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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 497.6 km/sec
density: 1.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A2
1710 UT Jul15
24-hr: B2
1135 UT Jul15
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 15 July 07
New sunspot 964 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 41
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 14 July 2007
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the farside of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Updated: 2007 Jul 15 2108 UT
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.6 nT
Bz: 1.4 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 July 19th. Credit: SOHO Extreme Ultraviolet Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2007 Jul 15 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 15 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
July 15, 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.

COMET LINEAR VZ13: This weekend, fuzzy green comet Linear VZ13 is making its closest approach to Earth. 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]

AURORA AUSTRALIS: Last night, a solar wind stream hit Earth and sparked bright green auroras over Antarctica. "We waited almost a month for some auroral activity--and finally!" says Chantal Steyn who sends this picture from Dronning Maudland (Queen Maud Land):

Photo details: Sony DSC-P93, 400 ISO, 30s exposure

Steyn is a member of the South African National Antarctic Expedition, currently "wintering over" at a nunatak named Vesleskarvet. "The temperature was -38o Celsius when I took these pictures," she says.

At its peak, the disturbance that produced these lights registered 6 on the 0-to-9 K-index scale of geomagnetic storms. The storm is subsiding now, and the chances for more auroras tonight are low.

SUNSPOT SUNSET: "Look under the crane," says astronomer Domenico Licchelli of the Osservatorio del Fiorini in Lecce, Italy. The dark smudge is sunspot 963:

Photo details: Apo Pentax 75 SDHF, Astrosolar filter, Canon 350D, 1sec, 100 ASA

He took the picture yesterday evening using a 3-inch telescope, a Canon 350D digital camera and a Baader Astrosolar filter. The sunspot is about as wide as the planet Neptune, which makes it an easy target for solar telescopes. When the sun is high in the sky and not so blurred by atmospheric turbulence, the 'spot is a real beauty. See below.

more images: from Eric Roel of Valle de Bravo, México; from Pavol Rapavy of Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia; from Franck Charlier of Marines, Val d'Oise - France; from Rogerio Marcon of Campinas, Brazil; from Gianluca Valentini of Rimini, Italy;

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 15, 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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