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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 472.5 km/sec
density: 2.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Jun06
24-hr: A0
0505 UT Jun06
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 06 Jun 08
A small but active sunspot is emerging in the sun's southern hemisphere. "I imaged it for an hour and it changed appearance regularly," reports Malcolm Park of London, England.

"I confirm Malcolm's finding that the region is actively changing," adds Maxim Usatov of Prague, Czech Republic. "Here's an image from this morning."

Daily Sun photo credit: SOHO/MDI;
Sunspot number: 12
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 06 June 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals one possible sunspot at high latitudes 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: 5.6 nT
Bz: 3.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Jun 06 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 Jun 06 2203 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
June 6, 2008
FLYBY ALERT! Space shuttle Discovery launched on May 31st. Get your flyby alerts from Space Weather PHONE  

MOON SHOW: When the sun sets tonight, go outside and look west. Saturn, Mars and the slender crescent Moon are making a pretty line across the sky. Consider it a prelude to an even better show this weekend featuring a Mars-Moon conjunction on Saturday and a tight celestial triangle on Sunday. Let the Moon be your guide: June 6th, 7th, 8th.

images: from Mahdi Rahimi of Isfahan, Iran; from Mohammad Soltanolkottabi of Esfahan, Iran; from Elias Chasiotis of Athens, Greece; from P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden; from Niloofar Khavari of Dehkade, Karaj, Iran; from Miguel Claro of Almada, Portugal

SCOOP TWO: Phoenix's robotic arm has taken its second scoop out of Mars. The resulting trench reveals a splash of mysterious white material just below the topsoil. Put on your 3D glasses for an in-depth look:

Graphic artist Patrick Vantuyne of Belgium created the anaglyph by combining right- and left-eye images from Phoenix's stereo camera. Staring for a while improves the 3D effect; indeed, the full-sized anaglyph may make you feel as if you're about to fall in. Don't worry, the actual trench is only 1.5-inches deep.

The white substance in the trench is an unknown. It could be ice, salt, or something else entirely. Researchers may have found a clue in images from Phoenix's onboard microscope. This week, the microscope got its first look at specks of dust and soil, and there was a translucent particle shining relatively white against the ambient red. Researchers say it looks like a grain of salt, but they can't be sure. The final answer won't be known until Phoenix tips a sample into the lander's mass spectrometer. Stay tuned for chemical analysis!

LONG DISTANCE SPACE STATION: The International Space Station (ISS) has grown so big and bright that on June 3rd when the sprawling spacecraft flew over southern France, amateur astronomer Ralf Vandebergh was able to photograph it from the Netherlands. "Normally, I would never try to photograph the ISS so close to the horizon (34o elevation), but there was an important spacewalk going on and I really wanted to capture the scene."

Vandebergh tracked the ISS by hand, manually guiding his 10-inch telescope while a digital video camera recorded the view through the eyepiece. "In the animation, keep an eye on the space shuttle Discovery and you may be surprised how much detail you can see," he says.

Not visible in the animation are the ant-like figures of spacewalking astronauts busily working to install a new bus-sized module (Japan's Kibo science lab) delivered the previous day in the cargo hold of the space shuttle. The installation was a success and now the ISS is even bigger and brighter than before.

This weekend the ISS is making a series of lovely flybys over the Americas. Please try our Simple Flybys tool to find out when to look.

more images: from Dan Earl of Grass Valley, Oregon; from Bryan of Babylon, New York; from Steve Newcomb of Oakland, Maryland; from Paco Bellido of Córdoba, Spain;

May 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-sky Cameras]

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 June 6, 2008 there were 956 potentially hazardous asteroids.
June-July 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 KO
June 1
4.4 LD
60 m
2008 KT
June 3
3.3 LD
9 m
2008 KN11
June 22
9.0 LD
110 m
1999 VU
June 29
65 LD
1.6 km
2008 BT18
July 14
5.9 LD
1.0 km
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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