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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 520.0 km/sec
density: 1.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2244 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A1
1905 UT Jan09
24-hr: A1
1905 UT Jan09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Jan 08
Sunspot 980 is fading away leaving the sun once again blank. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 16
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 Jan 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals a possible sunspot on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Updated: 2008 Jan 09 2108 UT
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.5 nT
Bz: 0.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Jan 09 2203 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 Jan 09 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %

What's up in Space
January 9, 2008
Where's Saturn? Is that a UFO--or the ISS? What's the name of that star? Get the answers from mySKY--a fun new astronomy helper from Meade.

SUNSET ALERT! When the sun sets tonight, go outside immediately and look west. If you have a clear view of the horizon, you may be able to see a beautiful gathering of the slender crescent Moon and Mercury. Just one problem: Because they're so low, they may not be easy to find. Try scanning the horizon with binoculars for a truly fantastic view.

SPACE STATION TRANSIT: For photographers wishing to catch the International Space Station (ISS) in solar transit, Laurent Laveder has a few tips: "1. Never decide to photograph an ISS transit just 30 minutes before it begins. 2. Never try to focus on the Sun when there is no sunspot, because it's hard to focus. 3. Never trust your laptop's clock, because you could miss the beginning of a split-second transit and capture only two silhouettes of ISS."

How does he know these things? Regard the following picture, which Laveder himself took from Quimper, France, on Jan. 7th:

There's more: "4. During the photo shoot," he says, "never stop your car along a road a few meters from a house, because an old man could observe your suspect behavior for at least 15 minutes, increasing your nervousness. 5. Never give your real name to onlookers." And most importantly, "6. Never send your infamous picture to Space Weather, because it could be shared worldwide."

[World Map of Spacecraft Sightings]
[ISS flyby alerts] [Night-sky Cameras]

VOLCANO & STAR TRAILS: Twenty five years ago, Hawaii's Kilauea volcano started spewing lava--and it has never stopped. "January 3, 2008, marked the silver anniversary of the ongoing eruption on the Big Island of Hawaii," says Stephen James O'Meara of Mauna Loa. (continued below)

"This shot shows the volcano still erupting after all these years with an ominous glowing plume looming over the sleepy village of Volcano, Hawaii, which is immersed in volcanic smog (vog)."

And, no, that's not a meteor shower over the volcano. Those are star trails. O'Meara opened the shutter of his Canon 20D for six minutes, allowing the vog to drift and Earth's rotation to streak the stars. Twenty-five years and six minutes later, the eruption continues.

more images: from Tunç Tezel in Volcano, Hawai`i, USA

January 2008 Aurora Gallery
[World Map of Aurora Sightings]
[aurora alerts] [Night-sky Cameras]

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 9, 2008 there were 916 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Jan. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2005 WJ56
Jan. 10
10.9 LD
1.2 km
1685 Toro
Jan. 24
76 LD
6.2 km
2007 TU24
Jan. 29
1.4 LD
400 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 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.
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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