You are viewing the page for Aug. 2, 2009
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 370.8 km/sec
density: 13.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Aug02
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Aug02
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 31 July 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 01 Aug 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 22 days
2009 total: 164 days (77%)
Since 2004: 675 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 01 Aug 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= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.8 nT
Bz: 3.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on or about Aug. 6th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Aug 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: 2009 Aug 02 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
August 2, 2009

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


ISS TOOLBAG TO DECAY: The ISS Toolbag is about to become a fireball. Astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper dropped the backpack-sized kit on Nov. 18, 2008, while she was working outside the International Space Station. Eight months later, the toolbag is reentering Earth's atmosphere. updated: Best estimates suggest a fireball over the Pacific Ocean west of Mexico (12.7° N, 257.1° E) at around 1316 UT on August 3rd. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for last-chance flybys.

3D DEBRIS ON JUPITER: A dark cloud of debris from the July 19th impact on Jupiter continues to be visible through backyard telescopes. Now, for the first time, you can see it in 3D. Cross your eyes and behold:

Click to view a larger version

Astrophotographer "Wah!" made the stereo pair using an 8-inch telescope in Hong Kong. He took two pictures of Jupiter four minutes apart, allowing the planet's rotation to provide the necessary right- and left-eye views. If you have trouble seeing the 3D effect, try staring at this larger version.

In 3D, the impact mark seems to be a hole in the clouds. In fact, it is a cloud, filled with dark cindery bits of a mystery-impactor that exploded like 2000 megatons of TNT. High altitude winds are spreading the debris around the south pole, enlarging the dark mark for easy viewing.

Amateur astronomers can monitor the cloud near Jupiter's System II longitude 210°. For the predicted times when it will cross the planet's central meridian, add 2 hours and 6 minutes to Sky and Telescope's predicted transit times for Jupiter's Great Red Spot. [sky map]

more images: from Raffaello Lena of Rome, Italy; from Anthony Wesley of Australia; from Glenn Jolly of Gilbert, Arizona; from David Kolb of Lawrence, Kansas; from Joel Warren of Amarillo, Texas; from George Tarsoudis of Alexandroupolis - Evros, Greece; from Michael Rosolina of Friars Hill, West Virginia;

LONELY PROMINENCE: Yesterday, Alan Friedman of Buffalo, New York, looked through his solar telescope and actually felt sorry for the sun. "Seeing this solitary prominence, I imagined the sun experiencing a twinge of melancholia ... or perhaps it's my reaction to the seemingly endless solar minimum."

When Friedman took the picture on August 1st, the sun had just entered its 22nd consecutive day of spotlessness--no sunspots for more than three weeks! This is typical of 2009. So far this year, the sun has been blank 77% of the time, confirming the solar minimum of 2008-2009 as a century-class event.

But endless? No. Solar jet streams are beginning to stimulate new-cycle sunspot production--e.g., sunspot 1024 in early July. NOAA forecasters expect solar activity to intensify in late 2009-early 2010 leading to a new solar maximum in 2012-2013. If they're correct, soon, the lonely prominence will be a thing of the past.

2009 Noctilucent Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]

July 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Julys: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]

July 22nd Eclipse Gallery
[previous eclipses: Jan 26, 2009; Aug. 1, 2008; Mar. 19, 2007]

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 August 2, 2009 there were 1067 potentially hazardous asteroids.
August 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 MC9
Aug. 7
70.3 LD
1.2 km
2009 OF
Aug. 8
15.4 LD
220 m
2007 RQ17
Aug. 9
8.4 LD
130 m
2000 LC16
Aug. 17
75.6 LD
2.0 km
2006 SV19
Aug. 21
59.2 LD
1.3 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 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.
©2019 All rights reserved.