You are viewing the page for Jun. 18, 2011
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 399.0 km/sec
density: 4.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B4
2222 UT Jun18
24-hr: B8
0100 UT Jun18
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 18 Jun 11
New sunspot 1237 does not pose a threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 65
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 17 Jun 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 1 day (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 17 Jun 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 104 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 17 Jun 2011

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: 4.9 nT
Bz: 1.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 18 Jun 11
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on June 22nd or 23rd. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Jun 18 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
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: 2011 Jun 18 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
20 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
25 %
01 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
Saturday, Jun. 18, 2011
What's up in space

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

Metallic pictures of the Sun

HOT FATHER'S DAY GIFT: The solar super-explosion of June 7, 2011, has been turned into a unique metallic wall hanging guaranteed to please the Dad who has everything. Take a look.

HOW'S THE WEATHER? "Lately, the Sun has been behaving a bit strangely," declare Lika Guhathakurtha (NASA) and Dan Baker (U. Colorado) on the opinions page of yesterday's New York Times. In 2008-2009, solar activity plunged to a hundred-year low; and now that the sun is waking up again, no one is able to predict what will happen next. "Will solar activity continue to be sluggish, or will solar storms return with pent-up vigor?" they ask. Good question! Read the full editorial here.

LIGHT BRIDGE: The primary core of sunspot 1236 is divided by a brilliant canyon of light--also known as a "light bridge"--measuring some 20,000 km from end to end. Amateur astronomer Howard Eskildsen photographed the phenomenon from his backyard observatory in Ocala, Florida. Follow the arrow:

"I used a violet Calcium-K filter, which highlights the bright magnetic froth around the sunspot group as well as the light bridge cutting the main 'spot in two," explains Eskildsen. "Seeing was excellent."

The nature of light bridges is not fully understood. They often herald the break-up of a sunspot. Some research suggests that magnetic fields at the base of a light bridge are busy cross-crossing and reconnecting--the same explosive process that sparks solar flares. Does this mean the primary core of sunspot 1236 will explode? Or quietly fall apart? No one can say. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor developments.

LUNAR ECLIPSE: On Wednesday night, June 15th, sky watchers in Africa, Asia, South America, Australia, Antarctica and Europe witnessed the longest lunar eclipse in nearly 11 years. Only North America was excluded as Earth's shadow engulfed the full Moon for a whopping 100 minutes. At maximum eclipse, the lunar surface turned a beautiful shade of red:

Riccardo 'Rikyunreal' Rossi sends the picture from La Veggia, Italy. "It was such a long and beautiful eclipse," he says.

Why does the Moon turn red during an eclipse? To understand why, take an imaginary trip to the Moon. There you are, standing on moondust, looking back at your home planet. The eclipse is underway: Earth is blocking the sun and the nightside of Earth is facing the Moon. You might expect Earth to be utterly dark, but it's not. The rim of the planet is on fire! As you scan your eye around Earth's circumference, you're seeing every sunrise and every sunset in the world, all of them, all at once. This incredible light beams into the heart of Earth's shadow, filling it with a coppery glow and transforming the Moon into a great red orb.

Browse the gallery for more ruddy moondust.

UPDATED: June 15th Lunar Eclipse Gallery

June 2011 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora alerts: text, voice] [previous Junes: 2010, 2008, 2001]

Midnight Solar Eclipse Gallery
[NASA: A Rare Eclipse of the Midnight Sun]

  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, 2011 there were 1224 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2001 VH75
Jun 12
42.2 LD
1.1 km
2011 LT17
Jun 15
4.6 LD
180 m
2004 LO2
Jun 15
9.9 LD
48 m
2011 GA55
Jul 6
64.1 LD
1.0 km
2011 EZ78
Jul 10
37.3 LD
1.6 km
2003 YS117
Jul 14
73.9 LD
1.0 km
2007 DD
Jul 23
9.3 LD
31 m
2009 AV
Aug 22
49.7 LD
1.1 km
2003 QC10
Sep 18
50 LD
1.2 km
2004 SV55
Sep 19
67.5 LD
1.2 km
2007 TD
Sep 23
3.8 LD
58 m
2002 AG29
Oct 9
77.1 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 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
  the underlying science of space weather
Science Central
Conquest Graphics
  for out-of-this-world printing and graphics
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
©2010 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
©2019 All rights reserved.