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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 646.6 km/sec
density: 1.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1650 UT Apr07
24-hr: A0
1650 UT Apr07
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 07 Apr 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 06 Apr 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals a possible sunspot on the far side of the sun. However, it may be an artifact of noise in the data processing. Check tomorrow's farside image for confirmation. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.4 nT
Bz: 0.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: Hinode X-ray Telescope.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Apr 07 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 Apr 07 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
25 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
35 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
What's up in Space
April 7, 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.   mySKY

AURORA WATCH: Northern sky watchers, be alert for auroras tonight. A solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetic field and causing intermittent geomagnetic storms.

CRESCENT MOON ALERT: The Moon is putting on a show in the sunset sky that began on Sunday, April 6th, and climaxes on Tuesday, April 8th, when the crescent Moon passes almost directly in front of the Pleiades star cluster. The delicate conjunction of Luna and the Seven Sisters is something you won't want to miss: sky map.

"I've been a stargazer for 20 years, but I've never seen such a slim crescent as I did last night," reports French photographer Laurent Laveder. "The Moon was 15 hours and 38 minutes old and its phase only 0.7 percent." He used a Canon 30D to record the view from Le Guilvinec, Bretagne:

Click to play the movie

"At first I couldn't see the Moon," he says, "and then it appeared in my binoculars through a hole in the clouds. After 20 years of preparation I was ready to take the picture."

The view improves tonight, April 7th, when a still-slender 6% crescent materializes higher in the sky, well away from the glare of the sun. Set against the cobalt-blue of early evening, the Moon reveals its lovely da Vinci glow, a pale impression of the full Moon inside the vivid crescent. Take a look! But be careful, this is perilous beauty.

more images: from Gino Audet of Bonaventure, Qu├ębec; from Doug Zubenel of Johnson Co., Kansas; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Sherman Williams of Avonport, Nova Scotia, Canada; from Dave Vervaeke of Grimsby, Ontario, Canada;

DARK MOZART: NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft has beamed back a new photo of Mozart, but it doesn't look much like Amadeus:

This is the Mozart, the crater. MESSENGER took the picture on January 14th during the spacecraft's historic flyby of Mercury. On that planet craters are named for people who have made important contributions to the arts--e.g., Mozart, Vivaldi, Matisse and others. Crater Mozart was christened in the 1970s after its discovery by Mariner 10, the first spacecraft to visit Mercury.

MESSENGER's new picture of Mozart shows something Mariner 10 missed: strange dark markings on the crater floor and dark rays shooting across the crater's upthrust rims. What is this material? No one knows, but it is probably kin to the mysterious dark halos found around other craters in nearby Caloris Basin. Spectral data gathered by Messenger and being analyzed now by mission scientists may yet reveal Mozart's composition.

March 2008 Aurora Gallery
[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. [comment]
On April 7, 2008 there were 946 potentially hazardous asteroids.
April 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 FH5
Apr. 2
7.6 LD
17 m
2001 QO142
Apr. 6
34 LD
685 m
2008 GF1
Apr. 7
0.8 LD
10 m
2005 BE2
Apr. 10
62 LD
1.0 km
2005 NB7
Apr. 17
16 LD
705 m
2008 FU6
Apr. 22
62 LD
1.4 km
2005 TB
Apr. 28
47 LD
1.3 km
2001 DQ8
Apr. 30
74 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 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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