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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 307.2 km/sec
density: 5.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Aug26
24-hr: A0
0635 UT Aug26
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 26 Aug 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 25 Aug. 2008
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= 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: 5.6 nT
Bz: 1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: Hinode X-Ray Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Aug 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: 2008 Aug 26 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
August 26, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of August 9th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

CLOUDS AT THE EDGE OF SPACE: High above Earth, astronauts on board the International Space Station have taken one of the best-ever photos of noctilucent clouds. Their image highlights a growing mystery: Where do these clouds come from and why are they spreading? Science@NASA has the full story.

SOLAR ACTIVITY: How many gigantic dancing, spinning magnetic eruptions can a person watch at one time? Click on the image below and start counting:

Movie formats: 4 MB Quicktime, 7 MB mpg, 31 MB Quicktime

If you counted fewer than four, play it again. In the movie, made by NASA's STEREO-A spacecraft on August 15 and 16, every quadrant of the sun has at least one magnetic prominence surging over the limb. Prominences are clouds of hydrogen held aloft, twisted and sheared, and ultimately hurled into space or pulled back into the inferno by solar magnetic fields. It's a form of solar activity that continues even when sunspots are scarce. The sun: this is as "quiet" as it gets.

CREPUSCULAR RAYS: Immense tubes of darkness cut across the twilight sky, dividing the sunset into luminous auburn wedges. The technical term for this phenomenon is crepuscular rays:

Photo details: Nikon D70, 12mm lens, 1/40th second exposure.

The spectacular example above was photographed last night by Dan Bush of Albany, Missouri. "The display was caused by clouds in Nebraska casting their shadows towards me here in Missouri," he says. "The display began about 20 minutes after sunset and lasted for only a few minutes--just long enough for a snapshot with my Nikon D70."

Got clouds? That's all you need. Watch the western horizon after sunset for crepescular rays of your own.

more images: from Pete Low of Baltimore, Ireland; from Oana Suciu of Turda, Romania; from Linda Neilsen of Kent, Washington; from Joseph M. Golebieski of Toms River, New Jersey; from Mark Poe of Aberdeen, South Dakota: from Rodrigo Roesch of Beaver City, Indiana; from Yasmin Angelique Walter of Chamonix, Mt. Blanc, France; from Rick Ellis of Toronto, Ontario;

Aug. 16th Lunar Eclipse Gallery
[Interactive Eclipse Map]

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 August 26, 2008 , there were 975 potentially hazardous asteroids.
August 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
54509 YORP
Aug. 1
67 LD
130 m
2008 PK9
Aug. 11
11 LD
50 m
2008 ON10
Aug. 11
12 LD
50 m
2001 RT17
Aug. 14
69 LD
1.2 km
1991 VH
Aug. 15
18 LD
1.8 km
2008 MZ
Aug. 31
60 LD
1.1 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 bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
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
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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