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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 328.2 km/sec
density: 3.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A5
2300 UT Jun22
24-hr: B1
0935 UT Jun22
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 22 Jun 10
Sunspot 1082 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 14
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 21 Jun 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 35 days (20%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 803 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 21 Jun 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 72 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 21 Jun 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.1 nT
Bz: 2.5 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth as early as June 25th. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jun 22 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 Jun 22 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
June 22, 2010

NEW AND IMPROVED: Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a field-tested global satellite tracker. The Satellite Flybys app now works in all countries.


PARTIAL LUNAR ECLIPSE: This Saturday, June 26th, the Moon will pass through Earth's shadow for a partial lunar eclipse. The event lasts for almost three hours centered on 11:38 UT (4:38 am PDT). At maximum, about 53% of the Moon's surface will be covered by the dark-red core of Earth's shadow. Sky watchers in the Americas, Australia, east Asia and India are favored: visibility map.

NOCTILUCENT SUMMER: Summer is the season for noctilucent ("night-shining") clouds, and right on cue, the summer solstice has brought some lovely displays of electric blue:

"We had a very nice NLC show on the first day of summer," reports Marek Nikodem, who took the picture using a Nikon D700. "Noctilucent cloud season has officially begun here in Szubin, Poland!"

more images: from Jun Lao flying 33,000 feet over the North Atlantic Ocean; from Mikhail Kuzmin of Sergiev-Posad, Russia; from Frank Ryan Jr of Loop Head, Co. Clare, Ireland

When noctilucent clouds first appeared in the late 19th century, they were confined Arctic latitudes--i.e., places like Scandinavia, Siberia and the northern territories of Canada. In recent years, however, NLCs have increased their range with sightings in the United States as far south as Colorado and Utah. Researchers aren't sure why these mysterious clouds are spreading. It's a lovely mystery, and monitoring is encouraged!

Observing tips: Look west 30 to 60 minutes after sunset when the Sun has dipped 6o to 16o below the horizon. If you see luminous blue-white tendrils spreading across the sky, you may have spotted a noctilucent cloud.

DAWN COMET: Comet McNaught (C/2009 R1) is swinging around the sun, and solar glare is making the wispy-tailed comet difficult to see. Nevertheless, astronomer Enrico Colzani was able to glimpse it this morning just before sunrise at the Sormano Astronomical Observatory in Italy:

"The comet was actually moving among the trees, hanging very low over the northeastern horizon at the time I photographed it," he says. "I used a 150mm (4.4-inch) refractor to take this 150 second exposure."

Theoretically, the comet could brighten to naked eye visibility around July 2nd when it makes its closest approch to the sun (perihelion). Practically, the bright sun itself will prevent any sightings. After perihelion, the comet will recede from the sun and begin to fade. The final mornings of June, therefore, could offer our last good look at this blue-green apparition from the outer solar system. More information and a sky map are available from Sky and Telescope. See also: ephemeris, 3D orbit.

May 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Mays: 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002] [aurora alerts]

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 June 22, 2010 there were 1138 potentially hazardous asteroids.
June-July 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 JR34
May 14
5.8 LD
12 m
2003 HR32
May 17
55.2 LD
1.0 km
2010 JN71
May 26
8.2 LD
245 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 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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