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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 398.4 km/sec
density: 0.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2220 UT Sep18
24-hr: B4
0850 UT Sep18
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 18 Sept 10
Sunspot 1108 is crackling with B- and C-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI. Resolutions: 4096, 1024, 512
Sunspot number: 41
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 17 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 17 Sep 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 82 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 17 Sep 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.1 nT
Bz: 1.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 18 Sept 10
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Sept. 21st or 22nd. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Sep 18 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
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 18 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Saturday, Sep. 18, 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


CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH JUPITER: Been outside at midnight lately? There's something you really need to see. Jupiter is approaching Earth for the closest encounter between the two planets in more than a decade--and it is dazzling. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

BIG SUNSPOT: One of the biggest sunspots of new Solar Cycle 24 is rotating around the sun's southeastern limb. Presenting ... active region 1108:

Rogerio Marcon took the picture yesterday from his backyard observatory in Campinas, Brasil. Although the sunspot is big---the primary core is twice as wide as Earth--it has not yet produced any significant eruptions, only a smattering of B-flares and one C-class event. The quiet may be temporary. The sunspot's magnetic field harbors energy for major activity. NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of an M-flare during the next 24 hours.

more images: from John Stetson of Portland, Maine; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from John Nassr of Baguio, Philippines; from Jo Dahlmans of Ulestraten the Netherlands; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from Robert Arnold of Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Peter Desypris of Syros Greece; from James Kevin Ty of Manila , Philippines

JUPITER AND URANUS: Jupiter is at opposition on Sept. 21st, meaning the giant planet will be directly opposite the sun, soaring overhead at midnight with dazzling brilliance. In a coincidence of interplanetary proportions, Uranus is at opposition on the very same night! Fredrik Broms of Kvaløya, Norway caught the two converging during a geomagnetic storm on Sept. 15th:

"It's amazing to be able to observe two giant planets next to each other--and never have I seen such a pair against a completely green background!" says Broms.

While Jupiter is outshining everything in the midnight sky (except the Moon), Uranus is barely visible to the naked eye. It's a difference of scale: Uranus is almost three times smaller than Jupiter and five times farther away. Nevertheless, Uranus is still a pretty sight. A telescope pointed at Jupiter on Sept. 21st will reveal the aqua-colored disk of Uranus less than a degree away. And if the sky turns green at the same time, well, that's just a bonus.

more images: from Jean-Paul Godard at Pic du Midi Observatory, France; from Tamas Ladanyi in the Bakony mountains of Hungary; from Peter Rosén of Stockholm, Sweden

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 18, 2010 there were 1145 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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