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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 332.2 km/sec
density: 0.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2245 UT Aug31
24-hr: B1
2245 UT Aug31
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 31 Aug 10
Sunspots 1101 and 1102 are both quiet and they pose no threat for strong solar flares.
Resolutions: 4096, 1024, 512
Sunspot number: 28
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 30 Aug 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 39 days (16%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 807 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 30 Aug 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 75 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 30 Aug2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.2 nT
Bz: 1.7 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: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Aug 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 Aug 31 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
August 31, 2010

AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE


AMAZING IMAGE OF JUPITER: Last night, the atmosphere over Australia settled into a state of rare, crystal-clear transparency -- and it did so directly above the observatory of world-famous astrophotographer Anthony Wesley. The result was a picture of Jupiter that some onlookers are calling the finest-ever by an amateur astronomer. "On a scale of 1 to 10, the seeing was a 12," says Wesley. "Now I know what it must be like to see the giant planet from space."

BIG ERUPTION: On August 24th and 25th, an enormous magnetic filament slowly rose off the surface of the sun and erupted. Stationed over the sun's western hemisphere, NASA's STEREO-A spacecraft was in perfect position to record the action. Click on the arrow to play a 30-hour time lapse movie:

movie formats: 13 MB Quicktime; 4 MB iPad, 1.7 MB iPhone

The horseshoe-shaped filament expanded and -popped- about 600,000 km above the stellar surface. Rather than flying off toward Earth, however, most of the hot glowing plasma the filament contained simply fell back to the sun. There will be no Earth-effects from the blast.

AURORA AUSTRALIS: Earth is exiting a solar wind stream that has been causing bright auroras around the poles--both poles. Michael Zupanc sends this picture from Australia's Davis Station on the coast of Antarctica:

"The tail end of the solar wind stream produced a nice outburst on Aug. 27th," says Zupanc. "Despite having to contend with a nearly full Moon, the auroras were easy to see."

The green laser lancing into the sky is the station's lidar, the optical equivalent of a radar. "We use it to study stratospheric clouds," says Zupanc. The polar atmosphere is a sensitive 'barometer' of climate change and ozone recovery, and the Davis Station lidar is a key tool for researchers. It is able to measure the density, temperature, wind velocity and aerosol loading of critical atmospheric layers above the frozen continent. Plus it looks great during a geomagnetic storm!

Browse the gallery for latest images from the recent display:

August 2010 Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Augusts: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]

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 31, 2010 there were 1144 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2002 CY46
Sep 2
63.8 LD
2.4 km
2010 LY63
Sep 7
56 LD
1.2 km
2009 SH2
Sep 30
7.1 LD
45 m
1998 UO1
Oct 1
32.1 LD
2.1 km
2005 GE59
Oct 1
77 LD
1.1 km
2001 WN5
Oct 10
41.8 LD
1.0 km
1999 VO6
Oct 14
34.3 LD
1.8 km
1998 TU3
Oct 17
69.1 LD
5.3 km
1998 MQ
Oct 23
77.7 LD
1.9 km
2007 RU17
Oct 29
40.6 LD
1.0 km
2003 UV11
Oct 30
5 LD
595 m
3838 Epona
Nov 7
76.8 LD
3.4 km
2005 QY151
Nov 16
77.7 LD
1.3 km
2008 KT
Nov 23
5.6 LD
10 m
2002 EZ16
Nov 30
73.9 LD
1.0 km
2000 JH5
Dec 7
47 LD
1.5 km
2010 JL33
Dec 9
16.6 LD
1.3 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 Dynamics Observatory
  Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
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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