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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 353.2 km/sec
density: 5.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2243 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Aug29
24-hr: A0
1405 UT Aug29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 29 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: 4.1 nT
Bz: -0.0 nT
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 29 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 29 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
August 29, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of August 9th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

SATURN AT NOON: Looking for Saturn? Don't. You'll hurt your eyes. The ringed planet is only 5o from the sun. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory is monitoring the convergence using its coronagraph to block the glare. Click here to see Saturn at noon.

AURORA WATCH: A few nights ago in northern Canada, the sky lit up with vivid green auroras. There was no particular reason. Photographer Sylvain Serre of Salluit, Quebec, lives under Earth's auroral oval where the slightest shift of solar wind can spark a midnight display like this:

"I made this 8-second exposure on Aug. 26th using my Canon EOS 30D set at ISO 1600," says Serre. "After a quiet start, the northern lights were very bright and I didn't regret [being out and about] so late at night."

Now imagine what a real gust of solar wind could do. One is coming, due to hit Earth on Sept. 2nd or 3rd. High latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on those dates.

August 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Science@NASA: Plasma Bullets Spark Northern Lights]

ICE COLD SUNRISE: Last week, for the first time since landing, night fell on Phoenix. The martian arctic sun dipped behind a slight rise to the north of Phoenix's landing site, dropping the temperature to -119o F and bringing 30+ minutes of darkness to the solar-powered lander. Fortunately, the sun came right back up again:

Phoenix snapped this sunrise shot on August 25th using its Surface Stereo Imager. More information about the photo may be found here.

Phoenix's batteries remain fully charged, but they won't remain so forever. Seasons are changing on Mars and by April 3, 2009, the descending sun will disappear for good. Night and frigid cold will envelop Phoenix for more than 3 months, probably bringing the mission to an end. On the other hand, NASA's Mars landers have proven remarkably tough; perhaps Phoenix will revive itself after the long night. No one knows. Meanwhile the digging continues.

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 29, 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 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
  a one-stop web hub for all things scientific
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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