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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 386.2 km/sec
density: 5.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2244 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2030 UT Aug09
24-hr: A0
1100 UT Aug09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Aug 07
Sunspot 966 is growing more complex--but it is still small and poses little threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 25
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 Aug 2007
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= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Updated: 2007 Aug 09 2107 UT
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.7 nT
Bz: 0.9 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Aug. 10th or 11th. Credit: SOHO Extreme Ultraviolet Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2007 Aug 09 2203 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: 2007 Aug 09 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
20 %
15 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
30 %
30 %
20 %
15 %
10 %
What's up in Space
August 9, 2007
Where's Saturn? Is that a UFO--or the ISS? What's the name of that star? Get the answers from mySKY--a fun new astronomy helper from Meade.

TINY SUNSPOT: Don't be fooled by sunspot's 966 diminutive imprint on the sun. Amateur astronomers report that the sunspot is a micro-hive of activity with a spiral filament emerging from one of its two dark cores. If you have a solar telescope, take a look.

Images: from Malcolm Park of London, United Kingdom; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from Alcaria Rego of Almada, Portugal; from S. Johansen and J. Stetson of South Portland, Maine.

PERSEID FIREBALL: The Perseid meteor shower is underway. Don't panic, the peak doesn't occur until August 12th and 13th, but already 10+ shooting stars per hour may be seen during the dark hours before dawn. Last night in Colorado, physics professor Jimmy Westlake caught this Perseid during a 4 minute guided exposure:

Photo details: Fuji Finepix S2, 35 mm wide angle lens, f3.3, ISO400, 4 minutes.

"This brilliant Perseid meteor made two bright flashes before ending with a terminal burst of magnitude -5 against the stars of Capricornus," says Westlake.

2007 Perseid Meteor Gallery
[observing tips] [sky map]

THE VIEW FROM ABOVE: Astronauts onboard the ISS and shuttle Endeavour will watch the Perseid meteor shower from above. What will that be like? In 2001, space shuttle Discovery (STS-105) orbited Earth during a Perseid shower, and the crew recorded this NASA video of a Perseid hitting Earth's atmosphere. Astronauts onboard the ISS have also enjoyed Leonid meteor storms from orbit: full story.

LIFTOFF! Space shuttle Endeavour blasted off from Cape Canaveral last night at 6:36 pm EDT carrying a new truss segment and 5,800 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station. "Every aspect of the launch was perfect," says photographer Mike Theiss who was on hand for the thunderous liftoff:

There was a lot to see and Theiss recorded it all: astronauts in formation, the shuttle's exhaust casting shadows and glowing in the evening sky, and the shuttle itself ripping through the atmosphere. The two-week construction mission commences in earnest on Friday when the shuttle reaches the ISS. Bon voyage, Endeavour!

more images: from Jim Burchfield of St Cloud, Florida; from Dan Gore of Cocoa Beach, Florida.

.2007 Noctilucent Cloud Gallery
[Night-Sky Cameras] ["Noctilucent Cloud"--the song]

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 August 9, 2007 there were 875 potentially hazardous asteroids.
July 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2007 FV42
July 2
53 LD
1.2 km
2007 MB4
July 4
7.6 LD
130 m
2007 DT103
July 29
9.3 LD
550 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 Environment Center
  The official U.S. government bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
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.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2007, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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