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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 600.2 km/sec
density: 2.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Aug10
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Aug10
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Aug 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 09 Aug. 2008
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= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.4 nT
Bz: 2.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Aug 10 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: 2008 Aug 10 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
August 10, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of July 12th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

TIGER STRIPES: "Prepare to be amazed," says planetary scientist Carolyn Porco. On Monday, Aug. 11th, Cassini will fly over the tiger stripes of Saturn's moon Enceladus and take high resolution images of vents spewing water and organic molecules into space. Porco speculates that Cassini might see "banks of snow where icy particles in the jets fall back to the ground"--or something else "geologically unusual." Stay tuned.

AURORA BOREALIS: A solar wind stream hit Earth on August 9th sparking geomagnetic storms over Canada and at least two US states. "I got a call from Spaceweather PHONE alerting me to the situation," says Bob Johnson of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. "I took my camera to a dark sky site and snapped some awesome pictures." The meteor in this one is probably an early Perseid:

The display has subsided, but another flare-up is possible. The solar wind continues to blow and NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of more geomagnetic activity in the next 24 hours.

August 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Previous Augusts: '07, 06, 05, 04, 03, 02]

AT THE EDGE OF SPACE: Yes, noctilucent clouds really do hover "at the edge of space." Consider this photo taken on July 22nd by astronauts onboard the International Space Station:

The electric-blue band, a noctilucent cloud, lies approximately 83 km (51 miles) above Earth's surface. The sky at that altitude is space-black. It is the realm of meteors, high-energy auroras, and tiny crystals of ice that glow blue when struck by sunlight. Noctilucent clouds (NLCs) are made of those crystals; how they form in the extremely-dry upper reaches of Earth's atmosphere is a mystery.

The space station was located some 320 km (200 miles) above Mongolia at the time of the display. Astronauts pointed their camera out a north-looking window where the midnight sun illuminated the clouds. The black expanse of Earth at the base of the snapshot is Russia.

The view from the ISS is stunning, but space travel is not required to see NLCs. These mostly-polar clouds have been sighted in recent years from Earth's surface as far south as Oregon, Washington, Iran and Turkey. Browse the gallery for observing tips.

Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[interactive eclipse map]

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 10, 2008 , there were 972 potentially hazardous asteroids.
August 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
54509 YORP
Aug. 1
67 LD
130 m
2008 PK9
Aug. 11
11 LD
50 m
2008 ON10
Aug. 11
12 LD
50 m
2001 RT17
Aug. 14
69 LD
1.2 km
1991 VH
Aug. 15
18 LD
1.8 km
2008 MZ
Aug. 31
60 LD
1.1 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 Links
NOAA Space Weather Prediction 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...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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