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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 359.4 km/sec
density: 4.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1715 UT Feb06
24-hr: A0
1715 UT Feb06
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 06 Feb 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 05 Feb 2008
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= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.3 nT
Bz: 1.3 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 Feb. 10th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Feb 06 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: 2008 Feb 06 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
20 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
25 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %

What's up in Space
February 6, 2008
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.   mySKY

ASTEROID FLYBY: That was close. Yesterday, newly discovered asteroid 2008 CT1 flew past Earth only 72,000 miles (0.3 lunar distances) away. Had it struck our planet, the 13-meter wide space rock (similar in size to a school bus) would have done little damage, probably exploding in the atmosphere and peppering some lonely stretch of ocean with meteorites. Maybe next time...

SOLAR ECLIPSE: On Thursday, Feb. 7th, the Moon will pass in front of the Sun, producing a solar eclipse over New Zealand, most of Antarctica and parts of Australia: map, timetables. It is not a total eclipse; the Moon will only partially cover the solar disk. Nevertheless, the event promises some beautiful moments. For instance, the partially-eclipsed Sun will dapple the ground with crescent-shaped sunbeams. Observers in New Zealand and Australia should look in the shadows of leafy trees for this lovely phenomenon. On the barren slopes of Antarctica, scientists and explorers can produce the same effect by letting the sun shine through, say, the latticework of a snowshoe.

Click to view an animated map of the eclipse

It is dangerous to stare directly at a partial eclipse because the exposed portion of the Sun is as blindingly bright as usual. Backyard astronomers with safely-filtered solar telescopes may, however, point their optics at the Sun and watch the mountainous lunar limb glide across the fiery stellar surface. The best views of all are reserved for an remote stretch of the Antarctic where the Moon will pass dead-center in front of the Sun without fully covering it. A thin layer of star will poke out all around the Moon producing a vivid "ring of fire" or annular eclipse. Stay tuned for photos!

SUN PILLAR: Breakfasting at dawn? Look up from your feed and behold the sky:

On Jan. 22nd a bright sun pillar sprung up over the pastures of Southington, Ohio. "It was a cold, overcast morning," says photographer Richard Pirko. Plate-shaped ice crystals fluttering to Earth from high clouds reflected the rays of the rising sun and spread them into a golden column of light. Dawn is a marvelous time to see pillars; all you need is a few clouds, a dash of wintry ice, and a pause between mouthfuls.

more images: from Steve Sumner of Auburn, California; from Patrick Cunningham of Farmersville, IL; from Julie Rodriguez Jones near Sparks, Nevada; from Claude Mathieu of Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada.

2008 Aurora Photo Gallery
[Night-sky Cameras] [Aurora Alerts]

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. [comment]
On February 6, 2008 there were 927 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Feb. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 CT1
Feb. 5
0.3 LD
13 m
2007 DA
Feb. 12
9.8 LD
140 m
4450 Pan
Feb. 19
15.9 LD
1.6 km
2002 TD66
Feb. 26
16.7 LD
440 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 Weather Prediction 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...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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