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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 605.0 km/sec
density: 0.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Aug01
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Aug01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 01 Aug 07
The sun is blank again--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 11
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 30 July 2007
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= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Updated: 2007 Aug 01 2133 UT
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.4 nT
Bz: -0.0 nT
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth oln or about August 3rd. Credit: SOHO Extreme Ultraviolet Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2007 Aug 01 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: 2007 Aug 01 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
15 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
20 %
15 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
What's up in Space
August 1, 2007
Where's Saturn? Is that a UFO--or the ISS? What's the name of that star? Get the answers from mySKY--a fun new astronomy helper from Meade.

GREAT PERSEIDS: The Perseid meteor shower is coming, and experts say it should be a great show. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

MARS ROVER UPDATE: A severe dust storm on Mars, raging for the fourth consecutive week, is putting Spirit and Opportunity in jeopardy. Both rovers rely on stored solar power to keep critical systems warm during the cold martian night, but dust is blotting out the sun. The temperature of Opportunity's core has dropped to minus 37 Celsius, a near-critical level, according to NASA engineers.

There's no escaping the storm; it stretches all the way around the planet. From high orbit, Mars Odyssey has mapped out the atmospheric opacity:

In the figure, blue denotes clear air while red is choked with dust. When will it end? No one knows. A similar storm in 2001 (long before Spirit and Opportunity arrived) persisted for more than three months. "We will continue to watch the situation and do all we can to assist our rovers in this ongoing battle against the elements," says rover project manager John Callas of JPL: full story.

SEQUOIA SUN HALO: "Most of the people around me were looking up at the Sequoias, but few seemed to notice this spectacular ring around the Sun!" says Mike Lukason who sends this photo from Sequoia National Park in California:

Photo details: Nikon D70s, 200 ISO, 18mm focal length

The luminous ring is a circumscribed sun halo, caused by pencil-shaped ice crystals in cirrus clouds. Although the noon temperature at the Park has hovered around 95 degrees F for more than a month, ice crystals are in abundance five miles above the treetops where the clouds are located. At that altitude, it is always freezing cold.

Icy sun halos can appear anytime, anywhere. Scan the sky around the sun. All you need is an object to block the central glare: a tall building, an outstretched hand, a lamp post--and, of course, Sequoiadendron giganteum works nicely, too.

more images: from Cindy Safina at the Tashilhunpo Temple in Tibet; from Will Gater of South Devon, England; from Martin Popek of Nýdek, Czech Republic; from Taj Dickinson of Wall Township, New Jersey; from John C McConnell of Maghaberry Northern Ireland.

.2007 Noctilucent Cloud Gallery
[Night-Sky Cameras] ["Noctilucent Cloud"--the song]

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 August 1, 2007 there were 876 potentially hazardous asteroids.
July 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2007 FV42
July 2
53 LD
1.2 km
2007 MB4
July 4
7.6 LD
130 m
2007 DT103
July 29
9.3 LD
550 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 Environment 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...
©2007, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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