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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 553.5 km/sec
density: 4.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A8
2220 UT Jul14
24-hr: A8
2220 UT Jul14
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 14 July 07
New sunspot 964 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 38
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 10 July 2007
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals one small sunspot on the farside of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 6 moderate
24-hr max: Kp= 6
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Updated: 2007 Jul 14 2127 UT
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.1 nT
Bz: 5.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated:Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on July 14th or 15th. Credit: SOHO Extreme Ultraviolet Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2007 Jul 14 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: 2007 Jul 14 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
July 14, 2007
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.

SOLAR WIND: A solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetosphere and causing mild geomagnetic storms. High latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

COMET LINEAR VZ13: Fuzzy green comet Linear VZ13 makes its closest approach to Earth tonight. Distance: 86 million km. Shining like an 8th magnitude star, the comet is too dim for unaided eyes, but it is an easy target for backyard telescopes of all sizes. Find it after sunset not far from the handle of the Big Dipper: sky map. [3D orbit] [ephemeris]

Last night, July 13th, Comet Linear VZ13 passed by a pair of galaxies. First came NGC5866 (M102), photographed by Paolo Candy at the Cimini Astronomical Observatory in Soriano, Italy:

Eight hours later, the comet encountered NGC5907, also known as the splinter galaxy. "What a nice bonus," says David Lee of Victoria, British Columbia, who was surprised to find the galaxy in his photo of the comet.

more images: from Alex Conu of Pauleasca, Romania; from Doug Zubenel of Linn Co., Kansas; from Paolo Candy of Soriano, Italy; from Paolo Laquale of Foresta Mercadante Cassano Murge (BA). Italy; from Marian Urbanik of Rakova, Slovak Republic; from Ernesto Guido and Giovanni Sostero of the Remanzacco Observatory in Italy;

LOW RAINBOW: "I've never seen a rainbow like this before," reports Ben Dickmann of Cedar Grove, Wisconsin. "An afternoon thunderstorm had just passed through on July 5th" when this giant rainbow-colored fringe rose out of Lake Michigan:

"In the photo, the sun is high and behind my back," adds Dickmann. And that is the key--a high sun.

Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains: "The top of this rainbow is almost level with the horizon because the sun was high in the sky. Rainbows are always centered on the point directly opposite the sun. As the sun sets the top of the rainbow rises."

A special altitude, he says, is 42o. That's the height of the sun for which a rainbow's top is perfectly level with the horizon. The sun behind Dickmann's back had just sank below 42o degrees, causing the rainbow to pop up out of the waves.

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 14, 2007 there were 874 potentially hazardous asteroids.
July 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2007 FV42
July 2
53 LD
1.2 km
2007 MB4
July 4
7.6 LD
130 m
2007 DT103
July 29
9.3 LD
550 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 Environment 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...
©2007, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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