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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 294.8 km/sec
density: 3.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2343 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2020 UT Jan04
24-hr: B7
0340 UT Jan04
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 04 Jan. 10
New-cycle sunspot 1039 is about to disappear over the sun's western limb. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 20
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 03 Jan 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 0 days (0%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 771 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 03 Jan 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 76 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 03 Jan 2010

Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals one or more possible sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.9 nT
Bz: 0.3 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes in the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jan 04 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
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 Jan 04 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
January 4, 2010

SATELLITE FLYBYS APP: Turn your iPhone or iPod into a field-tested satellite tracker! presents the Satellite Flybys app.


KEPLER'S NEW EXOPLANETS: NASA's Kepler space telescope, designed to find Earth-like planets around distant stars, has found its first five exoplanets. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

COMET TOAST: The solar system has one less comet. The subtraction occurred yesterday when a bright comet discovered by NASA's STEREO-A spacecraft plunged toward the sun and evaporated. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) had an excellent view of the encounter. Click on the image to set the scene in motion:

Latest movies: gif, mpeg-4, m4v

One "dirty snowball" went in; none came out. The doomed comet was a member of the Kreutz sungrazer family. Named after a 19th century German astronomer who studied them in detail, Kreutz sungrazers are fragments from the breakup of a giant comet at least 2000 years ago. Several of these fragments pass by the sun and disintegrate every day. Most are too small to see but occasionally a big fragment--like this one--attracts attention.

Credit: The comet was found on Jan. 2nd by Australian amateur astronomer Alan Watson, who was inspecting images obtained by STEREO-A's Heliospheric Imager on Dec. 30, 2009.

TALLEST MAN-MADE SHADOW: Today the world's tallest skyscraper officially opens in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). "The Burj Dubai is 2,684 ft (818 m) tall, making it the tallest man-made structure in history," says traveling photographer Brian Whittaker. "That means it is now officially casting the tallest man-made shadow." He snapped this picture using his iPhone.

"The contrasting shadow is easily visible when looking up from behind the skyscraper," he says. "This is a new phenomenon for Dubai."

more shadows: from Yoko Akiya at Mt. Fuji, Shizuoka, Japan; from Alan C Tough of Elgin, Moray, Scotland; from Rijk-Jan Koppejan of Middelburg, The Netherlands; from Christopher Go of Cebu City, Philippines; from Team Baader Planetarium near Wuhan, China; from Mila Zinkova at the Marine Headlands, California; from Omer Anil Nayir of Beykoz, Istanbul, Turkey; from Alan Dyer of Alberta, Canada; from Vincent Phillips of Hale, UK; from Stefano De Rosa of Villefranche, France;

December Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Decembers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2001, 2000]

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 January 4, 2010 there were 1091 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Jan. 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
24761 Ahau
Jan. 11
70.8 LD
1.4 km
2000 YH66
Jan. 12
69.5 LD
1.1 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.













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