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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 384.6 km/sec
density: 0.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2244 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2010 UT Apr02
24-hr: B1
2010 UT Apr02
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 02 Apr 08
Old-cycle sunspots 987 and 988 are about to disappear over the sun's western limb. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 25
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 31 Mar 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= 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: 3.1 nT
Bz: 1.2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on April 5th. Credit:SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Apr 02 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 02 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
April 2, 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: High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on or about April 5th. That's when a solar wind stream is due to hit Earth's magnetic field. A similar encounter on March 27th produced Northern Lights over the United States as far south as Michigan and Oregon: gallery.

JULES VERNE & THE ISS: "We were at the perfect place at the perfect time," writes Andrew Greenwood from Cheshire, England. "On the first Tuesday of every month, the Macclesfield Astronomical Society meets at the world-famous Jodrell Bank Observatory. Towards the end of yesterday evening, the clouds parted long enough for us all to stand beneath the mighty Lovell telescope and watch Jules Verne and the International Space Station (ISS) silently glide by." He recorded the scene in a 60-second exposure with his Nikon D50:

"The ISS was particularly striking as it flickered on and off as it flew 'through' the metal structure of the telescope. It reminded me of how the Pleiades, seen behind winter trees, have been likened to 'fireflies in a tangled braid.' We all agreed that it was certainly a memorable observation, so much so that as the spacecraft disappeared into the Earth's shadow we gave them a round of applause!"

Another round of applause goes to European Space Agency engineers who built the remarkable Jules Verne. The robotic cargo carrier is able to maneuver around the ISS with pinpoint precision using its own onboard intelligence and optical sensors; human guidance is not required. Verne's historic first automated docking with the ISS takes place on April 3rd.

more images: from Dave Storey of Douglas, Isle of Man, Great Britain; from Martin McKenna of Maghera, Co. Derry, N. Ireland; from Richard Buckley of Llanferres, Clwyd, North Wales; from Steve Holmes of Laxfield, Suffolk, UK; from Martin Gembec of Jablonec n.N. - Kokonín, Czech Republic;

MOON WRECK: Last month, on March 8th, Doug Zubenel decided to photograph the slender crescent moon from a scenic spot in the country near his home in Kansas. He turned his car onto an unfamiliar dirt road and proceeded into the sunset. That's when it happened: "The brilliant setting sun did not allow me to see the cement railings on a bridge over a small creek until I was very close. The next thing I knew, I had totaled my car."

Unscratched and undaunted, Zubenel got out, phoned the tow truck and, while he was waiting for the Sheriff, took the picture:

Another crescent moon like this one is due on April 6th and 7th. It will materialize low in the west as the sun sets and the sky darkens to cobalt blue. "All we need is clear skies," says Zubenel. And, oh, can anybody spare a ride?

more images: from John Chumack of Dayton, Ohio; from James Champagne of Ramah, Louisiana; from Paul Evans of Larne, Northern Ireland; from Jeffrey Berkes of West Chester, PA

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 2, 2008 there were 948 potentially hazardous asteroids.
March 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 DH5
Mar. 5
7.1 LD
60 m
2008 EZ7
Mar. 9
0.4 LD
18 m
2008 ED8
Mar. 10
1.4 LD
64 m
2008 EF32
Mar. 10
0.2 LD
6 m
2008 EM68
Mar. 10
0.6 LD
12 m
1620 Geographos
Mar. 17
49 LD
3 km
2003 FY6
Mar. 21
6.3 LD
145 m
2008 FK
Mar. 23
0.8 LD
15 m
2008 FP
Mar. 29
0.4 LD
23 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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