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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 518.6 km/sec
density: 0.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A6
1915 UT Jun01
24-hr: A6
1915 UT Jun01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 01 Jun 10
New sunspot 1076 is very small and poses no immediate threat for solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 39
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 31 May 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 33 days (22%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 801 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 31 May 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 72 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 31 May 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.3 nT
Bz: 0.5 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 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: 2010 Jun 01 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
15 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
June 1, 2010

NEW AND IMPROVED: Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a field-tested global satellite tracker. The Satellite Flybys app now works in all countries.


AURORA WATCH: A solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetic field, and NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of geomagnetic activity during the next 24 hours. High latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

MEMORIAL DAY FIREWORKS: On May 31st, around 2100 UT, a magnetic filament erupted on the sun. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) recorded the action with 10-times HDTV resolution. Click on the image to play the movie--and be alert for "the twist!"

Movie formats: 1 MB mpeg, 1.2 MB iPad, 0.5 MB iPhone

Magnetic filaments on the sun are a bit like rubber bands. They store energy when they are twisted. Take a rubber band from your desk and try it--twist, twist, twist. Eventually it will reach its fill and untwist explosively. That's more or less what happened on the sun. Play the movie again and note the untwisting motions near the center of the tempest. SDO's clear vision is revealing how these explosions work in unprecedented detail. Stay tuned for more.

X-37B FLARES: Multiple observers are reporting "X-37B flares." When the USAF space plane flies overhead, it suddenly increases in brightness five-fold or more. Amateur astronomer Bryan Murahashi photographed the phenomenon on May 30th* when the X-37B cut through the Big Dipper over San Jose, California:

Photo details: Nikon D300, 26s, f/2.8 at 24.0mm, ISO320

"The space plane brightened at least two magnitudes," says Murahashi. "It was a very neat thing to see."

Another observer, Bill Chellis, describes his flare experience on May 29th: "At first I had a little trouble finding the space plane, that is until it flared up nice and bright for about 3 seconds. It reached a peak magnitude of -2 or so. Having seen the ISS flare before, I would say that this flare was different in terms of color: blue-white, not orange-yellow."

The flares are probably caused by sunlight glinting from the X-37B's solar panels. It's impossible to say for sure, however, because the space plane's actions, configuration, and overall mission are secrets.

Ready to see a space plane flare? Turn your cell phone into an X-37B tracker--or check our Simple Satellite Tracker for flyby times.

*Errata: An earlier version of this item stated that the flyby happened on March 30th. The correct date is May 30th.

May 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Mays: 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002] [aurora alerts]

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, 2010 there were 1127 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 JR34
May 14
5.8 LD
12 m
2003 HR32
May 17
55.2 LD
1.0 km
2010 JN71
May 26
8.2 LD
245 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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