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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 375.2 km/sec
density: 2.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2207 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Apr26
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Apr26
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 26 Apr 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 26 Apr 2009

NEW: Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 5 days
2009 total: 102 days (88%)
Since 2004: 613 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 25 Apr 2009

Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no large sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.5 nT
Bz: 1.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2208 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 Apr 26 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 Apr 26 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
April 26, 2009

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


SATELLITE DECAY: According to US Strategic Command, Iran's Omid satellite reentered Earth's atmosphere yesterday, April 25th, during an 8-hour window centered on 0342 UT. The most likely reentry location is over the south Atlantic Ocean approximately east of Buenos Aires, Argentina. No sightings have been reported.

NOTE: The Safir-2 rocket that launched Omid is still in Earth orbit. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for viewing opportunities.

WEEKEND SKY SHOW: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look west. You might see something like this:

Dale Ireland of Silverdale, Washington, created the graphic to illustrate the April 26th conjunction of the crescent Moon, Pleiades and Mercury.

Start watching early. The Moon pops out of the twilight long before the sky fades to black. A slender crescent Moon surrounded by colbalt blue is one of the loveliest sights in the heavens. Mercury and the Pleiades are a wonderful bonus: full story.

April 26th photos: from Tamas Ladanyi of Veszpremfajsz, Hungary; from Richard Fleet of Pewsey Vale, Wiltshire, England; from Uriel Goldvais of Rehovot, Israel; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Gadi Eidelheit of Givat Shmuel, Israel; from Achim Schaller of Marzell, Germany; from André of Bath, UK; from Erkki Rauhala of Uurainen, Finland; from P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden; from Luke Broom-Lynne of Attleborough, Norfolk, UK; from Donatas Tamonis of Kaunas, Lithuania; from Marcin Grzybowski of Forslo, Sweden; from George Tarsoudis of Melia of Evros - Greece; from Catalin M. Timosca of Mihai Viteazul, Romania; from Miroslav Znášik of Žilina, Slovakia; from Sorin Hotea of Sighetu-Marmatiei, Romania; from Jesper Gronne of Denmark; from Honor Wheeler of Wilmington, Kent, UK; from Carlos Briggs of Great Dunmow, Essex, England, UK; from Reinhard Nitze of Barsinghausen, North Germany; from Stephan Brügger of Lübeck, Germany

NOT-SO-QUIET SUN: The sun produced an unexpected burst of activity on April 23rd when an enormous prominence rose over the northeastern limb and erupted. SOHO recorded the blast from beginning to end with a series of high-cadence UV snapshots. Click on the image to set the scene in motion:

Click to view a movie

The complex explosion produced not one but two coronal mass ejections (CMEs): movie. An impact from such a double-CME would almost surely spark magnetic storms around the poles of Earth, but it is not heading in our direction. The chance of auroras remains low.

April 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Aprils: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 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 April 26, 2009 there were 1053 potentially hazardous asteroids.
April 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 FU30
Apr. 2
8.8 LD
44 m
2004 VC
Apr. 3
51.3 LD
785 m
2002 EB3
Apr. 10
41.3 LD
1.3 km
2003 SG170
Apr. 19
57.7 LD
1.2 km
2009 HF21
Apr. 21
7.4 LD
27 m
2009 HJ21
Apr. 23
1.3 LD
14 m
2009 FJ30
Apr. 24
9.7 LD
130 m
2001 VG5
Apr. 26
58.5 LD
2.1 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
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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