You are viewing the page for Aug. 5, 2008
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 336.0 km/sec
density: 3.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1513 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1345 UT Aug05
24-hr: A0
1345 UT Aug05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 1510 UT
Daily Sun: 05 Aug 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 Aug. 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= 2 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: 2.5 nT
Bz: 1.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1515 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on August 10th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Aug 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 Aug 04 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
August 5, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of July 12th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

ISS FLYBYS: If you live in North America, be alert for the ISS this week. The International Space Station is making a series of bright passes over the continent, visible in the evening sky if you know when to look. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flyby times.

photos: from John Boudreau of Saugus, Massachusetts; from Joe Ricci of Rochester, New York

NEW MEXICO FIREBALLS: On Aug. 4th, a bright fireball streaked across the skies of New Mexico. Amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft not only photographed the meteor, but also recorded the "sweet stereophonic shimmering" echoes of distant radio stations bouncing off its ionized trail. Click to listen.

As regular readers know, the annual Perseid meteor shower begins this week, slowly at first, with just a few meteors per hour, then building to a peak dozens of times more intense on Tuesday, August 12th. The source of the shower is Comet Swift-Tuttle, which has littered the August portion of Earth's orbit with space dust.

Yet "this fireball was not a Perseid," notes Ashcraft. It did not fly out of the constellation Perseus as a genuine speck of Comet Swift-Tuttle would. Instead, it was probably a random piece of comet or asteroid, not part of any organized debris stream. Every hour of every night, a few such "sporadic meteors" can be seen from any location on Earth. Most are feeble, but some produce brilliant fireballs, as shown above.

Keep an eye on the sky in the nights ahead. The Perseids are coming and the sporadics are already here. [full story] [sky map]

UPDATE: "There was another nice bursting fireball this morning, Aug. 5th, but still not a Perseid," reports Ashcraft. Click here for images.

GEOGRAPHY QUIZ: A chill breeze cuts the desert heat. Suddenly, Mercury materializes in the afternoon sky, even though the sun has not set. Cheers break out from a 500-year-old watchtower. From these clues, can you guess when and where you are? Scroll down ...

... for the answer: Jiayuguan, China, on August 1st, 2008, during a total eclipse of the sun. "I was able to find a place to combine the Great Wall of China with the eclipse," says photographer Janne Pyykkö. He positioned himself at the Jiayuguan Pass, in the Gobi Desert, at a section of wall constructed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). "In one of the towers, several people were cheering."

Browse the gallery for more stories from the path of totality:

Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[interactive eclipse map]

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 August 5, 2008 , there were 970 potentially hazardous asteroids.
July 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2003 YE45
July 13
16.5 LD
1.4 km
2008 BT18
July 14
5.9 LD
1.0 km
2003 LC5
July 15
62 LD
1.4 km
2008 NP3
July 17
6.8 LD
85 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.
©2019 All rights reserved.