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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 380.1 km/sec
density: 3.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Jan05
24-hr: A0
1705 UT Jan05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 05 Jan 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 Jan. 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= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.1 nT
Bz: 1.9 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on or about Jan. 8th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Jan 05 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 Jan 05 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
January 5, 2009

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


SPACE WEATHER RADIO: For a change of pace, why not listen to today's space weather news? Geomagnetic storm forecasts, backyard astronomy tips, and live sounds from space are a few of the things you can hear on Space Weather Radio.

QUADRANTID SIGHTS AND SOUNDS: The Quadrantid meteor shower peaked on Jan. 3rd and it was a doozy. According to the International Meteor Organization, the shower produced as many as 145 meteors per hour, mainly over North America. "I aimed my Canon 30D at the western sky and caught a good number of them," says Pierre Martin of Ottawa, Ontario. "This image is a composite of the best frames."

"The most active hour shortly before dawn had 107 Quadrantids," says Martin. "It was a great show!"

In New Mexico, amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft recorded the reflections of TV signals off the many Quadrantids that passed over his facility. There were so many meteors, all of the reflections ran together and overlapped to produce an eerie-sounding mix. A complete collection of Ashcraft's sono-Quadrantids may be found here.

Quadrantid Meteor Gallery
[Listen to the meteor radar!]

STRANGE DIP: "The last night of 2008 was exceptionally clear here in southwestern Turkey, thanks to cold and strong northerly winds," says Tunç Tezel of Kumluova, Fethiye. "I watched the Moon and Venus take a strange dip into the Mediterranean. They were heavily distorted by air layers above the sea."

Click on the image to set the scene in motion:

Play the movie

"Venus became double, and the Moon looked even more strange," he says. "After the bright crescent finally went down, Earthshine remained for more than another minute. I lost sight of the faint glow before it actually disappeared, but my camera (a Canon 5D) caught the Earthshine sinking beneath the waves."

more images: from Sam Cole of Austin, Texas; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK

UPDATED: Jan. 2009 Aurora Gallery
[Previous Januaries: 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2001]

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 5, 2009 there were 1014 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Jan. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 YC29
Jan. 2
3.4 LD
35 m
2008 YY32
Jan. 3
6.2 LD
40 m
2008 YG30
Jan. 4
3.6 LD
50 m
2008 YV32
Jan. 9
2.7 LD
25 m
2008 YF29
Jan. 11
9.7 LD
65 m
2002 AO11
Jan. 15
7.7 LD
120 m
1998 CS1
Jan. 17
11 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
  a one-stop hub for all things scientific
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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