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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 311.3 km/sec
density: 2.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A7
1800 UT Jun23
24-hr: B1
1100 UT Jun23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 23 Jun 10
Sunspot 1082 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 14
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 22 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 22 Jun 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 73 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 22 Jun 2010

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: 2.1 nT
Bz: 0.6 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth as early as June 26th. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jun 23 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 23 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
June 23, 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.


TEN COOL THINGS ON THE MOON: NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has been circling the Moon for one year. To celebrate the anniversary, mission scientists have released a list of LRO's top ten photos. Highlights include astronaut footprints, lunar pits, and mysterious river-like channels cutting through the moondust. Start browsing here.

AURORAS FROM ABOVE: Have you ever wondered what auroras look like from above? Astronauts onboard the International Space Station found out on May 29th when they flew through a geomagnetic storm and witnessed this green ribbon snaking over the Indian Ocean:

The bright display of Southern Lights was sparked by a solar coronal mass ejection (CME), which hit Earth's magnetic field and sparked a G1-class geomagnetic storm. On the other end of the planet, the same storm produced bright Northern Lights over Wisconsin, Minnesota and parts of Canada. Both poles were ringed in light at the same time.

This isn't the first time astronauts have seen auroras underfoot. The shuttle has flown right through auroral curtains with no ill effects--other than time lost while the crew crowds around the window to stare.The ISS also turns out to be a wonderful platform for aurora watching.

Next up: A solar wind stream is due to hit Earth's magnetic field on June 26th, possibly sparking a new round of geomagnetic activity. Sky watchers above and below should be alert for auroras.

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.

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 23, 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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