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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 631.9 km/sec
density: 0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A6
2000 UT Apr05
24-hr: B1
1250 UT Apr05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 05 Apr. 10
New sunspot 1060 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 40
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 Apr 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 6 days (6%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 776 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 04 Apr 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 79 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 04 Apr 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 7
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.7 nT
Bz: 3.2 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 April 6th or 7th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Apr 05 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 Apr 05 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
35 %
20 %
20 %
10 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
40 %
25 %
30 %
15 %
10 %
What's up in Space
April 5, 2010

NEW AND IMPROVED: Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a field-tested global satellite tracker. The Satellite Flybys app now works in all countries.


GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A sharp gust of solar wind hit Earth's magnetosphere today, April 5th, at approximately 0800 UT and sparked the strongest geomagnetic storm of the year (Kindex=7). Although the storm is subsiding now, it is not over. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras. [gallery].

AMAZING LIFTOFF: Space shuttle Discovery left Earth this morning at 6:21 am EDT in a spectacular dawn launch from Cape Canaveral. The combination of sunrise colors and the comet-like appearance of the departing shuttle astonished onlookers. "It was an awesome sight," says Michael Fertic, who sends this picture from Spring Hill, Florida:

The show continued even after the shuttle was out of sight. Tiny ice crystals in Discovery's lingering exhaust caught the rays of the rising sun and formed an artificial noctilucent cloud of startling brightness. Even veteran observers were impressed. "It was the most incredible launch I have ever seen," says long-time shuttle watcher and part-time NASA medic Dr. Mark Staples of Shands Hospital. "Definitely, it was one of the most spectacular!" agreed Jim Burchfield of nearby St. Cloud, Florida. And Terry Allshouse of Leesburg, Florida, ranked it as "the best of the ten I have witnessed." More superlatives may be found among the links below.

more images: from Mark Staples of Waldo, Florida; from George Fleenor of Bradenton, FL; from Anna Herbst on the NASA Causeway, Titusville, FL; from Terry Allshouse of Leesburg, Florida; from Jim Burchfield of Saint Cloud, Florida; from Adam Bojanowski of Oviedo, Florida; from Jeremy Judkins of Clearwater, Florida

IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER: Do dogs appreciate the sky? Tony Phillips, author of and a longtime dogsledder with twenty Siberian huskies in his backyard, believes the answer could be "yes." Many times he's heard the songs huskies sing at the Moon and caught pairs of blue eyes fixed on a particularly starry sky. It always seems to be more than a blank stare.

With these points in mind, consider the following:

Károly Vicián took the picture on April 4th in Heréd, Hungary. "We had a lot of high cirrus around noontime," he says. "When sunlight hit those icy clouds, a vivid 22o halo appeared in the sky. Later I sighted it in my dog's eye when we were playing, and I bent over for a quick shot with my Nikon D80."

Is it just a reflection, or is there beauty in the eye of the beholder? Readers must decide for themselves; Vicián's dog refuses to say.

more images: from Roberta Welton of Monarch, Utah; from Tibor Hollósy of Budapest, Hungary; from Gilles Boutin of Parc des Pingualuit Nunavik;

UPDATED: April Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Aprils: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 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 April 5, 2010 there were 1110 potentially hazardous asteroids.
March 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2001 PT9
March 3
11.1 LD
305 m
4486 Mithra
March 12
73.5 LD
3.3 km
2001 FM129
March 13
44.1 LD
1.5 km
2010 FU9
March 18
1.5 LD
19 m
2010 EF43
March 18
5.0 LD
23 m
2010 FT
March 27
5.5 LD
33 m
2002 TE66
March 28
48.0 LD
940 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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