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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 309.3 km/sec
density: 0.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A9
1855 UT Jun01
24-hr: A9
1855 UT Jun01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 01 June 09
Emerging sunspot 1019 is a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Credit: SOHO/MDI

more images: from Steve Rismiller of Milford, Ohio; from Matthias Juergens of Gnevsdorf, Germany; from Mike Borman of Evansville, Indiana; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from Howard Eskildsen of Ocala, Florida;
Sunspot number: 11
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 31 May 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2009 total: 123 days (82%)
Since 2004: 634 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 31 May 2009

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
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.5 nT
Bz: -0.0 nT
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 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: 2009 Jun 01 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: 2009 Jun 01 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
20 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
June 1, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you sleep through the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.


SOLAR CYCLE PREDICTION: An international panel of experts says Solar Cycle 24 will peak in May 2013 with a below-average number of sunspots. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

SOLAR ACTIVITY: "Solar activity is heating up!" reports Robert Arnold from the Isle of Skye, Scotland. This morning he photographed a fiery prominence and a new sunspot emerging near the sun's northeastern limb:

The sunspot, numbered 1019, in growing rapidly as shown in this movie from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. The high latitude and magnetic polarity of the spot identify it as a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Readers , if you have a solar telescope, train it on the sun and watch sunspot genesis in action.

more images: from J. Maciaszek and J. Stetson of South Portland, Maine; from Didier Favre of Br├ętigny sur Orge, France; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from Chris Newsome of Spondon, Derby, UK; from John C McConnell of Maghaberry Northern Ireland; from Chris Hozee of De Bilt, The Netherlands; from Maximilian Teodorescu of Dumitrana, Romania; from Gernot Lausen of Fleckeby, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany; from Jan Haltenhof of Kiel, Northern Germany;

LIGHTNING SPLASH: On May 26th, photographers Francis Schaefers and Daniel Burger were chasing a thunderstorm along a beach in Vlissingen, the Netherlands, when "the storm turned around and came a little too close for comfort," says Schaefers. "We were able to photograph lightning hitting the water just 40 meters away." Here is the view through their Canon 400D:

Look closely where the lightning meets the water. Tiny bolts appear to be dancing around the impact site.

"Those are called 'upward streamers,'" says lightning expert Richard Blakeslee of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. "In a typical cloud-to-ground lightning strike, as the leader approaches the ground, the large electric field at the leader tip induces these upward propagating streamers. The first one that connects to the downward propagating leader initiates the bright return stroke that we see with our eye. Upward streamers are often observed on photographs of lightning hitting the ground."

Now we know they can be seen when lightning hits the water, too.

Schaefers and Burger took many pictures that night, mostly from underneath a balcony where they figured the lightning wouldn't reach. This favorite is called The Cruise You Don't Want to Take.

April 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Aprils: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002]

Explore the Sunspot Cycle

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 June 1, 2009 there were 1061 potentially hazardous asteroids.
June 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 KR21
June 1
0.7 LD
21 m
2009 KL8
June 1
5.1 LD
63 m
2003 QO104
June 9
36.8 LD
2.9 km
1994 CC
June 10
6.6 LD
1.2 km
2001 FE90
June 28
7.0 LD
435 m
2002 KL6
June 28
57.5 LD
1.4 km
2006 MV1
June 30
9.6 LD
20 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 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
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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