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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 427.3 km/sec
density: 3.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Aug14
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Aug14
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 14 Aug 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 14 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: 0.5 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Aug. 17th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Aug 14 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 14 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 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
August 14, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of July 12th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

LUNAR ECLIPSE: This Saturday, August 16th, people on every continent except North America can see a lunar eclipse. At maximum, around 2110 UT, 81% of the Moon will be inside the red core of Earth's shadow. It should be a good show. Browse the links for more information: visibility map, webcast, gallery, details.

PERSEID UPDATE: The Perseid meteor shower is coming to an end. Activity crested on August 13th with 130 meteors per hour, according to the International Meteor Organization: data. Now Earth is exiting the Perseid debris stream and rates are subsiding to levels near 20 per hour. Most of those 20, however, will be impossible to see due to the glare of the increasingly full Moon. The best thing to do now: browse the gallery.

Hunter Wilson of Lexington, Ohio, wasn't even trying to photograph the Perseids on Aug. 12th when one streaked through his telescopic exposure of the Heart and Soul nebulas:

"I was using an H-alpha filter [sensitive to hydrogen gas in the nebulas]," he explains. "This is a very restrictive filter, so the Perseid in question must have been a very bright meteor indeed."

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

SOLAR ACTIVITY: Some forms of solar activity are best seen now, during solar minimum. Click on the image to launch an example:

movies: 3 MB Quicktime, 33 MB Quicktime, 10 MB mpeg

You just saw a bunch of spicules, Texas-sized jets of gas shooting away from the sun at speeds of 50,000 mph. At any given moment there are about 100,000 active spicules on the sun. During solar maximum, many spicules are hidden from view by larger and more violent forms of solar activity, but now we see them quite clearly.

A hundred thousand scorching-hot Texas-sized jets is a quiet sun? That's about as quiet as it gets. NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft recorded these spicules jetting away from the solar north pole during a day and a half period spanning Aug. 2-3. More STEREO movies may be found here.

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 14, 2008 , there were 971 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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