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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 313.5 km/sec
density: 3.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
1731 UT Jan25
24-hr: B1
1731 UT Jan25
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 25 Jan 11
Sunspot complex 1147-1149 poses a threat for C-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 28
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 24 Jan 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 1 day (4%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 24 Jan 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 83 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 24 Jan 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.1 nT
Bz: 2.9 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 25 Jan 10
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Jan 25 2200 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: 2011 Jan 25 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011
What's up in space

Turn your cell phone into a field-tested satellite tracker. Works for Android and iPhone.

Satellite flybys

SOLAR SAIL STUNNER: In a stunning reversal of fortune, NASA's NanoSail-D spacecraft has unfurled a gleaming sheet of space-age fabric 650 km above Earth, becoming the first-ever solar sail to circle our planet. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

NORRSKEN: "I stepped outside to walk my old black lab tonight, Jan. 24th, when I heard a friend yell norrsken! (Swedish for aurora)," reports Chad Blakley of Abisko National Park, Sweden. "I ran inside to grab my camera, but I needn't have hurried because the lights danced and played for more than two hours." He took this picture using his Nikon D7000:

"It was another great night of Northern Lights here in Abisko!" adds Blakley. "I guess I owe these shots to my dog."

The sun helped a little, too. The display was caused by an episode of "south-pointing Bz." The interplanetary magnetic field near Earth tipped south, opening a hole in Earth's magnetosphere; solar wind poured in to fuel the display. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert as Bz continues to favor polar auroras on Jan. 25th.

More Jan. 24th photos: from Sylvain Serre of Salluit, Nunavik, Quebec, Canada; from Therese van Nieuwenhoven of Lofoten islands, Norway; from Beate Kiil Karlsen of Ibestad, Norway

January 2011 Aurora Photo Gallery
[previous Januaries: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004]

SUNSPOT SUNRISE: Sunspot complex 1147-1149 is so big, people are beginning to notice it without the aid of a solar telescope. Stefano De Rosa "spotted" the twin cores at sunrise on Jan. 23rd:

"The sun was climbing a hill by the Basilica of Superga," says De Rosa. "[Because the low-hanging sun was so dim], we could see the sunspots above the treeline."

Caution: Even when the sun is dimmed by clouds or low altitude, it is still dangerously bright. Direct sunlight beaming through the optics of cameras can instantly damage your eyes. If you attempt to photograph the sun using a digital camera, do not peer through the viewfinder. The LCD screen is a safer place to look. The links below are safest of all; browse and enjoy.

more images: from Jim Saueressig II of Burlington, Kansas; from Francois Rouviere of Mougins, France; from Pavol Rapavy of Observatory Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia; from Julius Jahre Sætre of Vestfold, Norway; from Francois Rouviere of Mougins, France; from John Nassr of Baguio, Philippines; from Matteo Medeghini of Sant'Ilario d'Enza, Reggio Emilia, Italy

Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[NASA: Hinode Observes Annular Solar Eclipse]

  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 January 25, 2011 there were 1184 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 AY22
Jan 14
4.1 LD
17 m
2011 AN52
Jan 17
0.8 LD
9 m
2011 AB37
Jan 19
9.5 LD
29 m
2011 AL37
Jan 26
2.2 LD
63 m
2011 BF10
Jan 30
9.3 LD
15 m
2003 YG118
Feb 20
67.7 LD
1.8 km
2000 PN9
Mar 10
45.5 LD
2.6 km
2002 DB4
Apr 15
62.5 LD
2.2 km
2008 UC202
Apr 27
8.9 LD
10 m
2009 UK20
May 2
8.6 LD
23 m
2008 FU6
May 5
75.5 LD
1.2 km
2003 YT1
May 5
65.3 LD
2.5 km
2002 JC
Jun 1
57.5 LD
1.6 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 web 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 Dynamics Observatory
  Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
  the underlying science of space weather
Science Central
  more links...
©2010 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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