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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 464.8 km/sec
density: 4.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Jul13
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Jul13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 12 July 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 11 July 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 1 days
2009 total: 143 days (75%)
Since 2004: 654 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 11 July 2009

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= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 9.6 nT
Bz: 9.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on July 13th or 14th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Jul 13 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: 2009 Jul 13 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
July 13, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you sleep through the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.


COLORADO FIREBALL: "A fireball of magnitude -10 (about 250 times brighter than Venus) lit up central Colorado at 2:28 a.m. MDT on July 13th," reports astronomer Chris Peterson of Guffey, Colorado. "It was very slow, lasting at least 5.5 seconds." Triangulating sightings from Colorado and New Mexico, he estimates that the meteoroid was "only 50 km high and traveling about 15 km/s. The fairly low altitude and low velocity mean this fireball might have produced meteorites." [more information]

NOCTILUCENT STORM: Last night, after a two week intermission, noctilucent clouds returned to Europe in force. "It was one of the best displays of the summer," reports Jan Koeman of Kloetinge, The Netherlands. "The beautiful rippling structure of the electric-blue clouds reminded me of the skin of a Great Blue Whale!" He took this picture using a Nikon D300:

Similar reports poured in from Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Scotland, Ireland, England and France. "They were so bright I could see them from one of the most light-polluted places one could imagine--the Brussels Ringway," says Philippe Mollet, who made a movie of the clouds gliding over the urban heart of Belgium.

2009 has been a good year for noctilucent clouds--and that's no surprise. Noctilucent clouds almost always surge during years of solar minimum such as 2009. No one fully understands the link, but here is a popular idea: Low solar activity allows the upper atmosphere to cool, promoting the formation of tiny ice crystals that make up noctilucent clouds. Browse the gallery for observing tips and more snapshots from July 12th and 13th:

UPDATED: 2009 Noctilucent Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]

CREPUSCULAR RAYS: On Saturday evening, July 11th, Alan Dyer was watching a nice purple volcanic sunset from Gleichen, Alberta, when two giant rays split the sky:

"These shadows diverging from the sunset point were likely created by distant storm clouds over the horizon to the west,"days Dyer. "It was one of the best displays of crepuscular rays I've ever seen."

"The image is a High Dynamic Range stack consisting of three exposures, each one 1-stop apart, to record both the darker ground (a field of yellow canola) and details in the brighter sky," he notes. "I used a Canon 5D MkII and a 16-35mm lens."

2009 Sarychev Sunset Gallery
[See also: 2008 Kasatochi Sunset Photo Gallery]

Explore the Sunspot Cycle

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 July 13, 2009 there were 1065 potentially hazardous asteroids.
July 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 MM8
July 13
11.4 LD
53 m
2008 NP3
July 18
11.8 LD
87 m
2006 TU7
July 20
14.2 LD
175 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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