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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 321.0 km/sec
density: 4.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B8
2210 UT Feb10
24-hr: C2
1515 UT Feb10
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 10 Feb. 10
Sunspot 1045 is fading, but it still has a "beta-gamma-delta" magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 63
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 09 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 09 Feb 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 91 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 09 Feb 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.5 nT
Bz: 5 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 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 10 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
20 %
05 %
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 10 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
35 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
40 %
10 %
15 %
01 %
05 %
What's up in Space
February 10, 2010

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


SDO LAUNCH DELAYED: The cheers of the crowd were cut short today when the liftoff of Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) was scrubbed only one second into the final countdown. The cause was high winds. NASA plans to try again tomorrow (Feb. 11th at 10:22 am EST) to launch a mission that is expected to upend our understanding of the sun and space weather. [launch blog]

GEOMAGNETIC STORM WARNING: Over the past few days, active sunspot 1045 has hurled a series of minor 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: Harald Krefting of Skibottselva, Norway (Feb. 9. 2010)

High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for Northern Lights on Feb. 10th and 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 48 hours.

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

SUNSPOT, SUBSIDING? Behemoth sunspot 1045 is beginning to fade, but it still has a tangled "delta-class" magnetic field that harbors energy for strong eruptions. Indeed, when amateur astronomer Paul Haese looked at it on Feb. 9th, he found it seething with hot plasma and magnetic filaments. This negative-image blink comparison highlights the action:

"This is an awesome sunspot with plenty of activity," says Haese, who took the original black and white photo using a Coronado SolarMax60. The magnetic loops and arcs he recorded are unstable and could erupt at any time. NOAA forecasters estimate a 50% chance of M-class solar flares in the next 24 hours.

more images: from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from James Kevin Ty of Manila, the Philippines; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from Roman Vanur of Nitra, Slovakia; from Stephen Ramsden of Atlanta, GA; from Bill Bradley of West Hempstead, New York; from Stephen Yeathermon of Santa Fe, Texas; from D. Tocher, M. Jennings, J. Stetson of South Portland, Maine; from Ehsan Rostamizadeh of Kerman, Iran; from John C McConnell of Maghaberry Northern Ireland; from Monty Leventhal OAM of Sydney Australia

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 10, 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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