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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: 301.7 km/sec
density: 3.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Jul08
24-hr: A0
1500 UT Jul08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 08 Jul 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 July 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= 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: 2.6 nT
Bz: 0.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about July 13th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Jul 08 2203 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: 2008 Jul 08 2203 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
15 %
MINOR
01 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
25 %
MINOR
01 %
10 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
July 8, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of June 25th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

NOCTILUCENT VERMONT: So far this year, noctilucent clouds have been sighted mainly over Europe, with a smattering over Canada, and none over the USA--make that almost none: "Last night (6 July 2008) while flying from Chicago to Vermont, I observed some noctilucent clouds about 300 miles west of Burlington," reports veteran sky watcher Jan Curtis. "It was a small patch extending 10o to 15o above the horizon. Too bad I couldn't get to my camera!" Readers living in northern-tier US states, it is time to join the hunt for NLCs; observing tips may be found in the photo gallery.

SEE JUPITER AT ITS BRIGHTEST: Lately, have you noticed an unusually bright light in the night sky? That would be Jupiter. On Wednesday, July 9th, the king of planets makes its closest approach to Earth for all of 2008, which means now is the time to see Jupiter at its biggest and brightest. No sky map is required; just look southeast after sunset for something like this:


Photo details: Canon 400D, 300 sec, ISO 1600

Greek amateur astronomer Tilemachos Athanasiadis took the picture on July 5th. It shows Jupiter and the Milky Way shining over the dark form of Mount Olympus, "the throne of Zeus!" he points out.

If you have a backyard telescope, point it at Jupiter. Even small department store optics will show you rust-colored cloud belts, Jupiter's four largest moons and, if you happen to look at the right moment, the Great Red Spot, an anti-cyclone twice as wide as Earth. Just a few days ago, the Great Red Spot ran over a cousin, the Little Red Spot, and may have destroyed the smaller storm. Scroll down for details.

more images: from Luis Carreira of Castelo de Vide, Portugal; from Jeffrey Berkes of Assateague Island, Maryland;

COLLIDING STORMS ON JUPITER: For the past few months, astronomers have been monitoring not one but three red spots on Jupiter: the familiar Great Red Spot plus two younger, smaller upstarts known as Oval BA and the Little Red Spot (LRS). Last week the three storms collided. Amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley of Australia photographed their convergence:


Click to view full-planet images

On July 1st, with clouds blocking Wesley's view from Australia, the Little Red Spot (1) got squeezed like toothpaste between the Great Red Spot (2) and Oval BA (3). Did the little spot survive? Maybe, maybe not. A July 5th photo by Wesley seems to show only two storms emerging from the clash. But a July 7th photo taken by Christopher Go of the Philippines suggests "the LRS survived the gauntlet" and may be reforming.

Survival wouldn't be a surprise. Even a "little" storm on Jupiter is huge. The LRS is about the size of Mars and may be able to withstand considerable abuse from its larger siblings. The monitoring continues; stay tuned for updates.


2008 Aurora Gallery
[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 July 8, 2008 , there were 960 potentially hazardous asteroids.
July 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2003 YE45
July 13
16.5 LD
15
1.4 km
2008 BT18
July 14
5.9 LD
13
1.0 km
2003 LC5
July 15
62 LD
16
1.4 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, SpaceWeather.com -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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