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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 289.8 km/sec
density: 1.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2242 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A8
2240 UT Dec08
24-hr: B2
0520 UT Dec08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 08 Dec 07
So far, new sunspot 978 poses no threat for strong solar flares, but it is a nice target for properly-filtered telescopes. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 24
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 03 Dec 2007
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= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 0
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Updated: 2007 Dec 08 2120 UT
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.8 nT
Bz: 2.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2244 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could hit Earth on Dec. 11th or 12th. Credit: Hinode X-ray Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2007 Dec 08 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
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: 2007 Dec 08 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %

What's up in Space
December 8, 2007
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.

SUNDAY LAUNCH: The space shuttle is now scheduled to leave Earth on Sunday, Dec. 9th, at 3:21 p.m. EST. At the Kennedy Space Center, photographer Mike Theiss took these pictures of Atlantis waiting on its launch pad. "The puddles of water made some neat reflections," he says. Sunday's liftoff will mark the beginning of an 11-day construction mission to the International Space Station and some bright flybys of the ISS+shuttle visible from backyards on Earth: alerts.

BIG SUNSPOT: Sunspot 978 popped over the sun's eastern limb on Dec. 6th and it has quickly become one of the largest sunspot groups of the year. Measuring 5 times wider than Earth, it is an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. Rogerio Marcon of Sao Paulo, Brazil, photographed the behemoth this morning:


Sunspot 978 poses no threat for strong solar flares but this could change if its rapid growth continues. Stay tuned!

more images: from the Hinode spacecraft in Earth orbit; from J. Fairfull and J. Stetson of South Portland, Maine; from John Nassr of Baguio, Philippines; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from Paul Haese of Blackwood, South Australia; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland;

3D SUNBEAMS: Sometimes the best solar activity is a sunbeam. Put on your 3D glasses and regard the following:

The anagylph was created from a pair of photos taken by Laurent Laveder of Quimper, France. "This morning, due to a thin haze in the valley, some nice crepuscular rays appeared," he says. "It was a nice opportunity to capture the relief with a 3D view." The full sized image is guaranteed to startle.

Comet 17P/Holmes Photo Gallery
[Interactive World Map of Comet Photos]
[sky map] [ephemeris] [3D orbit] [Night Sky Cameras]

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 December 8, 2007 there were 908 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Dec. 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2007 VD184
Dec. 9
7.8 LD
95 m
3200 Phaethon
Dec. 10
47 LD
5 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 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...
©2007, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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