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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 396.1 km/sec
density: 0.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Jun09
24-hr: A0
1505 UT Jun09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Jun 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 07 June 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= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.6 nT
Bz: 3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Jun 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: 2008 Jun 09 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
June 9, 2008
FLYBY ALERT! Space shuttle Discovery launched on May 31st. Get your flyby alerts from Space Weather PHONE  

SOLAR ACTIVITY: The eastern edge of the sun is alive with activity today. A new active region is churning up the solar surface while a tall triangular prominence invites observation through backyard solar telescopes. Not bad for solar minimum....

NLC ALERT: The first bright noctilucent clouds (NLCs) of the 2008 season appeared over Ireland this weekend. "Just before sunrise on June 7th, a bright white display of bands and billows snaked across the sky," reports Martin McKenna of Maghera, N. Ireland. "Using binoculars, I could see them moving and they reminded me of white wave crests on the ocean." A similar display appeared over Limerick, Ireland, where Frank Ryan Jr. snapped these photos:

Summer is the season for NLCs and the first good displays usually come in early June. What are these glow-in-the-dark clouds? They are swarms of tiny ice crystals about the size of particles in cigarette smoke floating 80+ km above Earth's surface at the edge of space itself. When sunlight strikes these tiny crystals, the clouds glow electric blue.

That is what they are--well known. What makes them, however, is a deep mystery. High-latitude NLCs first appeared in the 19th century after the eruption of super-volcano Krakatoa. At the time the clouds were widely thought to be associated with the eruption, but long after the ash settled, NLCs persisted. In recent years they have intensified and spread with sightings as far south as Utah and Colorado. A NASA spacecraft named AIM is in orbit to investigate.

Readers, especially you at high latitudes, be alert for NLCs in the evenings ahead. Observing tips may be found in our 2007 Noctilucent Cloud Gallery.

PYRAMID ICE HALO: When the residents of Tampere, Finland, woke up on June 6th and looked out at the morning sun, they were greeted by a fantastic display of nested halos. "I've never before seen four rings around the sun!" says eye-witness Emma Herranen. "Luckily, I had time to fetch my camera (a Canon 5D) for a quick self-portrait before heading to work."

more images: #1, #2, #3

These fantastic halos are formed by equally fantastic ice crystals, crystals shaped like pyramids. Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains:

"Imagine an ‘ordinary’ cloud ice crystal, a six-sided prism with flat ends. Now put an ice pyramid on each end. Finally, chop off the sharp pyramid points. The result, a twenty-sided crystal. Sun rays passing through them have a whole variety of possible paths and form multiple rings called ‘odd-radius’ halos. Emma saw 9o, 18o, 20o, 22o and 23o halos (simulation) and perhaps larger ones too in Finland, the 'Home of halos.' They are rare, but not that rare, look out for them!"

May 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. [comment]
On June 9, 2008 there were 956 potentially hazardous asteroids.
June-July 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 KO
June 1
4.4 LD
60 m
2008 KT
June 3
3.3 LD
9 m
2008 LB
June 9
3.3 LD
26 m
2008 LG2
June 13
9.2 LD
36 m
2008 LC
June 17
9.8 LD
55 m
2008 KN11
June 22
9.0 LD
110 m
2000 AD205
June 26
54 LD
800 m
1999 VU
June 29
65 LD
1.6 km
2008 BT18
July 14
5.9 LD
1.0 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 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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