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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 564.0 km/sec
density: 2.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2225 UT Jun20
24-hr: A0
2225 UT Jun20
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 20 Jun 08
Sunspot 999 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

more images: from Larry Alvarez of Flower Mound, Texas; from Maxim Usatov of Prague, Czech Republic
Sunspot number: 11
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 19 June 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals one small spot on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.6 nT
Bz: 2.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: Hinode X-ray Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Jun 20 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 Jun 20 2203 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 20, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of June 14th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

SUMMER SOLSTICE: Northern summer and southern winter begin today, June 20th, at precisely 23:59 UT (7:59 pm EDT) when the sun ascends to its highest latitude on the celestial sphere: +23.5o. In the Northern Hemisphere, we have the longest day and shortest night of the year, and the reverse in the Southern Hemisphere. The seasons are changing--Happy Solstice!

INTENSE NLCs: Summer is the season for noctilucent clouds and this morning, right on cue, a wave of bright NLCs rolled over the British Isles. "The display appeared quite suddenly ... probably the brightest I've ever seen," reports Paul Evans of Larne, Northern Ireland. Nearby Maghaberry resident John C McConnell snapped this picture of the clouds at daybreak:

"The clouds were so bright, they would have been spotted by members of the public with even a casual glance," adds Martin McKenna who watched the show from Maghera, Northern Ireland. "Glowing tendrils seemed to change size and shape by the minute with subtle colours such as electric blue, orange, and even green. I couldn't take my eyes away from it."

As regular readers know, these glow-in-the-dark clouds are a 100+ year old mystery under investigation by NASA's AIM spacecraft. Once confined to arctic latitudes, noctilucent clouds have been spreading with recent sightings in the USA as far south as Utah, Colorado and possibly even Virginia. Check the photo gallery for observing tips and be alert for noctilucent clouds!

2008 Noctilucent Cloud Gallery
["Noctilucent Clouds"--the song] [NLC Basics]

SNOW WHITE: Phoenix is digging a new trench on Mars and mission scientists have named it "Snow White." Slip on your 3D glasses and check out the progress so far:

Belgian graphic artist Patrick Vantuyne created the anaglyph using right- and left-eye images captured by Phoenix's stereo camera. Stare a while for full effect; you may feel as if you're about to fall in. Don't worry, the trench is only about 1 inch deep.

It's about to get deeper. In the days ahead, Phoenix will excavate more topsoil in search of a mysterious white material first seen in a nearby test trench. Mission scientists would like to gather an abundance of the mystery substance for analysis by Phoenix's onboard mass spectrometer. Then they may discover whether it is ice, salt, or something entirely new.

UPDATE--IT'S ICE! The white material referenced above is ice. Mission scientists identified it by the simple method of watching it disappear. Exposed to four days of martian sunlight by the digging action of Phoenix's arm, the solid white material sublimated (turned to gas) and floated away in plain view of the lander's cameras: animation.

May 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-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. [comment]
On June 20, 2008 , there were 959 potentially hazardous asteroids.
June-July 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 KO
June 1
4.4 LD
60 m
2008 KT
June 3
3.3 LD
9 m
2008 LB
June 9
3.3 LD
26 m
2008 LG2
June 13
9.2 LD
36 m
2008 LC
June 17
9.8 LD
55 m
2008 KN11
June 22
9.0 LD
110 m
2000 AD205
June 26
54 LD
800 m
1999 VU
June 29
65 LD
1.6 km
2008 BT18
July 14
5.9 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 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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