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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 612.5 km/sec
density: 1.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2205 UT Feb03
24-hr: A1
1305 UT Feb03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 03 Feb 08
Sunspot 982 is decaying, but it still presents a fantastic view to backyard solar telescopes because of its long and dramatic magnetic filaments. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 16
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 02 Feb 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= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
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 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: Hinode X-Ray Telescope.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Feb 03 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 Feb 03 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
45 %
10 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %

What's up in Space
February 3, 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, be alert for auroras tonight. A high speed solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetic field and causing geomagnetic storms: gallery.

CELESTIAL TRIANGLE: Geometry has never been so lovely. On Monday morning, Feb. 4th, Venus, Jupiter and the slender crescent Moon will arrange themselves as an exquisite celestial triangle, compact and scalene. Set your alarm for dawn and look southeast for a wonderful view: sky map.

This morning John Baxter of New Concord, Ohio, photographed the Moon en route to Jupiter and Venus:

"It was a nice way to begin Super Bowl Sunday," he says.

more images: from Kambiz Khaleghi of Mashhad, Iran; from Carl Blesch of Basking Ridge, New Jersey; from John A Modricker of Cape Cod Canal-Sagamore, Maine; from Yagiz Ozgur Turkkan of Bahcesehir, Istanbul, Turkey; from Ari Koutsouradis of Westminster, Maryland;

3D BONUS: Grab your 3D glasses. Tom Wagner has prepared a red-blue anaglyph of Venus and Jupiter gathered together over Waterloo, Iowa, on Feb 1st: image. "I found this arrangement of Venus and Jupiter especially beautiful and wanted to capture the moment in 3D." No 3D glasses? Click here and cross your eyes.

WINGS OF ICARUS: Yesterday in the Netherlands, Emiel Veldhuis looked through his Personal Solar Telescope and saw "the wings of Icarus!" Such was the appearance of two magnetic filaments spreading from the core of sunspot 982:

"In Greek mythology, Icarus took flight on homemade wings made of feather and wax, but he flew too close to the Sun," says Veldhuis. "The wax melted and Icarus crashed in the sea. Now the wings have returned; will he never learn?"

These Icarian filaments "extend over a third of the sun's visible surface," report observers John Stetson and B. Turner of South Portland, Maine. The feathery structures dwarf Earth itself, and because they do not rely on wax for their integrity, they are sure to last another day. If you have a solar telescope, take a look!

more images: from Francisco A. Rodriguez Ramirez of Observatorio MontaƱa Cabreja, Gran Canaria - Canary Islands; from Franck Charlier of Marines, Val d'Oise - France; from Joel Bavais of Anvaing, Belgium; from Matthias Juergens of Gnevsdorf, Germany; from Michael Borman of Evansville, Indiana; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from John Boyd of Santa Barbara, CA;

2008 Aurora Photo Gallery
[Night-sky Cameras] [Aurora Alerts]

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 February 3, 2008 there were 922 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Feb. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2007 DA
Feb. 12
9.8 LD
140 m
4450 Pan
Feb. 19
15.9 LD
1.6 km
2002 TD66
Feb. 26
16.7 LD
440 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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