You are viewing the page for Aug. 6, 2009
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 504.9 km/sec
density: 3.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Aug06
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Aug06
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 28 July 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Note: Why is the 'daily sun' several days old? Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is having a minor problem. SOHO's white light solar telescope is temporarily offline while new commands and data tables are uploaded to the spacecraft. Normal operations are expected to resume in a few days.
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 05 Aug 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 26 days
2009 total: 168 days (77%)
Since 2004: 679 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 05 Aug 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= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.2 nT
Bz: 1.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Aug 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: 2009 Aug 06 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
August 6, 2009

KILLER APP: You can now experience the Perseid meteor shower on your iPhone. It's cloud-proof! Learn more and give it a try.


AURORA WATCH: A solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetic field. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

METEOR UPDATE: Perseid meteors are now hitting Earth's upper atmosphere with a speed of 58 to 60 km/s, about 130,000 mph. That's the result of triangulation by a dual-station meteor monitoring system operated by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. Last night the system detected five fireballs that provided the data for this speed estimate.

EARLY PERSEIDS: The Perseid meteor shower is slowly intensifying as Earth plunges deeper in Comet Swift-Tuttle's debris stream. On August 4th, amateur astronomer Thomas Ashcraft caught an early arrival using an all-sky camera at his observatory near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Click on the image to play a movie with sound effects:

The "ping" you just heard was a 61.25 MHz TV signal bouncing off the meteor's ionized tail. Ashcraft keeps an antenna trained on the sky so that he can record the echos and lay them down as soundtracks for his all-sky movies. "I'm sure I'll record many more in the days ahead," he says. "Highlights will be posted here."

According to the International Meteor Organization, about 10 Perseids per hour are now streaking across the night sky: data. This number could increase to as many as 200 per hour when Earth crosses an anticipated filament of comet dust around 0800 UT (1 a.m. PDT) on August 12th. Observing tips and a sky map may be found in the Science@NASA story "The Perseids are Coming."

2009 Perseid Meteor Gallery
[previous Perseids: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2001]

BLANK IS BEAUTIFUL: The sun is entering its 27th consecutive day of spotlessness, quiet and calm. That's okay. According to astrophotographer Greg Piepol of Rockville, Maryland, blank is beautiful:

"I took this picture on August 4th using my Coronado SolarMax90," says Piepol. "It was a pretty sight uninterrupted by sunspots or other activity."

Indeed, the sun is being remarkably quiet. After a promising eruption of sunspots in early July raised hopes that Solar Cycle 24 was gaining strength, the sun reversed course and retreated to peaceful slumber. Only four weeks after behemoth sunspot 1024 amazed onlookers, solar minimum has never seemed deeper. The sun's 77% rate of spotlessness in 2009 confirms the ongoing minimum as a century class event.

2009 Noctilucent Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]

July 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Julys: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]

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 August 6, 2009 there were 1067 potentially hazardous asteroids.
August 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 MC9
Aug. 7
70.3 LD
1.2 km
2009 OF
Aug. 8
15.4 LD
220 m
2007 RQ17
Aug. 9
8.4 LD
130 m
2000 LC16
Aug. 17
75.6 LD
2.0 km
2006 SV19
Aug. 21
59.2 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
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
©2019 All rights reserved.