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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: 579.2 km/sec
density: 1.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2243 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1910 UT Jan08
24-hr: A0
1910 UT Jan08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 08 Jan 08
Decaying and tiny sunspot 980 is a surprising source of C-class flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 14
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 05 Jan 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no large sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 4
unsettled
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Updated: 2008 Jan 08 2131 UT
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.4 nT
Bz: 0.7 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
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Jan 07 2203 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
05 %
05 %
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: 2008 Jan 07 2203 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
30 %
25 %
MINOR
15 %
10 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
35 %
25 %
MINOR
15 %
10 %
SEVERE
10 %
05 %

What's up in Space
January 8, 2008
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.

CRACKLING SUNSPOT: Decaying sunspot 980 is surprising observers with some intense last gasps of activity. "I caught a C-flare in mid-eruption on Jan. 7th," says Greg Piepol of Rockville, Maryland. NOAA forecasters estimate a 5% chance of even more powerful M-class flares today. Monitoring is encouraged.

ASTEROID FLYBY: On Jan. 10th, asteroid 2005 WJ56 will fly past Earth only 2.6 million miles away. There's no danger of a collision, but the kilometer-wide space rock will be close enough for amateur astronomers to photograph as it glides through the constellation Taurus glowing like an 11th magnitude star.

Last night in Sonnenbuehl, Germany, Martin Wagner caught the asteroid passing through the glare of 2nd-magnitude Beta Aurigae:

"It was very easy to see with my 10-inch Newtonian telescope and a Starlight XPress MX7C CCD camera," he says. "Across a small part of Earth's surface, the asteroid actually eclipsed the star, which winked out for about a second."

Tonight is another good time to look. "On Jan. 8th at 23:30 UTC, the asteroid can be found less than 1o northwest of the bright star cluster M36," notes reader Gunnar Glitscher of Darmstadt, Germany. [ephemeris] [3D orbit]

FIRST LIGHT: A new solar cycle has begun and already it has produced its first light--an outbreak of auroras on Jan. 5th. "It was a nice flowing display that persisted for an hour and a half," reports photographer Calvin Hall of Palmer, Alaska. "A Great Horned Owl would hoot when the auroras were most active."

The lights were sparked by a solar wind stream that hit Earth late on Jan. 4th. Our planet is still inside the stream, which means more auroras are possible tonight. High-latitude sky watchers, when the owl hoots, look up!

January 2008 Aurora Gallery
[World Map of Aurora Sightings]
[aurora alerts] [Night-sky Cameras]

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 January 8, 2008 there were 916 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Jan. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2005 WJ56
Jan. 10
10.9 LD
11
1.2 km
1685 Toro
Jan. 24
76 LD
13
6.2 km
2007 TU24
Jan. 29
1.4 LD
10
400 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 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, SpaceWeather.com -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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