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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 550.1 km/sec
density: 1.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Aug12
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Aug12
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 12 Aug 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 09 Aug. 2008
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= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.4 nT
Bz: 0.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 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 Aug 12 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 Aug 12 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 %
03 %
03 %
What's up in Space
August 12, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of July 12th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

TIGER STRIPES: Yesterday, NASA's Cassini spacecraft made a close flyby of Enceladus and took the best-ever photos of the Saturnian moon's tiger stripes. NASA reports that Cassini has begun transmitting the data back to Earth where researchers are waiting with great anticipation. Stay tuned.

PERSEID UPDATE: The Perseid meteor shower is still active. International Meteor Organization observers are reporting 60+ meteors per hour (update) from sites with clear, dark skies. Emphasis on dark. Many Perseids are faint and cannot be seen from cities.

"This morning, Aug. 12th, we had nice, solid activity here in Europe," says Nejc Ucman, who sends this picture from Ravni Log, Slovenia:

If it's dark where you live, continue to monitor the sky for Perseids. The shower is not over yet.

2008 Perseid Meteor Gallery
[Previous Perseids: 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2001 ]

MAMMATUS CLOUDS: It is a curious fact of Nature that the underbelly of an exhausted thunderstorm resembles the underbelly of a cow. These are called mammatus clouds:

Andy Jarosz took the picture just hours ago in rain-soaked St Albans, UK. It was once thought that this type of cloud signaled the approach of bad weather, but new research shows the opposite is true. Mammatus clouds are most often seen when storms are breaking up. Indeed, "these appeared at the end of a very stormy day," he says.

What exactly causes mammatus clouds? It's a big undulating mystery. For details, see "The Mysteries of Mammatus Clouds," D. M. Schultz et al, Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Volume 63, Issue 10 (October 2006).

August 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Previous Augusts: '07, 06, 05, 04, 03, 02]

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 August 12, 2008 , there were 972 potentially hazardous asteroids.
August 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
54509 YORP
Aug. 1
67 LD
130 m
2008 PK9
Aug. 11
11 LD
50 m
2008 ON10
Aug. 11
12 LD
50 m
2001 RT17
Aug. 14
69 LD
1.2 km
1991 VH
Aug. 15
18 LD
1.8 km
2008 MZ
Aug. 31
60 LD
1.1 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...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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