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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 322.6 km/sec
density: 2.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Sep01
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Sep01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 01 Sep 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 31 Aug. 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.6 nT
Bz: 1.1 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Sept. 3rd or 4th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Sep 01 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: 2008 Sep 01 2201 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
September 1, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of August 9th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

LABOR DAY BBQ: "What better time for a solar bonfire than Labor Day weekend?" asks Alan Friedman of Buffalo, New York. "I was thrilled to see this tall prominence through my solar-filtered backyard telescope. It's a very active burner showing rapid changes over 30 minutes of observing. Happy Labor Day!"

more images: from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex; from Alan Friedman of Buffalo, New York; from Erika Rix of Zanesville, Ohio

VOLCANIC SUNSETS: Sky watchers across the USA and Europe are reporting unusually colorful sunsets and sunrises. The cause appears to be the August 7th eruption of the Kasatochi volcano in Alaska. The volcano hurled a massive cloud of ash and sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere; high winds have since carried the aerosols over parts of the USA and Europe, producing widespread "volcanic sunsets."

"Last night, we had another beautiful sunset here in Nebraska," reports Jerry Chab of Falls City. "Long colorful sunrays appeared and disappeared, reminding me of the Northern Lights."

Dramatic rays crossing the sky are a hallmark of volcanic sunsets, as are violet domes and red aureoles around Venus. When the sun goes down tonight, look west. You may be in for a treat.

more images: from Jeffrey Berkes at the Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland; from P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden; from Tom Soetaert of Lawrence, Kansas; from Karen Webb of Ridgecrest, California; from Scott Sparrow of Pasadena, CA; from David Smoyer of Truckee, CA; from Martin Popek of Nýdek, Czech Republic; from Kevin Jung of Ada, Michigan; from Grover Schrayer of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania; from Ron van Elst of the Netherlands ; from Adam Kraft of Jackson, Mississippi, from R.J. Waldman of Simi Valley, California; from Jan Koeman of the Netherlands; from Dick McGowan of Olathe, Kansas; from Asti Bhatt of Ithaca, New York; from Catalin M. Timosca of Turda, Romania; from Tamas Ladanyi of Lake Balaton, Hungary;

OLD TRACKS: Mars rover Opportunity is leaving Victoria Crater, and it's exiting the way it came in. Put on your 3D glasses and behold the new tracks beside the old:

Graphic artist Patrick Vantuyne created the anaglyph by combining left- and right-eye images from Opportunity's navigation camera.

"Making stereo images of Mars has become almost routine for me, but it's still a thrill to see something new in 3D, which is hardly visible in a single picture," says Vantuyne. As an example, he notes the clouds in the upper-right corner of the anaglyph. Gaze for a while into the sky and watch the fluff emerge: full-size image.

August 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Science@NASA: Plasma Bullets Spark Northern Lights]

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 September 1, 2008 , there were 977 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Sept. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2003 WT153
Sept. 7
5.8 LD
11 m
1996 HW1
Sept. 12
53 LD
3.7 km
2003 SW130
Sept. 19
8.6 LD
7 m
1998 UO1
Sept. 26
25 LD
2.0 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 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
  a one-stop web hub for all things scientific
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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