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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 331.8 km/sec
density: 1.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2329 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A8
1830 UT Aug19
24-hr: B1
1015 UT Aug19
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 19 Aug 10
Sunspots 1098 and 1100 are fading away, leaving the Earth-facing side of the sun almost blank.
Resolutions: 4096, 1024, 512
Sunspot number: 23
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 18 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 18 Aug 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 81 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 18 Aug2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.0 nT
Bz: 0.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2330 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on or about Aug. 24th. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Aug 19 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 Aug 19 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
August 19, 2010

AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE


EARTH AND MOON FROM AFAR: En route to Mercury, NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft has been searching for vulcanoids, a long-sought population of sun-grazing asteroids. One of the search photos, just released, shows the Earth and Moon from a distance of 114 million miles. Click here for a thought-provoking view.

KAPPA CYGNID FIREBALLS: Earth is passing through an ancient stream of comet debris, and this is producing the annual kappa Cygnid meteor shower. Last night, Sietse Dijkstra photographed a kappa Cygnid fireball shining through clouds over Almelo, The Netherlands:

"This beautiful fireball of Venus brightness flew out of the constellation Cygnus at 20:47 UT," says Dijkstra. "It's a pity about the clouds--but through clouds is often the only way we get to see meteors in Holland."

Kappa Cygnid meteoroids are thought to be debris from the breakup of a giant comet some 6000 years ago. Today, all that's left is a broad stream of dust and gravel and an asteroid-like fragment named "2008 ED69." Fortunately, only the dust and gravel intersect the orbit of Earth; 2008 ED69 poses no threat of impact.

The kappa Cygnids peak on August 18th-19th with 3 to 4 meteors per hour. That's not a large number, but kappa Cygnids tend to be fireballs, so even one is enough for a good show. Tonight, be alert for lights behind the clouds!

more fireballs: from Peter van Leuteren of Borne, The Netherlands; from Martin Popek of Nýdek, Czech republic

FARSIDE ERUPTION: On August 18th around 0500 UT, something exploded on the far side of the sun. NASA's STEREO-A spacecraft had a direct view of the blast, which produced a C4-class solar flare and hurled a bright coronal mass ejection (CME) over the sun's western limb:

Click to view a 0.7 MB movie of the CME

Based on STEREO-A imagery, the source of the eruption appears to be farside sunspot complex 1093-1099. Magnetic fields connecting the two sunspot groups became unstable and--bang! The blast was not directed toward Earth, so no geomagnetic storms are in the offing.

more images: from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in Earth orbit

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 19, 2010 there were 1144 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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