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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 296.4 km/sec
density: 2.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2256 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2145 UT Sep21
24-hr: A0
2145 UT Sep21
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 21 Sep 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 18 Sept. 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= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.3 nT
Bz: 4.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2257 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Sep 21 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 Sep 21 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
September 21, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of August 9th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

FOOTBALL-SHAPED PLANET: The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has just named the solar system's fifth dwarf planet, Haumea, after the Hawaiian goddess of childbirth and fertility. Located just beyond Pluto, Haumea spins so rapidly that it has been elongated like a football approximately 2200 km long. The strange planet has two moons, Hi'iaka and Namaka: IAU press release.

SOLAR ACTIVITY: By the standard of sunspot counts, solar activity is low. Maybe there should be another standard:

"The face of the sun was pretty bare today, but the limb was a different story. There was a really big prominence," says Larry Alvarez of Flower Mound, Texas. "It looked like a raging 'wire of fire.' I took the picture using my Coronado 90mm solar filter and a homemade ccd camera."

By the standard of prominences, it turns out, the sun is pretty active. Grab a solar telescope and take a look!

SIGHTINGS: This evening in France, the International Space Station (ISS) split Jupiter right down the middle:

"The ISS flew through the constellation Sagittarius and directly in front of Jupiter. It was a beautiful sight," says photographer Patrice Arnaudet of Val d'oise, France. "I stitched together three photos taken using my Canon 350D. That's why there are tiny gaps in the flight path of the ISS," she explains.

The space station is making a series of passes over Europe and North America in the nights ahead. It's amazingly easy to see. Check the Satellite Tracker for viewing times.

more images: from Matthew Cook of Ann Arbor, Michigan; from Phillip Chee of South Monaghan, Ontario, Canada; from Joe Ricci of Rochester, New York; from Bill Gucfa of Rehoboth, Massachusetts; from David McKune of Lansing, Kansas;

Sept. 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.
On September 21, 2008 , there were 980 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Sept. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2003 WT153
Sept. 7
5.8 LD
11 m
1996 HW1
Sept. 12
53 LD
3.7 km
2003 SW130
Sept. 19
8.6 LD
7 m
1998 UO1
Sept. 26
25 LD
2.0 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
  a one-stop hub for all things scientific
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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