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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 367.6 km/sec
density: 4.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Aug01
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Aug01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 01 Aug 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Photo credit: Kim Groth of Sonderborg, Denmark
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 31 July 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= 1 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: 4.1 nT
Bz: 1.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Aug 01 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 Aug 01 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
August 1, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of July 12th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

FLYING SPACE JUNK: The Early Ammonia Servicer (EAS), a refrigerator-sized piece of space junk thrown overboard from the International Space Station last year, is expected to re-enter Earth's atmosphere in late 2008 or early 2009. It should make a nice fireball. Meanwhile, you can see the EAS intact as it zips across the night sky almost as bright as the stars of the Big Dipper. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flyby times.

SOLAR ECLIPSE: Earlier today, ordinary sunbeams in Europe and Asia shape-shifted, suddenly taking the form of crescents. That's what happens during a solar eclipse. In Esfahan, Iran, the sun was about 20% covered when Mohamad Soltanolkotabi photographed these crescents decorating the floor of the Sheikh Lutffullah mosque:

"Sunlight beaming through windows in the Mosque's dome created these eclipsed suns on the floor," he explains.

Meanwhile in Novosibirsk, Russia, the Moon covered the sun 100%, completely extinguishing all sunbeams. Eclipse chaser Anthony Ayiomamitis took advantage of the darkness to photograph the sun's corona and a pair of stunning diamond rings: pictures. Browse the gallery for more:

UPDATED: Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[interactive eclipse map]

WATER ON MARS CONFIRMED: For the first time, the Phoenix Mars Lander has "touched and tasted" water on the red planet. The milestone came just two days ago when Phoenix's robotic arm successfully dumped a sample of soil into one of the lander's internal ovens. Heat was applied and water vapor emerged. VoilĂ ! H20.

This chemical evidence confirms visual clues that have been accumulating since Phoenix landed in May. Put on your 3D glasses and consider the following:

Click to view the full-sized anaglyph

The anaglyph was made by Patrick Vantuyne using images taken by Phoenix's stereo camera. It shows the same trench 42 martian days apart. The arrow points out a new shadow where a patch of ground has seemingly disappeared. "The only explanation is that an exposed layer of ice-rich material is slowly sublimating, causing the surface to drop a few millimeters," says Vantuyne. Other patches of white material in the image have likewise changed in response to solar heating.

Phoenix's Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer oven confirms that the changes are genuine signs of martian water. The next step for Phoenix's chemistry lab: conduct tests for nutrients and minerals that could support life in moist martian soil. NASA has extended Phoenix's mission an extra 30 days to allow such tests to be done. Get the full story from

2008 Noctilucent Cloud Gallery
[Strange Clouds] [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 August 1, 2008 , there were 965 potentially hazardous asteroids.
July 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2003 YE45
July 13
16.5 LD
1.4 km
2008 BT18
July 14
5.9 LD
1.0 km
2003 LC5
July 15
62 LD
1.4 km
2008 NP3
July 17
6.8 LD
85 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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