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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 530.2 km/sec
density: 1.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A5
1925 UT Apr08
24-hr: B3
0325 UT Apr08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 08 Apr. 10
Decaying sunspot 1061 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 25
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 07 Apr 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 6 days (6%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 776 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 07 Apr 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 76 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 07 Apr 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.2 nT
Bz: 1.4 nT south
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: 2010 Apr 08 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 Apr 08 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
April 8, 2010

NEW AND IMPROVED: Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a field-tested global satellite tracker. The Satellite Flybys app now works in all countries.


SHUTTLE-STATION SIGHTINGS: Space shuttle Discovery has docked to the International Space Station, adding its brightness to that of the ISS. Sky watchers should be alert for the two spacecraft gliding through the twilight sky in the days ahead. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for viewing times--and don't forget, there's an app for that, too.

images: from Becky Ramotowski of Tijeras, New Mexico; from Gary near the McDonald Observatory in west Texas; from Adrian New of San Antonio, Texas

THE VIEW FROM ANTARCTICA: A high-speed solar wind stream has been blowing around Earth for three days, sparking some of the strongest geomagnetic storms and brightest auroras in years. Here is the view, yesterday, from Antarctica:

"This was the most intense and amazing natural phenomenon I have ever had the privilege of observing," says photographer André Harms. "It was such an exhilarating feeling when the sky just exploded in a kaleidoscope of moving colors."

Harms works at SANAE IV, the South African Antarctic research station in coastal Dronning Maud Land just inside the Antarctic Circle. The base itself is located on top of a distinctive flat-topped nunatak, which offers observers a fine view of the sky. The view could remain colorful for some days to come as the solar wiind continues to blow. Stay tuned!

April Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Aprils: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002]

ROCKET CLOUDS: Space shuttle Discovery lifted off from Cape Canaveral on Monday morning, April 5th, on a 13-day mission to the International Space Station. Long after the shuttle disappeared from the brightening dawn sky, however, onlookers continued to stare ... at this:

"I photographed the cloud twisting and turning over the Rocket Garden at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex," says photographer Craig Crawford. "It was psychedelic."

Although it appears to be a strange brew of colorful chemicals, the cloud is in fact no more than a wispy plume of water droplets and ice crystals. The shuttle's main engines are fueled by liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen--a combination that produces a lot of H2O. Rays from the morning sun painted the twisting plume with all the colors of the dawn. Psychedelic, indeed. Stay tuned for a different type of rocket cloud tomorrow.

more images:from Howard Cohen of Gainesville, Florida; from JA Cheong of Kennedy Space Center, FL; from Doug Shytle, PhD of Cape Canaveral, Florida; from Pete Lardizabal of Canaveral National Seashore Park, FL; from Dan Gore of Titusville, Florida; from William Hartenstein of Kennedy Space Center, FL; from Chuck Pek of Cocoa Beach, Florida; from Jacob Kuiper at the Kennedy Space Center's press site; from Mark Staples of Waldo, Florida;

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 April 8, 2010 there were 1114 potentially hazardous asteroids.
March 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2001 PT9
March 3
11.1 LD
305 m
4486 Mithra
March 12
73.5 LD
3.3 km
2001 FM129
March 13
44.1 LD
1.5 km
2010 FU9
March 18
1.5 LD
19 m
2010 EF43
March 18
5.0 LD
23 m
2010 FT
March 27
5.5 LD
33 m
2002 TE66
March 28
48.0 LD
940 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 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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