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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 373.6 km/sec
density: 2.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B3
1815 UT Aug16
24-hr: C1
1640 UT Aug16
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 16 Aug 10
New sunspots are emerging at the circled locations.
Resolutions: 4096, 1024, 512
Sunspot number: 33
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 15 Aug 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 35 days (15%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 803 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 15 Aug 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 86 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 15 Aug2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.0 nT
Bz: 0.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Aug 16 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
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 Aug 16 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
30 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
August 16, 2010

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.


SPACECRAFT APPROACHES VENUS: A Japanese spacecraft named "Akatsuki" is approaching Venus on a mission that planetary scientists say could end up teaching us a great deal about our own planet Earth. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

BANG, BANG, BANG: It was a busy weekend on the sun. Explosions propelled three bright coronal mass ejections (CMEs) into space, shown here in a sequence of coronagraphs from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory:

None of the clouds is heading directly toward Earth. CME #1 could deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on Aug. 17th. NOAA forecasters estimate a 35% chance of high-latitude geomagnetic activity when the cloud arrives. CMEs #2 and #3, on the other hand, are expected to miss entirely.

CME #1 was the end result of a complex eruption involving two sunspot groups (1093 and 1099), a C4-class solar flare, and a lot of magnetic reconnection. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the event in detail. Must-see movies include a close-up and the big picture.

IONOSPHERIC DISTURBANCE: The C4-class solar flare of Aug. 14th bathed Earth's upper atmosphere in X-rays and caused a wave of ionization to sweep over Europe. This improved the propagation of low-frequency radio signals which use the ionosphere as a reflector to skip over the horizon. A SID monitor operated by Jan Karlovsky of Hlohovec, Slovakia, recorded the effect:

"SID" stands for Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance, and a "SID monitor" is a radio receiver that monitors ~20 kHz signals from distant transmitters. "My system easily detected the effects of the solar flare," says Karlovsky. "I monitor two stations: DHO38 in Germany (23.4 kHz) and GQD in Great Britian (22.1 kHz). The German signal was most strongly boosted."

With solar activity on the rise, sudden ionospheric disturbances will become more common. Interested? Stanford University tells you how to build your own SID monitor.

UPDATED: 2010 Perseid Photo Gallery
[meteor radar] [Perseid fireball cam]

August 2010 Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Augusts: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]


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 August 16, 2010 there were 1142 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2002 CY46
Sep 2
63.8 LD
2.4 km
2010 LY63
Sep 7
56 LD
1.2 km
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
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 space weather bureau
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.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.













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