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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 322.3 km/sec
density: 3.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B5
1950 UT Jan06
24-hr: B5
1950 UT Jan06
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 06 Jan. 10
Sunspot 1039 is disappearing over the sun's western limb, leaving the visible disk of the sun blank for the first time in 2010. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 13
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 05 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 05 Jan 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 77 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 05 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= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.7 nT
Bz: 0.9 nT north
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 Jan. 13th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jan 06 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: 2010 Jan 06 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 6, 2010

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


SPACE STATION FLYBYS: The International Space Station (ISS) is flying over North American towns and cities this week. It is very bright and easy to see in the night sky. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker to see if you are favored with a flyby.

flyby images: from Ed Sweeney in the Santa Cruz Mountains of CA

FIRST AURORAS OF 2010: Last night, for the first time this year, the clouds parted over Pangnirtung, an Inuit village on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, and the auroras came out to play:

"Mild temperatures at this time of year created a heavy ice fog which blanketed the community, while the Northern Lights danced over head," reports photographer Claus Vogel. "A couple of kids came over to investigate what I was doing, and within a few minutes they were trying their hands at aurora photography. We even played with the flashlight to write 2010."

The lights were sparked by a knot of solar magnetism that wafted past Earth in the solar wind. The south-pointing magnetic field from the sun partially cancelled the north-pointing magnetic field of Earth. Solar wind poured through the breach and fueled the display.

Says Vogel, "here's to more astronomical wonders in the year ahead!"

NEW: January Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Januarys: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2001]

SOLAR ACTIVITY: Yesterday, January 5th, something exploded on the back side of the sun and hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) into space. Click on the SOHO image to see the billion-ton cloud in motion:

The source of the blast was probably one of several regions currently located behind the sun's eastern limb. NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft is monitoring three old sunspots there--AR1035, AR1036 and AR1038. The emergent latitude of the CME best matches that of AR1036, which will turn to face Earth in a few days. Stay tuned for solar activity.

more images: from Howard Eskildsen of Ocala, Florida

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 6, 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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