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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 332.4 km/sec
density: 2.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Aug28
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Aug28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 28 Aug 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 28 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= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.6 nT
Bz: 1.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Aug 28 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 28 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
August 28, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of August 9th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

SPACE STATION DAWN: For the next few mornings, the International Space Station (ISS) will be flying over Europe and North America, cutting a bright path among the stars just before sunrise. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker to find out when to look; it's a nice way to start the day.

SOLAR ACTIVITY: Warning. This story contains material that may make you feel very small.

For the past two days, a colossal prominence has been dancing along the northwestern limb of the sun. "Here's a photo from Aug. 27th," offers Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK. "The Earth has been added for scale."

"It does makes you feel small, doesn't it?"

Lawrence's photo frames a towering sheet of hydrogen gas stretched 75,000 km high by solar magnetic fields. The foreground is filled by a "shag carpet" of spicules--Texas-sized jets of gas that shoot up from the sun's surface and fall back again on 10 minute time scales. Spicules are the smallest thing in the photo and they're as big as Texas. Have you ever driven across Texas?

The prominence is still active today and makes an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. Take a look, that is, if you can reach the eye piece.

more images: from J. Fairfull and John Stetson of South Portland, Maine; from Stephen Ames of Hodgenville, Kentucky; from James Kevin Ty of Manila, the Philippines; from Roger G. Williams of Kalamazoo, Michigan; from B. Atkins et al of South Portland, Maine; from Pavol Rapavy of Rimavská Sobota, Slovakia

VOLCANIC SUNSETS: Volcanoes have been erupting in Alaska, and now sunsets are turning campfire-red across the continental United States. Coincidence? Kansas photographer Doug Zubenel calls this snapshot The Colors of Kasatochi:

"I've been seeing these incredible sunsets since last Friday," says Zubenel. High resolution photos (#1, #2) reveal the source: a high-altitude layer of finely-structured aerosols. "A rich orange develops as the sun sinks toward the horizon and Venus sports a red annulus."

"Doug’s skies were probably generated by the recent eruptions of Kasatochi and two other volcanoes in Alaska's Aleutian Islands," says atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "Volcanic eruptions hurl gigantic clouds of fine dust and sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere where high winds spread them around the globe. Sulfur dioxide forms aerosols; these and the dust scatter sunlight to give us red skies, twilight rays and Bishop’s rings. I’m getting many reports of unusual sunsets – look up!"

more images: from Doug Zubenel of Lenexa, Kansas; from Tadd Parris at the Minneapolis International Airport; from Rick Stankiewicz of Ontario, Canada; from Bill Hooker of Flagstaff, Arizona; from Gary Colwell of Ontario, Canada; from Paul Hadfield of Decatur, Illinois; from Linda Neilsen of Kent, Washington; from Dick McGowan of Olathe, Kansas; from Jeff Stevens of Grass Lake, Michigan; from Misty Lundberg of Princeton, Indiana; from Edmund E Kasaitis of Manchester, Maryland; from Doug Zubenel of De Soto, Kansas; from Dan Bush of Albany, Missouri; from Karla Dorman of Burleson, Texas;

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 28, 2008 , there were 977 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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