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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 317.9 km/sec
density: 5.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Sep02
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Sep02
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 02 Sep 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 01 Sept. 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= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.0 nT
Bz: 0.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 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 02 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 02 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
05 %
What's up in Space
September 2, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of August 9th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

LUNAR PERSEIDS: Amateur astronomers watching last month's Perseid meteor shower saw meteoroids hitting not only Earth but also the Moon. The impacts, which they recorded using backyard telescopes and off-the-shelf video cameras, are featured in today's story from Science@NASA.

KASATOCHI MOON: Colorful sunsets caused by the August eruption of Alaska's Kasatochi volcano are still underway in the United States and Europe. Last night, however, "the crescent Moon stole the show," says Edmund E Kasaitis, who sends this picture from Manchester, Maryland:

Compared to previous nights, "the sunset colors and rays seem to have subsided a bit," notes Kasaitis. This could be a result of east winds in the stratosphere carrying Kasatochi's aerosols away from the United States and toward Europe. Indeed, last night in Vallentuna, Sweden, P-M Hedén witnessed an advance of strange high clouds and a new wave of volcanic colors: photos. "It was a lovely sight!"

No matter where you live, look west at tonight's sunset. The crescent Moon is out again and, if the winds are willing, it might be a Kasatochi Moon.

more images: from Bill Jamison of San Diego, CA; from Kevin Jung of Grand Rapids, Michigan; from Christian Pierson of North Ridgeville, Ohio; from Doug Zubenel near De Soto, Kansas; from Adam Kraft of Jackson, Michigan; from Andrew Catsaitis of Peats Ridge, NSW, Australia; from Rick Gens at Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois; from Jeffrey Berkes at the Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland; from Tom Soetaert of Lawrence, Kansas; from Karen Webb of Ridgecrest, California; from Scott Sparrow of Pasadena, CA; from David Smoyer of Truckee, CA;

STEAM DEVILS: Alert. Steam devil season is underway. In late Summer-early Fall when waters are still warm but morning air is growing cold, little tornadoes of steam are often seen dancing across lake surfaces. Iowa photographer Mike Hollingshead caught this one at sunrise on August 29th:

"I saw these amazing devils on a small lake near DeSoto Bend," he says. "The rapid motion in them can be rather captivating if you can get a close enough view; my 400mm lens did the trick."

Steam devils appear when vapor released by a warm lake condenses rapidly in cooler air above. Light winds spin condensing plumes of steam into dancing columns. The bigger the lake, the bigger the devils. Steam devils on Lake Superior have been observed to rise 1500 ft tall!

"These steam devils really seem to prefer the morning shadow line of some trees along the lake shore," notes Hollingshead. "Differential heating must help them get started there." The devilish fog also provided a photogenic backdrop for the crescent Moon and created a crepuscular sun corona: photos. "This is a good time of year to wake up early."

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 2, 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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