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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 279.6 km/sec
density: 2.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C3
2315 UT Jan02
24-hr: C3
2315 UT Jan02
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 02 Jan. 10
Sunspot 1039 is a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 16
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 01 Jan 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 0 days (0%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 771 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 01 Jan 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 75 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 01 Jan 2010

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= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 0
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.6 nT
Bz: 3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes in the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jan 02 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
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: 2010 Jan 02 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
January 2, 2010

SATELLITE FLYBYS APP: Turn your iPhone or iPod into a field-tested satellite tracker! presents the Satellite Flybys app.


SUNGRAZING COMET ALERT: The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is tracking a comet that is about to make a perilous close approach to the sun: movie, labels. Will the icy visitor survive? Click here for the latest image. (Note: The comet was discovered by Australian amateur astronomer Alan Watson in images taken by NASA's STEREO-A spacecraft.)

FIRST METEORS OF 2010: The annual Quadrantid meteor shower peaks on Jan. 3rd around 1900 UT (2 pm EST) when Earth passes through a stream of debris from shattered comet 2003 EH1. The timing of this northern shower favors observers in eastern Europe and Asia. Bright moonlight will interfere with the display, which can reach 100+ meteors per hour under ideal conditions. In North America, where the peak occurs in daylight, it may be possible to hear the shower on meteor radar. Tune into Space Weather Radio for live echoes.

SNAP, CRACKLE, POP: Sunspot 1039 is putting on a good show for amateur astronomers. "The active region sizzled and popped as I photographed it on Dec. 31st," reports Michael Buxton of Ocean Beach, California. Click on the image to view two hours of action:

"It is quite interesting to watch as energy surges and swirls around the sunspot's dark cores," he says.

2010 appears to be picking up where 2009 left off--with sunspot activity on the rise. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor developments.

more images: from Eric Roel of Valle de Bravo, México; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Matt Wastell of Brisbane, Australia; from Michael Borman of Evansville, Indiana; from Chris Schur of Payson, Arizona;

BLUE MOON ECLIPSE: Blue moons--rare. Blue moons on New Year's Eve--really rare. A lunar eclipse of a Blue Moon on New Year's Eve--well, that's just ridiculous.

Yet that's exactly what happened on Dec. 31st in Europe, Asia, Africa and parts of Alaska. The Blue moon on New Year's Eve passed through the outskirts of Earth's shadow, producing this 8% lunar eclipse:

"The eclipsed 'Blue moon' rose over the Alaska Range just before sunrise," says photographer Calvin Hall of Palmer, Alaska. "It was a beautiful sight."

For the record, the average annual rate of blue Moons is 0.37 per year. The rate of Blue moons on New Year's Eve is 0.05 per year. The rate of lunar eclipses of Blue moons on New Year's Eve is 0.01 per year. Click on the link below to browse a very rare gallery:

UPDATED: Blue Moon Eclipse Gallery
[Science@NASA: Blue Moon on New Year's Eve]

December Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Decembers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2001, 2000]

Explore the Sunspot Cycle

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 2, 2010 there were 1091 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Jan. 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
24761 Ahau
Jan. 11
70.8 LD
1.4 km
2000 YH66
Jan. 12
69.5 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 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
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.













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