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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 482.9 km/sec
density: 1.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A9
1755 UT Jun18
24-hr: B1
1200 UT Jun18
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 18 Jun 10
New sunspot 1082 poses no threat for strong solar flares. . Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 14
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 17 Jun 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 35 days (21%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 803 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 17 Jun 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 70 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 17 Jun 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.5 nT
Bz: 0.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jun 18 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 Jun 18 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
June 18, 2010

NEW AND IMPROVED: Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a field-tested global satellite tracker. The Satellite Flybys app now works in all countries.


STRANGE MARTIAN SPIRALS EXPLAINED: For 40 years researchers have puzzled over a strange pattern of ice spirals and chasms around the Martian north pole. New data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter solves the mystery. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

"SMALL" EXPLOSIONS: Tiny new sunspot 1082 is crackling with small solar flares. This one is "only" about as powerful as ten million atomic bombs:

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the B4-category flare on June 17th. Each seemingly miniscule flash of light in the movie is a continent-sized blast dwarfing any explosion ever produced on Earth by many factors of ten.

Believe it or not, solar physicists do consider this small. On the Richter scale of solar flares, B-flares are near the bottom, producing little or no effect on Earth. The really fearsome explosions are X-flares, more than a thousand times stronger than anything sunspot 1081 is likely to produce. X-flares will become more common as Solar Max approaches in 2013. Until then, relax. It's "only" a B-flare.

ELECTRIC BLUE CLOUDS: Observers in Europe are reporting brightening displays of noctilucent clouds (NLCs). "On June 16th, a stunning display appeared in the skies over Northern Ireland," reports Martin McKenna. "Here they are glowing over the famous 'Toome Bridge' in County Antrim."

"The clouds stretched more than 160 degrees across the sky with wonderful electric blue colours," he adds. "Well-formed bands and whirls could be seen moving in real time."

Summer is the season for NLCs, and sightings should increase in frequency as the season unfolds in the weeks ahead. The solar cycle also favors a good show: There is a well-known correlation between noctilucent clouds and sunspots. NLC activity tends to peak during years of solar minimum, possibly because low solar activity allows the upper atmosphere to cool, promoting the growth of ice crystals that make up the clouds. With the sun slowly emerging from a century-class minimum, the stage is set for a good season of NLC watching.

more images: from John C McConnell of Maghaberry, Northern Ireland; from Michael Alexander of Galloway Astronomy Centre, Glasserton, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland; from Peter McCabe of Dundalk, Co.Louth, Ireland; from Conor McDonald of Maghera, Ireland; from Pete Glastonbury of Avebury, Wiltshire, UK; from Stuart Atkinson of Kendal, Cumbria, UK; from George of Moscow, Russia;

Observing tips: Look west 30 to 60 minutes after sunset when the Sun has dipped 6o to 16o below the horizon. If you see luminous blue-white tendrils spreading across the sky, you may have spotted a noctilucent cloud. High-northern latitudes are favored.

May 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Mays: 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002] [aurora alerts]

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 June 18, 2010 there were 1133 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 JR34
May 14
5.8 LD
12 m
2003 HR32
May 17
55.2 LD
1.0 km
2010 JN71
May 26
8.2 LD
245 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 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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