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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 481.7 km/sec
density: 1.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A4
2055 UT Feb03
24-hr: B1
0540 UT Feb03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2345 UT
Daily Sun: 03 Feb. 10
Sunspot 1043 is a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 11
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 02 Feb 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 2 days (6%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 772 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 02 Feb 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 75 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 02 Feb 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.6 nT
Bz: 1.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Feb. 10th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Feb 03 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: 2010 Feb 03 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
February 3, 2010

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


SOLAR DYNAMICS OBSERVATORY: The most advanced solar observatory ever built is set to launch from Cape Canaveral on Feb. 9th. The liftoff of SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory) such a big event, the staff of is traveling to Florida to report on it. Until then, watch this movie about SDO from NASA. See also SDO movies for kids.

POLAR ACTIVITY ON MARS: Amateur astronomers monitoring Mars have noticed a sudden change in the appearance of the planet's arctic regions. "Over the weekend a dust stream appeared," reports Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK, "and it is cutting across Mars' north polar cap." He photographed the activity using a 14-inch Celestron:

Polar dust storms are common at this time of year on Mars. It is springtime in the Martian north. Temperature differences between polar ice and darker regions to the south, which are heated by the springtime sun, stir up winds and streamers of rusty-red dust. In years past, the Hubble Space Telescope has observed dramatic dust storms at the edge of the northern polar cap--and now amateurs are seeing them, too. Train your optics here.

more images: from Günther Strauch of Borken, NRW; Germany; from Juan Miguel González Polo of Cáceres, Spain; from Glenn Jolly of Gilbert, Arizona;

POLAR ACTIVITY ON EARTH: With the solar wind blowing at high speed, February is shaping up to be a good month for Northern Lights. "Last night around midnight, there was a big outburst of auroras," says Fredrik Broms of Kvaløya, Norway. "The local magnetometer was going wild!"

He caught these green streamers winding above the tree tops using a Nikon D3 set at ISO 800 for a 3-second exposure.

Polar sky watchers should take note of those settings because more auroras are in the offing. A solar wind stream is en route to Earth and it could spark a bright display when it arrives on or about Feb. 10th. Don't miss it.

UPDATED: February Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Februarys: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]


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 February 3, 2010 there were 1094 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Jan. 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 AL2
Jan. 11
11.5 LD
23 m
24761 Ahau
Jan. 11
70.8 LD
1.4 km
2000 YH66
Jan. 12
69.5 LD
1.1 km
2010 AL30
Jan. 13
0.3 LD
18 m
2010 AG3
Jan. 19
8.9 LD
14 m
2010 AN61
Jan. 19
8.0 LD
17 m
2010 AF40
Jan. 21
2.3 LD
43 m
2010 BC
Jan. 24
7.6 LD
160 m
2010 BU2
Jan. 27
6.4 LD
52 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 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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