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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 586.4 km/sec
density: 1.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1700 UT Jul15
24-hr: A0
0945 UT Jul15
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 15 Jul 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 14 July 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= 2 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: 3.7 nT
Bz: 0.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 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: 2008 Jul 15 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
20 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
July 15, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of July 12th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

ASTEROID MOVIE: Binary asteroid 2008 BT18 flew past Earth on July 14th only 1.4 million miles away. Amateur astronomer John Drummond recorded its passage using a 16-inch telescope in Gisborne, New Zealand. "The asteroid was 14th magnitude and traveling at 1.2 degrees an hour," he says. Click here to view the movie.

NOCTILUCENT SURPRISE: Noctilucent clouds (NLCs) are supposed to be a high-latitude phenomenon, most often seen in Canada, Russia and northern Europe. So imagine the surprise of veteran astrophotographer Tunç Tezel on July 13th when he saw noctilucent tendrils peeking above the horizon of Turkey:

"This view of noctilucent clouds may be one of the farthest ever from the poles," says Tezel. "I went to mile-high Tasliyayla Plateau, 40 km south of Bolu for dark skies. Noctilucent clouds lit up as soon as the morning twilight started. It was amazing! For the record, my location was 40o 31' N, 31o 37' E."

This sighting highlights a mystery of noctilucent clouds: Why are they spreading south? Noctilucent clouds first appeared in the late 19th century, and in those days they were confined to latitudes above 50o N (usually far above). In recent years, however, the clouds have been spotted in Oregon, Colorado, Utah, possibly Kansas and Virginia, and now Turkey. These sightings are a call to sky watchers at all latitudes: Be alert for NLCs! Observing tips may be found in the photo gallery:

2008 Noctilucent Cloud Gallery
[Strange Clouds] [Sky Cameras]

SEEING KIBO: Last month, space shuttle Discovery delivered Japan's Kibo science laboratory to the International Space Station (ISS). Two spacewalks and a lot of help by the station's robotic arm were required to attach the bus-sized laboratory. Kibo is the largest of all ISS modules--large enough, in fact, to be seen in backyard telescopes on Earth.

"The newly-added Japanese Kibo lab is obvious to ground-based observers," says astrophotographer Ralf Vandebergh. "Witness these photos I took on July 13th."

Such was the view through Vandebergh's 10-inch telescope, which he manually guided as the ISS passed over his home in the Netherlands. "I saw Kibo again the next night, July 14th, when the ISS made two passes over my observatory," he says.

The flybys continue this week over Europe and North America. Ready to see Kibo? Check the Simple Satellite Tracker to find out when to look.

July 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-sky Cameras]

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, 2008 , there were 960 potentially hazardous asteroids.
July 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2003 YE45
July 13
16.5 LD
1.4 km
2008 BT18
July 14
5.9 LD
1.0 km
2003 LC5
July 15
62 LD
1.4 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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