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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 442.5 km/sec
density: 2.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1535 UT Aug20
24-hr: A0
1440 UT Aug20
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 19 Aug 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 19 Aug. 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.4 nT
Bz: 1.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is exiting a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: Hinode X-Ray Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Aug 20 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: 2008 Aug 20 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 20, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of August 9th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

LIVING WITH A STAR: What if you woke up one morning and found your whole planet had been swallowed by the atmosphere of a star? Don't laugh, it could happen to you, and NASA has a special program to deal with it: full story.

SUNSET PLANETS: This week, two bright lights are beaming through the sunset. "Venus and Mercury looked great together this evening," reports Becky Ramotowski, who sends this twilight photo from Tijeras, New Mexico:

Tonight, August 20th, the two planets are at closest approach--only 1o apart. To see them, look low and due west immediately after sunset. Venus pops out of the twilight first, followed by Mercury a short while later. The view through binoculars is dynamite.

more images: from Troy Arkley of Wellington, New Zealand; from Ian Cooper of Glen Oroua, Manawatu, New Zealand.

THERE'S A MOON IN MY WATER! Last night in Esfahan, Iran, photographer Pouyan Shahidi glanced into his cup of water and found ... the Moon:

It's practically a non sequitur. Except for relatively small amounts of ice that might exist near the lunar poles, the Moon is bone dry. Floating in water is the last place you'd expect to find it.

"Water has always been precious in Iran," notes Shahidi. "Ancient Persians invented the underground aqueduct called Kariz or Qanat. By building aqueducts underground, they could convey subterranean water from the heart of mountains to dry lands where great cities, vast farms and famous 'Persian gardens' were cultivated. The cloth in this photo is made in Varzaneh, a village near one of deserts of Iran where people really appreciate the value of H2O. A reflection of the dry, lifeless Moon in a Persian clay cup full of water reminds us how important water is to the green lands of Earth."

Aug. 16th Lunar Eclipse Gallery
[Interactive Eclipse Map]

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 20, 2008 , there were 971 potentially hazardous asteroids.
August 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
54509 YORP
Aug. 1
67 LD
130 m
2008 PK9
Aug. 11
11 LD
50 m
2008 ON10
Aug. 11
12 LD
50 m
2001 RT17
Aug. 14
69 LD
1.2 km
1991 VH
Aug. 15
18 LD
1.8 km
2008 MZ
Aug. 31
60 LD
1.1 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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