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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 464.6 km/sec
density: 1.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Jun07
24-hr: A0
1600 UT Jun07
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 07 Jun 08
Yesterday's tiny sunspot is rapidly vanishing, leaving the sun once again blank. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 07 June 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= 3 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: 4.3 nT
Bz: 2.7 nT south
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 07 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 07 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
June 7, 2008
FLYBY ALERT! Space shuttle Discovery launched on May 31st. Get your flyby alerts from Space Weather PHONE  

MOON-MARS TONIGHT: Have you been looking for Phoenix? It's on that little red dot right beside the Moon. Tonight, after sunset, go outside and look west. The Moon and Mars are gathered together only a few degrees apart. This makes Mars and all its inhabitants easy to find: sky map.

PHOENIX UPDATE: Phoenix's scoop has dumped its load (pictured below) into the TEGA furnace, but the material may not have made it past a screen designed to protect the system from clogging. "I think it's the cloddiness of the soil and not having enough fine granular material [to pass through the screen]," says science team member Ray Arvidson "In future, we may prepare the soil by pushing down on the surface with the arm before scooping up the material to break it up, then sprinkle a smaller amount over the door." [more]

WHITE CLOD: The crumbly material in this photo is about to be dumped into a furnace on Mars. The furnace is an oven inside the Phoenix lander, and the material is a scoop of Mars itself:

On June 5th, Phoenix's robotic arm gathered this sample of topsoil from a spot called "Baby Bear." It contains one of the mysterious white clods seen here and there on the ground around Phoenix and also contained in previous test scoops. Is it ice, salt, or something new and unexpected?

A trip to the furnace may tell. Phoenix's Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA) is a combination high-temperature furnace and mass spectrometer. Material vaporized by the furnace is "sniffed" by the mass spectrometer to determine its chemical composition. Stay tuned for updates.

3D BONUS: Put on your 3D glasses and take a look at this image of Phoenix's scoop holding the white clod and poised to pour it through the open doors of TEGA's furnace. Patrick Vantuyne of Belgium created the anaglyph using right- and left-eye images from Phoenix's stereo camera. more: Mars Yeti, One small step..., Vines, Scoop Two.

CORONA LIGHT: Yesterday, when the International Space Station (ISS) cut through the evening twilight over Tucson, Arizona, photographer Scott Peshia had his camera ready and captured the flyby. He calls this snapshot Corona Light:

The ISS in blue sky? That's right, absolute darkness is no longer required to see the ISS. The growing space station is now brighter than Venus and more than one reader has reported seeing it in broad daylight. Space shuttle Discovery is currently docked to the ISS, which makes the complex brighter still. It's a beautiful sight. Please try our Simple Flybys tool to find out when to look.

Also, be alert for flares. Dave Nelson of Stoughton, Wisconsin, reports "I just watched the ISS go over tonight (June 6th)--a nice pass almost directly overhead. Then, as the ISS headed east, it flared better than any Iridium!" This is caused by sunlight glinting off one of the station's many flat surfaces. ISS flares are currently unpredictable; they are a breathtaking surprise.

more images: from Mike Borman of Evansville, Indiana; 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 7, 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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