun reaches its maximum declination above the celestial equator. At the same moment, winter begins in the southern hemisphere. Happy Solstice!

SOLSTICE SUNRISE: Today, summer began in Poland with a sunrise display of noctilucent clouds. "They were so bright and beautiful," says Marcin Makowski who sends this photo from the city of Szubin:

It is a curious fact that noctilucent clouds, which are made of ice crystals, appear most often during the warm months of summer. In the last week alone, the clouds have put on a show over Europe that veteran observers say has been the best in years. Now that summer is here, the show can really begin. Northern sky watchers should be alert for electric blue.

UPDATED: 2009 Noctilucent Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]

LAST SHOTS FROM KAGUYA: On June 10th at 1825 UT, Japan's massive Kaguya spacecraft crashed into the Moon. The Japanese space agency, JAXA, has just released a movie of Kaguya's last moments. Click on the image to set the scene in motion:

The onrushing landscape is what Kaguya's cameras saw as the spacecraft glided into the lunar surface at a shallow angle. When the 2,900 kg spacecraft hit the surface at 6,000 km/hr, astronomers in Australia observed a fireball at the impact site. The explosion punctuated a remarkably successful mission of lunar discovery.

Why bother hitting the Moon? For one thing, it's a good way to end a mission. Lunar satellites can't orbit forever because the Moon's gravitational field is weird and lumpy. Crashing is better than flying off into space, where the spacecraft could pose a hazard to other missions. Crashing also produces a fireball, which allows astronomers to estimate the "luminous efficiency" of objects hitting the Moon. Luminous efficiency is a key parameter required to interpret genuine lunar meteorite impacts. Also, hitting the Moon might uncover something interesting--like evidence of water. NASA's LCROSS spacecraft will attempt that trick later this year.


Explore the Sunspot Cycle

       
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 June 21, 2009 there were 1064 potentially hazardous asteroids.
June 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2009 KR21
June 1
0.7 LD
16
21 m
2009 KL8
June 1
5.1 LD
18
63 m
2003 QO104
June 9
36.8 LD
14
2.9 km
1994 CC
June 10
6.6 LD
13
1.2 km
2001 FE90
June 28
7.0 LD
13
435 m
2002 KL6
June 28
57.5 LD
16
1.4 km
2006 MV1
June 30
9.6 LD
23
20 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.
STEREO
  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...
   
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