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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 312.7 km/sec
density: 2.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Jul19
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Jul19
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 19 Jul 08
Tiny sunspot 1000 poses no threat for solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

images: from Robert Arnold of Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Pavol Rapavy of Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia: from Greg Piepol of Rockville, Md
Sunspot number: 11
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 18 July 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals a possible sunspot on the far side of the sun. Check back tomorrow for confirming data. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.9 nT
Bz: 0.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about July 22nd. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Jul 19 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 19 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
20 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
July 19, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of July 12th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

SPACE STATION FLYBYS: Sky watchers in Europe and North America are in for a treat. For the next few days, the International Space Station will be orbiting over the two continents, appearing brightly in the morning and evening sky. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker to find out when to look.

images: from Alan Dyer of Alberta, Canada; from Adrian New of San Antonio, Texas; from Jim Tegerdine of Marysville, Washington

RAINBOWS AT NIGHT: "Last night I went outside hoping to photograph some noctilucent clouds. Instead, I was treated to a very rare phenomenon--a rainbow at night," says Martin McKenna of Maghera, Northern Ireland. "It was visible to the naked eye with colors as obvious as any daytime 'bow."

click to view more images

Usually, rainbows appear when sunlight hits falling rain. There's no sunlight after dark, but in this case none was needed: "The full Moon was very bright and it illuminated a frontal system bringing in heavy showers, producing the best moonbows I've ever seen. They sported supernumeray arcs and even secondary bows. Taking pictures in the rain was difficult but I managed to get many images. A few passing cars obliged me with some nice trails."

more images: from Mike Sessions at Mauna Kea, Hawaii; from Jay Maxwell at Haleakala, Maui; from John C McConnell of Maghaberry Northern Ireland; from Conor McDonald of Co.Derry, Northern Ireland; from Michael McElhatton of Durham County, England

DIGGING MARS: (3D glasses required) NASA's Phoenix lander is hard at work digging in the icy soil of arctic Mars, and here is one of the trenches:

Spaceweather reader Stuart Atkinson of Kendal, England, created the anaglyph by combining left- and right-eye images from Phoenix's stereo camera. "I love this view," he says. "It shows so much detail: Phoenix's scoop hovering above the ground; the shadow of the camera mast on the scoop and the ground beneath it; the ragged edge of the trench, with small rocks and stones tumbling into it; scratches and scrapes on the trench floor made by the sharp edge of the scoop. It's just like being there."

At the moment, Phoenix is drilling into a layer of ice at the bottom of the trench using a motorized rasp located on the back of the scoop. The purpose is to create a pile of "shaved ice" that the scoop can pick up and dump into one of Phoenix's ovens for analysis. Mission scientists want to know if martian ice contains nutrients and minerals that might support microbial life. Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATED: 2008 NLC 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 19, 2008 , there were 962 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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