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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 411.3 km/sec
density: 3.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Feb05
24-hr: A0
1145 UT Feb05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 05 Feb 08
Decaying sunspot 982 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 14
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 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= 2
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: 2.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is exiting a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: Hinode X-Ray Telescope.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Feb 05 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 05 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %

What's up in Space
February 5, 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

SOLAR ECLIPSE: On Thursday, Feb. 7th, there will be a partial solar eclipse over New Zealand, Antarctica and parts of Australia. Anyone in the area with a solar telescope can watch the mountainous lunar limb glide across the Sun's fiery surface while crescent-shaped sunbeams dance at their feet--a marvelous experience. The highlight of the eclipse occurs along an Antarctic "path of annularity" where the Sun and Moon combine to produce a vivid ring of fire. Stay tuned for photos! [eclipse map] [timetables]

ISS ROBOTIC ARM: Last night, the International Space Station flew over the Netherlands where Ralf Vandebergh was waiting with his 10-inch telescope and a digital camera. This snapshot is the result:

Click to view a movie of the station "twinkling."

"The flyby was at a good angle to capture the station's robotic arm," he notes. It is the elbowed projection about halfway between the port and starboard solar arrays. Named Canadarm after its country of origin, "the arm is an important tool for construction of the space station."

Canadarm is about to get a workout. On Thursday, Feb. 7th, space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to rocket into orbit carrying a new laboratory module for the space station. Canadarm will muscle the 22,700 pound, 23-foot long laboratory into place with assistance (mostly encouragement) from spacewalking astronauts.

"This was a test-shot for imaging the upcoming mission," says Vandebergh. The countdown is underway.

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 5, 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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