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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: 319.6 km/sec
density: 4.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Feb06
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Feb06
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 06 Feb 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI

more images: from Erika Rix of Zanesville, Ohio
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 05 Feb. 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= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.7 nT
Bz: 0.3 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes:
A coronal hole is emerging over the sun's eastern limb. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Feb 06 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 Feb 06 2201 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
01 %
01 %
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
February 6, 2009

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

 

ISS TRANSIT OF VENUS: This has been a good week for sunset sky watchers in the USA. The International Space Station (ISS) has been flying through the evening sky, often passing beautifully close to Venus. Last night in Ocean Park, Maine, the ISS passed directly over Venus. Using a webcam and a 4-inch telescope, John Stetson made this movie of the rare transit. "Not only were Venus and the ISS very bright, but also they appeared to have the exact same angular diameter, 31 arcseconds. They were very beautiful together," he says.

COMET LULIN: Looking for Comet Lulin? Let Zubenelgenubi be your guide. Today, the comet is gliding by the double star with only 1/2-degree of sky between them. Astrophotographer Gregg Ruppel sends this image from Ellisville, Missouri:

Human eyes cannot yet see Comet Lulin; the comet is a smidgen too dim. Human eyes can, however, see Zubenelgenubi; it shines about as brightly as the stars of the Big Dipper. Point your binoculars at "Zuben" and voilĂ !--Lulin materializes in the field of view. The star-comet combo rises in the southeast at dawn a few hours before the sun: sky map.

DISCONNECTED TAIL: On Feb. 4th, a team of Italian astronomers witnessed "an intriguing phenomenon in Comet Lulin's tail." Team leader Ernesto Guido explains: "We photographed the comet using a remotely-controlled telescope in New Mexico, and our images clearly showed a disconnection event. While we were looking, part of the comet's plasma tail was torn away."


Photo credit: Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero & Paul Camilleri [more]

Guido and colleagues believe the event was caused by a magnetic disturbance in the solar wind hitting the comet. It's a plausible hypothesis. Magnetic mini-storms in comet tails have been observed before--most famously in 2007 when NASA's STEREO spacecraft watched a CME crash into Comet Encke. Encke lost its tail in dramatic fashion, much as Comet Lulin did on Feb. 4th.

Browse the gallery to view the comet's tail before, during and after the disconnection event:

UPDATED: Comet Lulin Photo Gallery
[Comet Hunter Telescope] [sky map] [ephemeris]


February 2009 Aurora Gallery
[Previous Februaries: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]


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 February 6, 2009 there were 1024 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Feb. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2009 BK58
Feb. 2
1.7 LD
17
30 m
2009 BG81
Feb. 2
4.4 LD
19
12 m
2009 CC2
Feb. 2
0.5 LD
17
12 m
2009 BW2
Feb. 5
8.4 LD
20
40 m
2009 CP
Feb. 8
7.7 LD
19
20 m
2009 BE58
Feb. 10
8.6 LD
16
225 m
2006 AS2
Feb. 10
9.2 LD
15
370 m
2009 BL58
Feb. 11
4.8 LD
17
55 m
1999 AQ10
Feb. 18
4.4 LD
13
390 m
2009 CV
Feb. 23
4.8 LD
18
62 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
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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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