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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 534.3 km/sec
density: 2.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2242 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Sep08
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Sep08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 08 Sep 08
There sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 06 Sept. 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= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.7 nT
Bz: 0.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2243 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: Hinode X-Ray Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Sep 08 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 Sep 08 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
September 8, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of August 9th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

JULES VERNE: After undocking on Sept. 5th, Europe's Jules Verne spacecraft is now leading the ISS around Earth. "I decided to try Spaceweather's Satellite Tracker and successfully observed the two spacecraft this weekend," reports John C McConnell of Northern Ireland: photos. Jules Verne is maneuvering so that ISS astronauts will have a good view of its fiery reentry over the Pacific Ocean on Sept. 29th. Stay tuned for updates.

FIND THE PLEIADES: When in Iceland, where do you look for the Pleiades? Scan the photo for clues as you scroll down for the answer:

Answer: Through a gap in the Northern Lights. Click here.

Sean Scully took the picture on Sept. 6th just outside of Akureyri, Iceland. "The sunsets are now early enough that the sky is dark after 10 p.m. and we can see the auroras again." This display was caused by a solar wind stream buffeting Earth's magnetic field.

Good news: the solar wind is still blowing and more auroras are possible tonight. Sky watchers in Alaska, Canada, Iceland and Scandinavia should be alert for Pleiades peeking through the green.

September 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Past Septembers: 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2001]

SAND CORONA: On Saturday, Sept. 6th, a plume of fine dust from the Sahara desert wafted over Hungary, causing something odd to happen in the sky. Photographer Agnes Kiricsi points it out:

"The Sun developed developed a Bishop's Ring--a blue aureole surrounded by a wide brownish rim," says Kiricsi. "This 'sand-corona' started in the morning and got better and better during the day, producing a really pale sunset."

Similar blue coronas are formed by volcanic ash, and indeed they have been sighted in recent weeks, forming in response to the eruption of Alaska Kasatochi volcano. Put your finger over the sun; there's no telling what you might see.

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 September 8, 2008 , there were 979 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Sept. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2003 WT153
Sept. 7
5.8 LD
11 m
1996 HW1
Sept. 12
53 LD
3.7 km
2003 SW130
Sept. 19
8.6 LD
7 m
1998 UO1
Sept. 26
25 LD
2.0 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 space weather bureau
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.
  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
  a one-stop web hub for all things scientific
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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