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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 319.3 km/sec
density: 1.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1955 UT Sep26
24-hr: A2
1220 UT Sep26
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 25 Sept. 09
Sunspots 1026 and1027 are members of new Solar Cycle 24. Photo credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 25
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 25 Sept 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2009 total: 212 days (80%)
Since 2004: 723 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 25 Sept 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= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.5 nT
Bz: 4.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 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 Sep 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 Sep 26 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
September 26, 2009

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


ICY SURPRISE ON MARS: In 1976, NASA's Viking 2 lander dug into the soil of Mars in search of water and came up dry. NASA has just learned that Viking 2 might have succeeded if it had dug only 4 inches deeper. Meteorites hitting the Red Planet in 2008 and 2009 have exposed subsurface deposits of ice in the general area where Viking 2 landed. According to pictures taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the ice is surprisingly close to the surface in easy reach of robotic landers or thirsty human explorers. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

SOLAR ACTIVITY: Around the world, amateur astronomers are watching an impressive display of solar prominence activity. "Wow and then some!" exclaims from Steve Riegel who sends this picture from Santa Maria, California:

"This is by far the biggest prominence I've seen since I got my Personal Solar Telescope in 2005," he says. "I hope this is a taste of things to come as we start climbing out of solar minimum."

more images: from Emiel Veldhuis of Zwolle, the Netherlands; from Francisco A. Rodriguez of Cabreja Mountain Observatory, Canary Islands; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from P-M Hedén of Ålbo, Sweden; from Fabio Mariuzza of Biauzzo, Italy; from Rich Schueller of Massachusetts;

THREE SATELLITES IN THREE MINUTES: Last night, Mark Staples stood beneath a Spanish moss-draped oak tree on the shore of Little Lake Santa Fe in central Florida. He tilted his camera up to shoot the Moon when, with no warning, a satellite flashed through the branches. "It was a lucky shot," he says, but that was just the beginning:

A minute later, the Hubble Space Telescope glided by. "I used the moss to block the Moon so that I could photograph the HST (image). Then I turned around and saw the International Space Station just clearing the trees over the city lights of nearby Starke (image). In all, I caught three satellites in three minutes!"

How many satellites are about to flash over your hometown? Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flybys.

Sept. 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Septembers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2001]

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 September 26, 2009 there were 1076 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Sept. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 QC35
Sept. 2
2.9 LD
35 m
2009 RY3
Sept. 11
1.9 LD
50 m
2009 RR
Sept. 16
2.8 LD
33 m
2009 RG2
Sept. 21
9.1 LD
31 m
2009 HD21
Sept. 29
22.9 LD
1.0 km
1998 FW4
Sept. 29
8.6 LD
550 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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