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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 529.2 km/sec
density: 1.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Jul16
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Jul16
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 16 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: 2.2 nT
Bz: 1.6 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 UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Jul 16 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 16 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
July 16, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of July 12th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

BRIGHT LIGHTS AT NIGHT: The two brightest objects in the night sky are having a get-together. Tonight, after sunset, look southeast for Jupiter and the Moon rising side-by-side in the constellation Sagittarius. They're so bright, no sky map is required to find them. (Bonus: The star near the edge of the Moon is blue Nunki.)

TRICKY SUNSET: Sometimes you just can't believe your own eyes. This is one of those times:

Contrary to appearances, the landscape is not on fire. "This is just a cloudy sunset over open countryside in France," says Patrice Arnaudet, who took the picture on July 13th using a Canon 350D digital camera. "There was no fire."

Blame the trickery on Rayleigh scattering. Tiny particles in the air, including air molecules themselves, scatter blue light more so than red. When the sun sets, so much blue is scattered, the remaining rays can become extremely reddened. In Arnaudet's photo, Rayleigh-scattered sunbeams are painting the clouds the color of wildfire.

"Wildfires" are only one of the sun's many tricks. Go outside at the end of the day and look west; can you believe your eyes?

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.

MOVIE: German amateur astronomer Dirk Ewers recorded a pass of the ISS over his hometown on July 14th. The movie shows "not only Kibo, but also the Columbus laboratory and the ESA's Jules Verne cargo spacecraft now docked to the ISS," he says. Click to play.

2008 Noctilucent Cloud Gallery
[Strange Clouds] [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 16, 2008 , there were 961 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
2008 NP3
July 17
6.8 LD
85 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 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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