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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 374.0 km/sec
density: 2.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2342 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A8
1800 UT Jan25
24-hr: B1
0840 UT Jan25
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 25 Jan. 10
Sunspots 1041 and 1042 are members of new Solar Cycle 24. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 32
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 24 Jan 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 2 days (8%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 772 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 24 Jan 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 85 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 24 Jan 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.1 nT
Bz: 1.1 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jan 25 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 Jan 25 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
January 25, 2010

SATELLITE FLYBYS APP: Turn your iPhone or iPod into a field-tested satellite tracker! presents the Satellite Flybys app.


APPROACHING MARS: Earth and Mars are about to have a close encounter. On Jan. 27th, the Red Planet will be only 99 million kilometers away and look bigger through a telescope than at any time between 2008 and 2012. [sky map] [photos: #1, #2, #3]

QUIET SUNSPOTS: There are two sunspots on the Earth-facing side of the sun today, AR1041 and AR1042, but neither one is threatening to produce strong solar flares. Here is what a "quiet" sunspot looks like:

Rogerio Marcon of Campinas, Brasil, took this picture of sunspot 1041 on Jan. 24th. It's a beautiful sight--quiet or not.

"Sunspot 1041 is huge, influencing a vast region of the sun's atmosphere," adds Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK, who sends his own snapshot. "It has lots of lovely dark filaments and fibrils to view as well." Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to take a look.

more images: from Eric Roel of Valle de Bravo, Estado de México; from John Minnerath of Crowheart Wyoming; from Pavol Rapavy of Observatory Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia; from Matt Wastell of Brisbane, Australia

LOW-FLYING SPACESHIP: Amateur astronomers have long known that the International Space Station looks great through a backyard telescope. Lately, it looks even better than usual. "For imaging fine detail on the space station, now is the right time because the ISS has descended to about its lowest orbital height," explains Ralf Vandebergh of the Netherlands. "I took this picture through my 10-inch telescope on Jan. 14th."

"Normally, the station's four big solar panels are the most obvious elements visible from Earth, but in this picture they are almost invisible due to the lighting angle," he adds. "What the picture does show is the integrated truss structure, the backbone of the ISS in full-length with lots of detail."

The ISS is extremely bright--like Venus or Jupiter--and it moves slowly enough to follow with optics. Indeed, Vandebergh prefers to hand-track his telescope when photographing the ISS. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flybys! (The satellite tracker is now available for the iPhone, too.)

more images: from Bum-Suk Yeom of Daejeon, South Korea; from Pete Lardizabal of St Johns, Florida;

January Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Januarys: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2001]

Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[World Map of Eclipse Sightings]

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 January 25, 2010 there were 1094 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Jan. 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 AL2
Jan. 11
11.5 LD
23 m
24761 Ahau
Jan. 11
70.8 LD
1.4 km
2000 YH66
Jan. 12
69.5 LD
1.1 km
2010 AL30
Jan. 13
0.3 LD
18 m
2010 AG3
Jan. 19
8.9 LD
14 m
2010 AN61
Jan. 19
8.0 LD
17 m
2010 AF40
Jan. 21
2.3 LD
43 m
2010 BC
Jan. 24
7.6 LD
160 m
2010 BU2
Jan. 27
6.4 LD
52 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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