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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 308.2 km/sec
density: 1.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
2050 UT Feb13
24-hr: C8
1240 UT Feb13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 13 Feb. 10
Sunspot 1046 poses a continued threat for M-class solar flares. . Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 38
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 12 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 12 Feb 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 96 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 12 Feb 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.9 nT
Bz: 1.4 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 Feb. 14th or 15th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Feb 13 2226 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
70 %
70 %
20 %
20 %
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 13 2226 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
40 %
01 %
30 %
01 %
10 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
45 %
05 %
35 %
01 %
10 %
What's up in Space
February 13, 2010

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


SUNSET TRIANGLE: When the sun sets on Valentine's Day, grab your binoculars and dash outside. Jupiter, Venus and an unbelievably slender crescent Moon are converging to form a triangle in the glow of sunset. Scan the western horizon for a beautiful view: sky map.

TURMOIL ON THE SUN: Sunspot 1046 continues to put on a good show. Yesterday it unleashed the brightest solar flare in more than two years (an M8-class eruption) and today it is seething with magnetic activity. Rogerio Marcon photographed the turmoil from his backyard observatory in Campinas, Brazil:

NOAA forecasters estimate a 70% chance of another M-flare from this region during the next 24 hours. The chief effect of impulsive M-flares is to ionize the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere. Waves of ionization can affect the propagation of terrestrial radio signals, suppressing some frequencies (shortwave) while boosting others (VLF). Radio listeners should be alert for disturbances.

more images: from Stefano Sello of Pisa, Italy; from Divyadarshan D. Purohit of Vadodara, Gujarat, India; from Terje Isberg of Biberstein, Switzerland; from Dennis Simmons of Brisbane, QLD, Australia; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland;

AURORA WATCH: High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on Feb. 14th and 15th. That's when a solar wind stream flowing from a coronal hole on the sun is expected to reach Earth. The scene on Valentine's Night could look like this:

Zoltan Kenwell took the picture on Feb. 11th from the banks of the Athabasca River in Alberta, Canada. "I used a Canon 5D2 set at ISO 1000 for 10 seconds," he says. "The auroras were very active."

NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% to 35% chance of minor geomagnetic storming during the late hours of Feb. 14th and 15th. The activity could descend to northern-tier US states such as Minnesota and Wisconsin. Alaska, Canada and Scandinavia are better bets, however. Browse the gallery for a preview:

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

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 13, 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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