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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 382.8 km/sec
density: 4.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1730 UT Feb08
24-hr: A3
0705 UT Feb08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 08 Feb 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 Feb 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no large sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.1 nT
Bz: 2.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2009 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 08 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 08 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
40 %
01 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
45 %
05 %
15 %
01 %
01 %

What's up in Space
February 8, 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

SHUTTLE LAUNCH: Space shuttle Atlantis has left Earth on an 11-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Photographer Mike Theiss was at Cape Canaveral yesterday and recorded the spectacular launch. The shuttle will deliver the 23,000-lb Columbus science laboratory to the ISS, and the crew of Atlantis will help install it during a series of spacewalks next week: full story.

0.5% MOON: It could be the thinnest crescent you'll ever see. Behold, the 0.5% Moon:

"I took this picture last night about 30 minutes after sunset," says Sam Cole of Austin, Texas. As the sky darkened, "the Moon became visible against the Austin skyline for a grand total of 8 minutes" before following the sun over the horizon. It was a brief window, but he got the shot using his Canon 40D set at ISO 400.

Tonight the illumination of the Moon increases eight-fold to 4%. Look west after sunset for another crescent, second-thinnest.

more images: from Mahdi Rahimi of Esfahan, Iran; from Christophe Stolz of Bern, Switzerland; from Sorin Hotea of Sighet, Romania;

SOLAR ECLIPSE: Something odd happened in New Zealand yesterday. Everywhere, sunbeams dappling the ground turned into crescents:

It was a solar eclipse. The Moon passed in front of the sun, off center, altering the normal shape of sunbeams. Pictured above, "Gary Sparks shows how easy it can be to observe an eclipse," says photographer Graham Palmer of Taradale, New Zealand. "By simply holding a bit of card in the light filtering through a tree, we can see the multiple 'crescent suns' that mark the event."

The same phenomenon was observed across much of the South Pacific, from Antarctica to southern Australia. Click on the links for more crescents: from Dave Feldt at the South Pole; from Ian Cooper of Palmerston North, New Zealand; from Andy Dodson of Huirangi, New Zealand; from Troy Arkley of Wellington, New Zealand; from Joerg Schoppmeyer at the Edgewater Resort, Cook Islands; from Jonathan Harris of Porirua, New Zealand; from David of Canberra, Australia; from Andrew Dallow of Canterbury, New Zealand.

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 8, 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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