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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 317.0 km/sec
density: 2.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B3
2030 UT Feb09
24-hr: C2
0125 UT Feb09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Feb. 10
Sunspot 1045 has tangled beta-gamma-delta magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Watch a 4-day movie of this sunspot growing rapidly. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 71
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 Feb 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 2 days (5%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 772 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 08 Feb 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 94 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 08 Feb 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.3 nT
Bz: 3.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Feb. 14th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Feb 09 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
50 %
30 %
10 %
05 %
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 Feb 09 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
30 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
35 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
05 %
What's up in Space
February 9, 2010

SATELLITE FLYBYS APP: Turn your iPhone or iPod into a field-tested satellite tracker! presents the Satellite Flybys app.


OLD TEACHINGS, BEWARE: The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is set to launch from the Kennedy Space Center on Feb. 10th at 10:30 am EST. Researchers expect SDO to rewrite the textbooks on solar physics using a battery of advanced cameras, telescopes, and magnetic sensors--some of which can even peer beneath the sun's stormy surface. This is such a big event, the staff of has traveled 3000 miles to witness the launch. Stay tuned for first-hand reports.

GEOMAGNETIC STORM WATCH: Over the past few days, active sunspot 1045 has hurled a series of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) toward Earth. These are not the kind of major CMEs that will spark auroras over, say, Florida, but they could spark some very nice lights around the Arctic Circle. (continued below)

Image credit: Akhmetsafin Ruslan of Aykhal, Russia [details]

High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for Northern Lights on Feb. 9th through 11th when the CMEs are expected to arrive. NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance of some geomagnetic activity and as much as a 5% chance of a major geomagnetic storm over the next three days.

February Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Februarys: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]

WHERE IS THE SHUTTLE? Space shuttle Endeavour is in Earth orbit following one of the most spectacular launches in the program's 30-year history. Thousands of onlookers on the NASA Causeway clapped, gasped, shouted and cheered as the shuttle climbed brilliantly into the pre-dawn sky at 4:14 am EST on Monday, Feb. 8th. Photographer Gary Trapuzzano snapped this picture of Endeavour hurtling into a layer of clouds over the Kennedy Space Center:

Photo details: Canon 50D, William Optics 66mm Triplet APO telescope

A split-second later, the shuttle emerged. "Watching this spectacular event through the camera is something I will never forget," says Trapuzzano.

Endeavour is now completely outside Earth's atmosphere chasing the International Space Station (ISS). NASA says the two spacecraft will dock on Wednesday, Feb. 10th, at 12:09 a.m. EST and, after that, spacewalkers will begin the task of installing the station's new Tranquility node--a.k.a. "a room with a view."

The ISS and Endeavour make a great combo in the night sky. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker to see if you are favored with a flyby. Flybys are also available for the iPhone!

more launch photos: from Malcolm Park at the Kennedy Space Center Causeway, Florida; from Alberto Quijao Vodniza at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida; from Adam Bojanowski of South Titusville, Florida; from Brent of Orlando, Florida; from Frank J. Cernik of Schenectady, New York; from Mark Staples at the Kennedy Space Center, 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 February 9, 2010 there were 1094 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Jan. 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 AL2
Jan. 11
11.5 LD
23 m
24761 Ahau
Jan. 11
70.8 LD
1.4 km
2000 YH66
Jan. 12
69.5 LD
1.1 km
2010 AL30
Jan. 13
0.3 LD
18 m
2010 AG3
Jan. 19
8.9 LD
14 m
2010 AN61
Jan. 19
8.0 LD
17 m
2010 AF40
Jan. 21
2.3 LD
43 m
2010 BC
Jan. 24
7.6 LD
160 m
2010 BU2
Jan. 27
6.4 LD
52 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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