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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 363.9 km/sec
density: 1.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A1
2140 UT Dec10
24-hr: A1
2140 UT Dec10
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 10 Dec 08
A new sunspot is emerging in the sun's southern hemisphere. The spot's high latitude and magnetic polarity identify it as a member of Solar Cycle 24. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 11
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 10 Dec. 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals a possible sunspot group on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.8 nT
Bz: 2.2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1546 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on Dec. 11th or 12th. However, because of the high northern latitude of the hole, the stream could miss Earth, sailing over the north pole of our planet. Credit: Hinode X-ray Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Dec 10 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: 2008 Dec 10 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
December 10, 2008
NORTHERN LIGHTS: Did you sleep through the auroras of November? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.  

BIG FULL MOON: This Friday's full Moon is the biggest full Moon of the year. It is a "perigee Moon," as much as 14% bigger and 30% brighter than lesser full Moons we've seen earlier in 2008. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

SOLAR ACTIVE REGIONS: NASA's STEREO-A spacecraft is monitoring two new-cycle active regions in the sun's southern hemisphere. Circle denote their locations in this ultra-violet image taken just a few hours ago:

The hot spot on the left is emerging sunspot 1009. The one on the right, however, has no sunspot number; it is invisible from Earth. STEREO-A can see it because the spacecraft is stationed above the sun's western limb with a view over the horizon. Counting "over the horizon" sunspots is an ability unique to the STEREO mission.

The high southern latitude of these active regions identifies them as members of new Solar Cycle 24. New-cycle sunspot counts have been growing since October 2008, leading some forecasters to declare that solar minimum is behind us: full story.

NORTHERN LIGHTS: The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the luster of midday to objects below.... The night before Christmas? No. Dec. 7th in Finland:

Sauli Koski of Kittila, Finland, took the picture two nights ago when "great moonlight" joined forces with green auroras to produce an Arctic luster of such beauty that Koski nearly forgot "it was -33 degrees outside!" Fortunately, his Nikon D700 did not freeze during the 8-second exposure.

The scene could repeat on Dec. 11th or 12th when a solar wind stream blows past Earth under the light of the biggest and brightest full Moon of 2008. High-latitude sky watchers, be alert for auroras.

Great Conjunction Photo Gallery

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 10, 2008 there were 1010 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Dec. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 WY94
Dec. 5
3.2 LD
35 m
2008 WG14
Dec. 5
4.8 LD
49 m
2008 XK
Dec. 6
1.7 LD
15 m
2008 XC1
Dec. 12
4.3 LD
102 m
2008 XB2
Dec. 13
5.8 LD
47 m
2006 VB14
Dec. 14
36 LD
795 m
2008 EV5
Dec. 23
8.4 LD
435 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
  a one-stop hub for all things scientific
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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