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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 418.4 km/sec
density: 9.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2325 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Jun28
24-hr: A0
0400 UT Jun28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 28 June 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 Jun 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 3 days
2009 total: 137 days (77%)
Since 2004: 648 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 27 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= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 9.2 nT
Bz: 5.2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about June 29th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Jun 28 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: 2009 Jun 28 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
June 28, 2009

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


VOLCANIC SUNSETS: When the sun went down yesterday in Gresham, Oregon, the clear blue sky turned purple and several sets of delicate wavelike clouds appeared. "The phenomenon peaked about 25 minutes after sunset," says meteorologist Jan Curtis who took these pictures. The colors reminded Curtis of a volcanic sunset and, indeed, the high wavelike clouds were probably made of ash and sulfurous particles from Russia's Sarychev Peak volcano, which erupted on June 12th. A plume of sulfur dioxide from Sarychev Peak is circumnavigating the globe at high northern latitudes, so more volcanic sunsets may be in the offing. Stay tuned.

MAMMATUS OVER MANHATTAN: "Yesterday (June 26), after a summer evening thunderstorm, a bank of spectacular mammatus clouds formed over Manhattan," reports Snehal Patel of New York. "It was an amazing display that looked like large orange cotton balls falling from the sky." He took this picture using an iPhone 3G:

"The most entertaining part of the display was the crowds of people running out of restaurants and lining the streets to catch a glimpse!"

Mammatus clouds, named for their resemblance to a cow's underbelly, sometimes appear at the end of severe thunderstorms when the thundercloud is breaking up. Researchers have called them an "intriguing enigma," because no one knows exactly how and why they form. The clouds are fairly common but often go unnoticed because potential observers have been chased indoors by the rain. If you are one of them, dash outside when the downpour stops; you could witness a beautiful mystery in the sky.

more images: from Alex Barnard of New York City; from Marilyn Stern of Manhattan, New York City; from Terry Pundiak of Palmer Township, PA; from Martin Popek of Nýdek, Bystřice nad olší, Czech republic; from Dan Linek of Brentwood, New York

NLCs HEAD SOUTH: This may not be the most spectacular picture of a noctilucent cloud taken in 2009, but it is superlative in another way. It is the farthest south:

"I took this picture around 10:30 p.m. on June 27th from Byron, Wyoming," reports Caleb Sanders. "I have never seen noctilucent clouds before, but they were easily recognizable from the edge of town."

Noctilucent clouds first appeared in the late 19th century, and in those days they were confined to latitudes above 50o N (usually far above). The latitude of Byron is only 44°48' N. This continues a recent trend in of increasingly southern apparitions. Since the late 1990s, noctilucent clouds have been spotted in Oregon, Colorado, Utah, Turkey, and possibly Virginia. These sightings are a call to sky watchers at all latitudes: Be alert for NLCs! Observing tips may be found in the photo gallery.

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

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 28, 2009 there were 1065 potentially hazardous asteroids.
June 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 KR21
June 1
0.7 LD
21 m
2009 KL8
June 1
5.1 LD
63 m
2003 QO104
June 9
36.8 LD
2.9 km
1994 CC
June 10
6.6 LD
1.2 km
2009 MU
June 24
2.3 LD
54 m
2001 FE90
June 28
7.0 LD
435 m
2002 KL6
June 28
57.5 LD
1.4 km
2006 MV1
June 30
9.6 LD
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.
  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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