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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 353.5 km/sec
density: 5.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A4
1955 UT Jan31
24-hr: B4
0500 UT Jan31
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 31 Jan. 10
A new sunspot is growing in the sun's northern hemisphere. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 25
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 30 Jan 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 2 days (7%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 772 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 30 Jan 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 75 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 30 Jan 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.1 nT
Bz: 1.5 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Feb. 10th. Credit: STEREO-B Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jan 31 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: 2010 Jan 31 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
January 31, 2010

SATELLITE FLYBYS APP: Turn your iPhone or iPod into a field-tested satellite tracker! presents the Satellite Flybys app.


TERRESTRIAL GAMMA-RAY FLASHES: There's a mystery in the skies of Earth. Something is producing bright flashes of gamma radiation in the upper atmosphere of our own planet. A spacecraft called 'Firefly' is going to investigate: full story.

NORTHERN LIGHTS: A solar wind stream hit Earth on Jan. 30th. It was a minor gust, but enough to spark these Northern Lights over Tromsø, Norway:

"I was out taking some pictures of the landscape in full moonlight when the auroras decided to show up!" says photographer Helge Mortensen. "A 2.5 second exposure with my Canon 40D at ISO 800 nicely revealed the lights through the clouds."

Another solar wind stream is coming--and it's probably quite a bit stronger than this one was. Sky watchers should be alert for auroras when it arrives on or about Feb. 10th.

UPDATED: January Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Januarys: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2001]

INTENSE MOONLIGHT: Friday's night's full Moon was the biggest and brightest of 2010. "It certainly made an impression on me," says Martin McKenna of Maghera, Northern Ireland, "and not only because of its beauty in the sky. I decided to aim my camera at the ground for a different angle on the event." He snapped this picture using a Fujifilm S5600:

"When the Moon emerged from behind a passing cloud, the land was transformed into an intense white spectacle, which got an instant 'wow' from me," he continued. "It looked like a giant spotlight was beaming down on Earth with an indescribable brilliance. These two images were taken between 02.00 and 02.30 UT and show with considerable accuracy how the landscape appeared to the naked eye."

In Tucson, Arizona, where Pete Strasser regularly monitors the luminance of the Moon, Strasser says "this was the brightest full Moon I have measured, registering 0.040 foot-candles on my meter. All colors were readily visible to the naked eye."

The Moon was so bright because it was at perigee, the part of the Moon's orbit closest to Earth: diagram. This favorable geometry made the Moon appear 14% wider and 30% brighter than lesser moons of 2010. It was quite a perigee Moon.

more moonshots: from Gawie Hugo of Bloemfontein, South Africa; from Anthony Ayiomamitis of Athens, Greece; from Dennis O'Hara of Silver Bay, Minnesota; from P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden; from Mohamad Soltanolkottabi of Esfahan, Iran; from Marek Nikodem of Szubin. Poland; from John Stetson of Sebago Lake, Maine; from Larry Landolfi of Hilton Park, Newington, New Hampshire; from Frank Hood of 'Anjou sur le Lac', Montreal, Canada; from Henry F. Mendt of Maracaibo, Venezuela; from Jimmie Weeks of Anchorage, Alaska; from Azhy Chato Hasan of Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq; from Mahdi Zamani of Cheshmeh-Ali, Damghan, Semnan, Iran; from Daisuke Tomiyasu of Egenoyama, Ashiya, Hyogo, Japan;


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 January 31, 2010 there were 1094 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Jan. 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 AL2
Jan. 11
11.5 LD
23 m
24761 Ahau
Jan. 11
70.8 LD
1.4 km
2000 YH66
Jan. 12
69.5 LD
1.1 km
2010 AL30
Jan. 13
0.3 LD
18 m
2010 AG3
Jan. 19
8.9 LD
14 m
2010 AN61
Jan. 19
8.0 LD
17 m
2010 AF40
Jan. 21
2.3 LD
43 m
2010 BC
Jan. 24
7.6 LD
160 m
2010 BU2
Jan. 27
6.4 LD
52 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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