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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 707.4 km/sec
density: 1.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: no data
0000 UT 0
24-hr: no data
0000 UT 0
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: UT
Daily Sun: 11 Feb 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 11 Feb 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no large sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.1 nT
Bz: 0.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 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: 2008 Feb 11 2203 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 Feb 11 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
35 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
40 %
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %

What's up in Space
February 11, 2008
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.   mySKY

SOLAR ACTIVITY: "Wow - the edge of the Sun is alive with prominences today," reports Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK. "If you have a solar telescope and clear skies, take a look at the west and south-western limb. These features are changing by the minute so you never know what you might see."

more images: from Greg Piepol of Rockville, Maryland; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from Andreas Murner of Lake Chiemsee, Bavaria, Germany; from Michael Borman of Evansville, Indiana;

GREEN MOUNTAINS: A solar wind stream hit Earth on Sunday, Feb. 10th, sparking auroras over Alaska so bright "they lit up the mountains with an emerald green color," reports Dave Taylor from the Matanuska Glacier:

"It was an amazing show," he says, and it's not over. The solar wind is still blowing, faster than 600 km/s (1.3 million mph), and causing high-latitude geomagnetic storms. Sky watchers around the arctic circle be alert for more auroras tonight.

Astronauts should be alert, too. The combined crew of space shuttle Atlantis and the International Space Station has an out-of-this-world view of the Northern Lights. Click on the links for astronaut photos of February auroras: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5.

February 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [ISS Aurora Camera: Nikon D2Xs]

SIGHTINGS: On Saturday, Feb. 8th, just as space shuttle Atlantis was preparing to dock to the International Space Station, the pair of spacecraft flew over Poland where Grzegorz Tuszyński was waiting with his 10-inch telescope to take this picture:

Hours later, Atlantis docked and delivered a new science laboratory to the ISS. The 23,000-lb Columbus module is being installed by spacewalking astronauts today: full story.

Ongoing contruction of the ISS is making the station bigger and more luminous than ever. It's easy to see with the unaided eye, especially when sunlight glinting from solar panels makes the station flare brighter than Venus. And, as shown above, it is a wonderful target for backyard telescopes. Sky watchers in Europe and North America, ready your optics for a series of favorable flybys in the evenings ahead: flyby alerts.

more images: from Frank Ryan Jr of Shannon, Ireland; from Martin Popek of Nýdek, Czech Republic; from Catalin Timosca of Turda, Romania; from Etienne Lecoq of Normandy, France; from Josef Huber of Munich Public Star Observatory, Germany; from Karel Dewaele and Jochen Debaenst of Stavele, West - Vlaanderen, Belgium; from Marco Langbroek of Leiden, the Netherlands; from Albert Engert of Reichenberg, BY, Germany; from Marc Rathmann of Rosslau, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany; from Martin Wagner of Sonnenbuehl - Genkingen, Germany; from Quentin Déhais of Normandy, France; from Francesco De Comite of Mouscron Belgium; from Roy Keeris of Zeist, The Netherlands; from Andy Taylor of Fleet, Hampshire, UK; from Klipsi 10 miles west of Geneva, Switzerland; from Robert Malmström of Reutlingen - Rommelsbach, Germany; from Martin Gembec of Jablonec n.N., Czech Republic; from Steve Holmes of Laxfield, Suffolk, UK;

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. [comment]
On February 11, 2008 there were 923 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Feb. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 CT1
Feb. 5
0.3 LD
13 m
2007 DA
Feb. 12
9.8 LD
140 m
4450 Pan
Feb. 19
15.9 LD
1.6 km
2002 TD66
Feb. 26
16.7 LD
440 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 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...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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