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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 537.3 km/sec
density: 1.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A1
1925 UT Sep04
24-hr: B1
0010 UT Sep04
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 04 Sep 07
Sunspot 970 is disintegrating; if this continues, the sun will be devoid of sunspots by the end of the day. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 15
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 03 Sep 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= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Updated: 2007 Sep 04 2047 UT
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.0 nT
Bz: 0.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Sept. 6th. Credit: SOHO Extreme Ultraviolet Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2007 Sep 04 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 Sep 04 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
35 %
05 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
35 %
05 %
20 %
01 %
10 %
What's up in Space
September 4, 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. .

COSMIC COCKROACHES: A tough, pesky molecule possibly key to the origins of life on Earth has been spotted in deep space surviving the ferocious blastwave of a supernova explosion. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

METEOR OUTBURST: "What an adventure!" says astrophotographer George Varros who spent last Saturday morning flying 45,000 ft above the California Coast during the Aurigid meteor outburst. "Here is a rough composite of four bright meteors imaged in less than 5 minutes through the window of the airplane." Click to view a 2.7 megabyte movie:

"Note the reflection of the meteors along the airplane wing's leading edge," he points out. "Each one was brighter than 0th magnitude."

Varros took the pictures from the Aurigid MAC aircraft, a flight organized by Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute to study these rare meteors from ancient Comet Kiess. Onboard were 14 scientists armed with image-intensified cameras and spectrometers: preliminary results. "A good time was had by all," says Varros.

The Sept. 1st outburst was "a wonderful confirmation of the meteor stream model developed by Jeremy Vaubaullion and Peter Jenniskens," he adds. "I asked Jeremy before the event if he was confident in his predictions--and he absolutely was. Awesome! Congratulations!"

The outburst was also witnessed by a great number of people on the ground. Browse the gallery, below, for more sights and sounds.

Aurigid Photo Gallery
[Interactive map of Aurigid sightings] [Meteor Alerts]

PERFECT SKY: On Sept. 1st, a solar wind stream hit Earth sparking bright auroras from Scandinavia to Alaska: map. In Quebec, Canada, Sylvain Serre turned his Canon 30D to the sky and recorded this fantastic scene:

Photo details: Canon EOS 30D, 15 sec, 4.0 exp., ISO 1600

Serre calls this "a perfect sky," and who could argue? The storm has subsided but it could flare up again on Sept 6th or 7th when another solar wind stream is due to rattle Earth's magnetic field. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras: 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 September 4, 2007 there were 880 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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