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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 329.2 km/sec
density: 8.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B3
2215 UT Jun30
24-hr: B3
2215 UT Jun30
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 30 Jun 11
Sunspot 1242 is growing rapidly and might soon pose a threat for C-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 45
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 29 Jun 2011

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

Updated 29 Jun 2011

The Radio S un
10.7 cm flux: 87sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 29 Jun 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.1 nT
Bz: 7.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 30 Jun 11
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on July 2nd. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Jun 30 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 Jun 30 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
35 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
40 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
05 %
Thursday, Jun. 30, 2011
What's up in space

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

Metallic pictures of the Sun

SOLAR PROMINENCE ALERT: "This morning when I looked through my H-alpha 'scope, I was greeted by this fine spectacular prominence on the sun," reports Dave Tyler of Buckinghamshire UK. "What a nice way to begin the day." Readers with their own solar telescopes are encouraged to check it out.

ROCKET LAUNCH: On Wednesday, June 29th, the US Air Force launched a reconnaissance satellite from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. "As the Minotaur 1 rocket increased in altitude, bright reflections shone off the water and lit up nearby clouds," reports Neil Winston, who sends this picture from Lusby, Maryland. Readers, if you saw mysterious lights over the US east coast last night around 11:09 pm EDT, that is probably what it was.

REMOTE SOLAR ECLIPSE: If the Moon covers the sun and no one is around to see it, did the eclipse actually happen? Philosophical riddles may be all we get on July 1st (0840 UT) when the Moon covers 9.7% of the solar disk. Receiving an actual picture of the partial eclipse is unlikely because of its very remote location:

"This Southern Hemisphere event is visible from a D-shaped region in the Antarctic Ocean south of Africa," says eclipse expert Fred Espenak of the Goddard Space Flight Center. "Such a remote and isolated path means that it may very well turn out to be the solar eclipse that nobody sees."

Just in case someone does see it, is staging a photo contest. To the photographer who submits the best picture of the event, we will pay $50.00 in cash and award a 6-month subscription to Spaceweather PHONE. Remote observers should submit their images here.

Eclipse resources: (1) animated map, (2) contact times, (3) webcasts--not!

ELECTRIC BLUE SUNSETS: The 2011 season for noctilucent clouds is gaining steam. Reports of electric-blue sunsets are now coming in from all the countries of northern Europe, Russia, Alaska and Canada. "We had our first sighting of NLCs on June 28th," reports Alan Dyer. He took this picture from Gleichen in southern Alberta:

"It was quite bright at 11:45 pm MDT local time and faded shortly after midnight," he says. "A nice display!"

Back in the 19th century, these mysterious clouds were confined to high latitudes, mainly around the poles. In recent years, however, NLCs have spread toward the equator, appearing in places such as Utah, Colorado, and perhaps even Virginia. Is this a sign of climate change? Some researchers think so. Sky watchers at all latitudes are encouraged to be alert for electric blue just after sunset or before sunrise; observing tips may be found in the 2011 NLC gallery.

NEW: 2011 Noctilucent Cloud Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009]

June 2011 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora alerts: text, voice] [previous Junes: 2010, 2008, 2001]

June 15th Lunar Eclipse Gallery

  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 30, 2011 there were 1237 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 MD
Jun 27
0.05 LD
10 m
2011 GA55
Jul 6
64.1 LD
1.0 km
2011 EZ78
Jul 10
37.3 LD
1.6 km
2003 YS117
Jul 14
73.9 LD
1.0 km
2007 DD
Jul 23
9.3 LD
31 m
2003 BK47
Jul 26
77.6 LD
1.0 km
2009 AV
Aug 22
49.7 LD
1.1 km
2003 QC10
Sep 18
50 LD
1.2 km
2004 SV55
Sep 19
67.5 LD
1.2 km
2007 TD
Sep 23
3.8 LD
58 m
2002 AG29
Oct 9
77.1 LD
1.0 km
2000 OJ8
Oct 13
49.8 LD
2.5 km
2009 TM8
Oct 17
1.1 LD
8 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 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
Conquest Graphics
  for out-of-this-world printing and graphics
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
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