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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 363.9 km/sec
density: 0.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B4
2225 UT Sep15
24-hr: B7
1715 UT Sep15
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 15 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: 24
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 14 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 14 Sep 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 81 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 14 Sep 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.2 nT
Bz: 0.9 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 14 Sept 10
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Sept. 20th. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Sep 15 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: 2010 Sep 15 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
Wednesday, Sep. 15, 2010
What's up in space

AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE


SPACE PLANE BUZZES ANDROMEDA: Last night in Flagstaff, Arizona, David Blanchard watched the US Air Force's X-37B space plane soar across the sky--and right past the Andromeda galaxy. "The X-37B was not as bright as the International Space Station (ISS), which also made an appearance, but our clear skies made it easy to see." Blanchard's images of the ISS, X-37B, and Andromeda may be found here. The X-37B will overfly many more US towns and cities in the nights ahead. You can find it using your cell phone.

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. This week 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.

EQUINOX AURORAS: Last night, the sun's magnetic field near Earth tipped south. This opened a crack in Earth's magnetosphere. Solar wind poured in and fueled a magnificent display of arctic Northern Lights:

Thilo Bubek took the picture not far from Tromsø, Norway. "We had some nice auroras," he says, with what can only be described as Norwegian understatement. "The clouds and calm sea contributed to a photogenic scene."

This is the time of year when south-pointing magnetic fields from the sun frequently puncture our bubble of protection against the solar wind. High latitude sky watchers should be alert for equinox auroras.

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 15, 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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