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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 358.8 km/sec
density: 1.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Jun23
24-hr: A0
1015 UT Jun23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 23 Jun 08
Sunspot 999 is rapidly fading away and poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

more images: from Harald Paleske of Langendorf, Germany; from Guenter Kleinschuster of Feldbach, Styria, Austria
Sunspot number: 11
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 22 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= 0 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: 2.7 nT
Bz: 1.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1622 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about June 26th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Jun 23 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 23 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
20 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
35 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
05 %
What's up in Space
June 23, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of June 14th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

NLC MOVIE: Noctilucent cloud (NLC) season began in earnest last week when the summer solstice brought an intense display to the British Isles. Amateur astronomer Torcuill Torrance of Newtonhill, UK, filmed the clouds and offers this 5 MB movie. Note how ordinary clouds scud by in dark relief against the twilight sky while NLCs ripple overhead in bright silvery waves: photo gallery.

MARTIAN ICE: Scientists have figured out the mysterious white substance unearthed by NASA's Phoenix lander on Mars. It's frozen water. The breakthrough came last week when Phoenix's stereo camera caught the substance in the act of disappearing:

Bathed in martian sunlight for four days, the white substance sublimated--i.e., it transformed from solid to gas without passing through the liquid state. This is how water behaves on Mars. Atmospheric pressure on the Red Planet is so low (1% that of Earth), it rarely allows H2O to exist in liquid form on the planet's surface; solid and gas are the only options. Some readers have asked, how do we know the white substance is not frozen CO2 (dry ice) instead of frozen water? Answer: Phoenix's landing site is too warm for dry ice. The average daily temperature is about -70 F while dry ice requires temperatures lower than about -109 F.

Finding water was one of the key goals of the Phoenix mission. Although H2O has trouble flowing as a liquid on the surface of Mars, it may be able to liquify, from time to time, just below the surface, providing a habitat for martian microbes. Exciting stuff! Stay tuned as the digging continues.

ICE SEE 3D: Ready to see martian ice vanish in three dimensions? Slip on your 3D glasses and click here. Belgian graphic artist Patrick Vantuyne created the anaglyph by combining right- and left-eye images from Phoenix's stereo camera.

SOLSTICE CELEBRATIONS: No, this mountain in the Austrian Alps is not spewing lava. It's a summer solstice celebration:

Zoom in and zoom in again to see what's really happening.

"This is a traditional solstice celebration in our part of Europe," explains photographer Thorsten Boeckel. "More than 8000 fires light up these 200-meter figures in the steep mountain walls from an altitude of 1200m to 2900m. What an unique sight from a 2000m perch on the opposite side of the valley."

more solstice photos: from Andrew Greenwood at Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire, England

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 23, 2008, there were 959 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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