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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 374.1 km/sec
density: 1.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2130 UT Sep14
24-hr: B1
2130 UT Sep14
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 14 Sept 10
There is a slight chance for C-class solar flares from sunspot 1106. Credit: SDO/HMI. Resolutions: 4096, 1024, 512

more images: from Rogerio Marcon of Campinas SP Brasil
Sunspot number: 17
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 Sep 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 41 days (16%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 809 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 13 Sep 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 80 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 13 Sep 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.2 nT
Bz: 3.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 14 Sept 10
A coronal hole is emerging over the sun's eastern limb. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Sep 14 2301 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: 2010 Sep 14 2301 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
20 %
10 %
15 %
01 %
10 %
Tuesday, Sep. 14, 2010
What's up in space

iPHONE VS ANDROID! Actually, it doesn't matter which phone you carry. Our cool, new app turns both smartphones into field-tested satellite trackers. Learn more.


THIS PLANET SMELLS FUNNY: An alien world in the constellation Leo is breaking the rules of giant-planet chemistry, prompting researchers to re-think the make-up of exoplanet atmospheres. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

SPACE STATION RADAR ECHO: The US Air Force Space Surveillance Radar in Kickapoo, Texas, is constantly scanning the heavens for objects orbiting or passing by Earth. Yesterday, it caught a whopper. At 21:13 CDT on Sept. 13th, the International Space Station passed through the radar beam, producing a powerful echo. Click on the image to listen:

The sound you just heard came from the loudspeaker of a receiver in Roswell, New Mexico, where radio engineer Stan Nelson recorded event. "The ISS was passing over Lubbock, Texas--midway between me and the Air Force radar," says Nelson. "It was the perfect geometry for catching the echo."

As the ISS raced through the radar beam, its velocity vector rotated with respect to the transmitter below. That's why the echo sounds like the frequency-shifting whistle of a passing train. It's the Doppler effect, working in space the same way it does on Earth.

The space station will be making more passes through the radar beam in the days ahead: Sep. 15 @ 20:31:37 CDT; Sep. 17 @ 11:48:29 CDT; Sep. 19 @ 11:06:38 CDT. Tune in to SpaceWeather Radio for live echoes.

AURORA WATCH: There's a reason they call Alaska "aurora country." Last night near Fairbanks, for no particular reason, the sky turned green:

"It was a nice quiet display that lasted more than an hour," reports photographer Lance Parrish of Skiland. "I had plenty of time to record the show using my Nikon D3. A 10 second exposure at 1600 ISO worked very nicely."

Alaskans and other Northerners should take note of those settings, because tonight there is a reason for auroras. The sun's magnetic field is tipping south, opening a crack in Earth's magnetosphere. Solar wind pouring in could fuel a renewed display.

Sept. 2010 Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Septembers: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2001, 2000]

  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 September 14, 2010 there were 1144 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 RF12
Sep 8
0.2 LD
9 m
2010 RJ53
Sep 9
8 LD
69 m
2010 RS80
Sep 9
2.2 LD
23 m
2010 RM82
Sep 10
2.2 LD
31 m
2009 SH2
Sep 30
7.1 LD
45 m
1998 UO1
Oct 1
32.1 LD
2.1 km
2005 GE59
Oct 1
77 LD
1.1 km
2001 WN5
Oct 10
41.8 LD
1.0 km
1999 VO6
Oct 14
34.3 LD
1.8 km
1998 TU3
Oct 17
69.1 LD
5.3 km
1998 MQ
Oct 23
77.7 LD
1.9 km
2007 RU17
Oct 29
40.6 LD
1.0 km
2003 UV11
Oct 30
5 LD
595 m
3838 Epona
Nov 7
76.8 LD
3.4 km
2005 QY151
Nov 16
77.7 LD
1.3 km
2008 KT
Nov 23
5.6 LD
10 m
2002 EZ16
Nov 30
73.9 LD
1.0 km
2000 JH5
Dec 7
47 LD
1.5 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 web 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 Dynamics Observatory
  Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
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
Science Central
  more links...
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