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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 483.4 km/sec
density: 1.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2244 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Feb04
24-hr: A1
1340 UT Feb04
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 04 Feb 08
Decaying sunspot 982 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 14
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 03 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= 1 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: 2.9 nT
Bz: 0.9 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 04 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 04 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
02 %
02 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %

What's up in Space
February 4, 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

MAMMOTH PROMINENCE: "There's a lovely prominence on the southwestern edge of the Sun today," reports Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK. "With a little imagination and a solar telescope, you can see a wooly mammoth wandering along the Sun's limb--at least, that's what it looked like to me: photo."

more images: from John Nassr of Baguio, Philippines; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

CELESTIAL TRIANGLE: Geometry has never been so lovely. On Monday morning, Feb. 4th, a splendid celestial triangle beamed through the rosy glow of dawn:

Photographer Robert B Slobins sends this picture of Venus, Jupiter and the Moon in scalene formation over Prague. Is the sun rising where you live? Dash outside and look southeast; the same triangle is waiting for you: sky map.

more images: from Michael Boschat on the roof of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; from Babak Tafreshi of Firouzkooh, Iran; from Jan Huisken of San Francisco, California; from Volker Borchers of Zeitlarn, Germany; from Jean-Paul Godard of St Pierre, Martinique island; from Laurent Laveder of Quimper, Bretagne, France; from Becky Ramotowski of Tijeras, New Mexico; from Ginger Mayfield of Divide, Colorado; from Bryan Murahashi of San Jose, Ca; from Remus N. of Bucharest, Romania;

3D BONUS: Grab your 3D glasses. Tom Wagner has prepared a red-blue anaglyph of Venus and Jupiter side-by-side 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.

GOLDEN WAVES: Standing on the back deck of his house in the Santa Monica mountains of California, photographer Gary Palmer bent over his Coronado SolarMax90 to peer into the heart of sunspot 982. And what did he see? "A field of wheat in a wind storm!" Or so it seemed:

Earth inserted for scale. Click to view the full-sized (9 MB) movie.

Palmer's IMAX-style movie gives a whole new meaning to "golden waves of grain." The motions are not, however, waves of wheat but waves of magnetism. Magnetic fields just above the sun's boiling surface shimmy back and forth, guiding Texas-sized jets of gas this way and that in a mesmerizing dance accessible to anyone with a back deck and a solar telescope.

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 4, 2008 there were 924 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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