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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 589.5 km/sec
density: 3.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A6
2145 UT Jul02
24-hr: A6
0110 UT Jul02
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 02 Jul 10
Sunspot 1084 is big but very quiet. No solar flares are in the offing. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 11
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 01 July 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 35 days (19%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 803 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 01 July 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 73 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 01 July 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.6 nT
Bz: 1.3 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is exiting a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jul 02 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 Jul 02 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
July 2, 2010

ANDROID FLYBYS: Our field-tested satellite tracker is now available for Android phones. Features: Global predictions and flyby alarms! Learn more.


WEEKEND SKY SHOW: Jupiter and the Moon are gathering in Pisces for a beautiful weekend sky show. Look south at sunrise to see the two heavenly beacons less than 10o apart. They are so bright, you can see them even after the sky turns twilight blue--indeed, that is the most beautiful time to look. Morning sky maps: July 3, July 4.

PINWHEEL SUNSPOT: The dark core of sunspot 1084 is twice as wide as Earth itself. More impressive, however, is the enormous swirl of hot gas and magnetic fields suspended overhead. Today's extreme UV image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory reveals the sunspot's pinwheel canopy:

This magnetic architecture must be stable, because sunspot 1084 is remarkably quiet. There hasn't been the slightest hint of a flare from this "active" region for the past two days. It is, however, photogenic. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to take a look.

more images: from Rogerio Marcon of Campinas SP Brasil; from Jo Dahlmans of the Netherlands; from Roy McCullough of Youngstown, Ohio; from Peter Desypris of Island of Syros, Greece;

COMET McNAUGHT: Today, Comet McNaught (C/2009 R1) is making its closest approach to the sun (0.4 AU). Solar heating is furiously vaporizing the comet's icy core and undoubtedly brightening the first-time visitor from the outer solar system. Unfortunately, we can see very little of the action because it is happening on the far side of the sun. Rudi Dobesberger and Hermann Weixlbaum were lucky to catch the comet just after sunset on June 29th:

Their photo shows Comet McNaught shining through the waning glow of sunset and the city lights of Aschach, Austria. If only it were high in the midnight sky! "We took the picture using a Canon 40D and a 70mm (2 3/4 inch) refracting telescope," says Dobesberger. "After the comet set, a bank of noctilucent clouds appeared. It was a very nice evening."

After today, the comet will recede from the sun and begin to fade. Solar glare will continue to hinder observations for the rest of July, so this could be our last look at Comet McNaught. Don't worry though, it's only a matter of time before prolific comet hunter Robert McNaught finds another one to take its place. Stay tuned!

Lunar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[Science@NASA: Big Lunar Eclipse] [astronomy alerts]

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 July 2, 2010 there were 1138 potentially hazardous asteroids.
June-July 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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