You are viewing the page for Feb. 25, 2009
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 416.9 km/sec
density: 2.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Feb25
24-hr: A0
1730 UT Feb25
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 25 Feb 09
Tiny sunspot 1013 is a member of Solar Cycle 24. Credit: SOHO/MDI

more images: from Robert Arnold of Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Jan Timmermans of Valkenswaard, The Netherlands; from Stephen Ames of Hodgenville, KY
Sunspot number: 12
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 24 Feb. 2009
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: 4.0 nT
Bz: 0.3 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 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: 2009 Feb 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: 2009 Feb 25 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
February 25, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you sleep through the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.


OTHERWORLDLY SOLAR ECLIPSE: For the first time, a spacecraft from Earth has captured hi-resolution video of a solar eclipse while orbiting another world. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

DOOMED SATELLITE: NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) blasted off from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on Feb. 24th around 1:55 in the morning Pacific Time. An all-sky camera in nearby Santa Barbara captured the early stages of what would prove to be a doomed flight:

Click to view a larger movie

"We photographed the launch using an AllSky-340C mounted on our roof," says Matt Thomas of Santa Barbara Instrument Group. "It monitors the sky 24/7, and you can see live images here."

Unfortunately, OCO never made it to Earth orbit. After the satellite left the field of view, above, it failed to separate from its Taurus XL launch vehicle. The stuck-together pair splashed down in the icy waters near Antarctica. Climate scientists are calling the loss a "serious setback" in their efforts to identify our planet's carbon sinks and solve the mystery of missing carbon--the 30% of human-produced carbon dioxide that disappears into unknown places. A NASA panel has been convened to investigate the mishap.

THE GREAT GREEN Q-TIP: For weeks, Comet Lulin has sported a wispy tail of electric-blue ionized gas emerging from the comet's head like a shock of unruly hair: image. Today, that tail is gone:

"I couldn't detect the ion tail even in a deep 24-minute exposure," reports astrophotographer John Nassr, who took the picture on Feb. 24th from his private observatory in the Philippines.

Comet Lulin now resembles a great green Q-tip!

A three-day sequence of photos by Nassr reveals what happened: Apparently, a gust of solar wind disrupted the comet's gossamer ion tail. Meanwhile, the comet's heavier, spike-shaped dust tail was not noticeably disturbed. This has happened at least twice before in January and February, and each time the ion tail rapidly grew back.

A lot is happening on Comet Lulin. Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE: A high-contrast movie of Comet Lulin recorded on Feb. 25th by Filipe Alves of Portugal shows filamentary remnants of the ion tail still attached to the comet. Play it!

Comet Lulin Photo Gallery
[Comet Hunter Telescope] [Sky maps: Feb. 25, 26]

February 2009 Aurora Gallery
[Previous Februaries: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]

Explore the Sunspot Cycle

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 February 25, 2009 there were 1029 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Feb. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 BK58
Feb. 2
1.7 LD
30 m
2009 BG81
Feb. 2
4.4 LD
12 m
2009 CC2
Feb. 2
0.5 LD
12 m
2009 BW2
Feb. 5
8.4 LD
40 m
2009 CP
Feb. 8
7.7 LD
20 m
2009 BE58
Feb. 10
8.6 LD
225 m
2006 AS2
Feb. 10
9.2 LD
370 m
2009 BL58
Feb. 11
4.8 LD
55 m
1999 AQ10
Feb. 18
4.4 LD
390 m
2009 CV
Feb. 23
4.8 LD
62 m
2009 DU10
Feb. 24
2.3 LD
18 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.
©2019 All rights reserved.