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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 434.1 km/sec
density: 3.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2244 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Jan22
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Jan22
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 22 Jan 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 21 Jan 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals a possible sunspot on the far side of the sun. Tomorrow's farside image is needed for confirmation. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 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: 1.0 nT
Bz: 0.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the Sun. Credit: Hinode X-Ray Telescope.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Jan 22 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 22 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %

What's up in Space
January 22, 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.

MERCURY FLYBY: Last week's historic flyby of Mercury by NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft gathered 500 megabytes of data and more than a thousand high-resolution photos covering nearly six million square miles of previously unseen terrain. "Discoveries are at hand," say members of the mission science team. Click here for a hint of things to come.

FULL MOON FUN: There's a full Moon tonight and its a beautiful sight. But don't just stand there staring. Shoot some hoops!

The rising full Moon is round and orange, points out photographer Laurent Laveder of Tréguennec, Bretagne, France. "Last July we found a professional basketball player, Mathieu Tensorer, who helped us take a few pictures for our 'Playing with the Moon' series," he says. "I used a Canon 30D at ISO 1000 for this 5.6 second exposure."

more images: from P-M Hedén of Stockholm, Sweden; from Judy Parker of St. Paul, Minnesota; from Jeffrey Berkes of West Chester, PA; from Doug Zubenel of De Soto, Kansas; from Eugene Miller of Brooklyn, New York; from Michel Hersen of Portland, Oregon;

SUNSET PLANET: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and face west. Weather permitting, you'll see Mercury beaming through the twilight.

"The light of a nearly full moon blended with twilight to provide an eerie scene as Mercury set in the WSW at 6:17 p.m.," says Gary A. Becker of Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, who took this picture on Jan. 21st:

This is a special week for Mercury: the planet is normally hidden in the glare of the sun, but on Jan. 21-22 it reaches a maximum elongation of 19 degrees. This sun-Mercury gap allows the planet to linger in the western sky for about an hour after the sun has set. Take a look!

more images: from Ugur Ikizler of Mudanya - Bursa / Turkey; from Martin McKenna of Maghera, Co. Derry, N. Ireland; from John Boudreau of Saugus, Massachusetts; from Khosro Jafari Zadeh of Ahvaz, Iran; from Kevin Witman of Cochranville, PA;

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. [comment]
On January 22, 2008 there were 921 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Jan. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2005 WJ56
Jan. 10
10.9 LD
1.2 km
2008 AF3
Jan. 13
1.0 LD
27 m
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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