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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 415.8 km/sec
density: 2.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2343 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2054 UT Jul03
24-hr: C2
1101 UT Jul03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 03 Jul 11
Sunspot 1243 poses a slight threat for C-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 54
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 02 Jul 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 1 day (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 02 Jul 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 86 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 02 Jul 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 9.4 nT
Bz: 0.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
Coronal Holes: 03 Jul 11
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should is gently buffeting Earth's magnetic field. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Jul 03 2200 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: 2011 Jul 03 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Sunday, Jul. 3, 2011
What's up in space

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

Metallic pictures of the Sun

ASTEROID OCCULTATION: On July 3rd at 11:05:30 p.m. EDT, a 10th magnitude star in Virgo will disappear. It'll be right back. Asteroid 52 Europa will pass in front of TYC 0292-00339-1, blotting it out for only 17.9 seconds in an eclipse visible across a wide strip of North America. Measurements of the eclipse could reveal the shape of the asteroid, the seventh largest in the asteroid belt. NASA is hosting a live chat and webcast to cover the event: Tune in here.

NLCs INVADE THE USA: On July 1st and 2nd, a bank of rippling electric-blue noctilucent clouds spilled across the Canadian border into the lower United States. In doing so, the clouds made their farthest excursion of the year away from the Arctic, their usual environment. "These were the most brilliant NLCs I have ever witnessed!" reports Steven Rosenow, who sends this picture from Washington state:

"I took my camera to a spot along Washington's Hood Canal for a panoramic view," says Rosenow. "It was a visually stunning display that stretched as far as the eye could see." NLC reports are also coming in from Oregon, Montana, North and South Dakota, and Minnesota, and in Europe as far south as France. (Update: There has also been a potential sighting in Kansas.)

Back in the 19th century, these mysterious clouds were confined to polar regions. In recent years, however, NLCs have spread toward the equator, appearing in places such as Utah, Colorado, and perhaps even Virginia. Is this a sign of climate change? Some researchers think so. Sky watchers at all latitudes are encouraged to be alert for electric blue just after sunset or before sunrise; observing tips may be found in the 2011 NLC gallery.

UPDATED: 2011 Noctilucent Cloud Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009]

REMOTE ECLIPSE SEEN FROM SPACE: Last week, offered a whimsical $50 reward to anyone who photographed the partial solar eclipse of July 1st. Visible only from a remote patch of ocean off the coast of Antarctica, the celestial event would likely be seen by no one at all. Nevertheless, the eclipse was photographed. High above Earth, Europe's Proba-2 satellite took this picture of the Moon taking a bite out of the sun:

Launched in November 2009, Proba-2 is a small satellite, about a cubic meter in volume, packed with experimental technologies being tested for future space missions. Proba-2 also contains four sensors for regular monitoring of solar activity. One of the them, the SWAP ultraviolet telescope, recorded the eclipse. This isn't the first time Proba-2 has filmed an eclipse: see also Jan. 15, 2010.

Members of the Proba-2 solar science team at the Royal Observatory of Belgium may collect their $50 prize by emailing the webmaster.

June 2011 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora alerts: text, voice] [previous Junes: 2010, 2008, 2001]

June 15th Lunar Eclipse Gallery

  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 3, 2011 there were 1237 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 MD
Jun 27
0.05 LD
10 m
2011 GA55
Jul 6
64.1 LD
1.0 km
2011 EZ78
Jul 10
37.3 LD
1.6 km
2003 YS117
Jul 14
73.9 LD
1.0 km
2007 DD
Jul 23
9.3 LD
31 m
2003 BK47
Jul 26
77.6 LD
1.0 km
2009 AV
Aug 22
49.7 LD
1.1 km
2003 QC10
Sep 18
50 LD
1.2 km
2004 SV55
Sep 19
67.5 LD
1.2 km
2007 TD
Sep 23
3.8 LD
58 m
2002 AG29
Oct 9
77.1 LD
1.0 km
2000 OJ8
Oct 13
49.8 LD
2.5 km
2009 TM8
Oct 17
1.1 LD
8 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 web 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 Dynamics Observatory
  Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
  the underlying science of space weather
Science Central
Conquest Graphics
  for out-of-this-world printing and graphics
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
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