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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 722.8 km/sec
density: 1.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2005 UT Apr08
24-hr: A0
2005 UT Apr08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 08 Apr 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 Apr 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals a possible sunspot on the far side of the sun. However, it may be an artifact of noise in the data processing. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 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: 3.6 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Apr 08 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 Apr 08 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
30 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
What's up in Space
April 8, 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

MOONBUGGY RACE: Contestants in NASA's 15th Annual Great Moonbuggy Race have crossed the finish line, and the winner is.... Read today's story from Science@NASA to find out who crashed and who triumphed in the adventurous competition.

LUNA AND THE SEVEN SISTERS: Cast an eye over the photo below and, using your imagination, insert to the left of the crescent Moon a sparkling star cluster. Too good to be true? It's going to happen on April 8th when the crescent Moon glides by the Pleiades: sky map.

Photo credit: Alexander Birkner of Eppelborn, Germany: more

Also known as the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades are a cluster of stars 400 light years from Earth. The brightest seven of these blue-white beauties form a little dipper visible to the naked eye even from urban areas. The Moon will come so close to the Pleiades, they almost overlap!

To see this delicate conjunction, go outside after sundown, face west and locate the Moon. Scan the area around the crescent with binoculars and you will see not just seven but dozens of sparkling stars, some winking in and out coquettishly behind the mountainous lunar limb. Be careful, though, this kind of beauty can be perilous.

more images: from Mark D. Marquette of Johnson City, Tennessee; from Gilles & Camille Dawidowicz of Corbeil-Essonnes, France; from Günther Strauch of Borken, NRW, Germany; from Geir Øye of Ørsta, Norway; from Oana Suciu of Turda, Romania; from Elias Chasiotis of Athens, Greece; from Antonios Pantelidis of Florina, Greece; from Peter Pulles of the Netherlands; from Pavel Klimes of Hostivice, Czech Republic; from Jim Kurtz of Kalamazoo, Michigan; from Etienne Lecoq of Normany, France;

BRIGHT SPACESHIP: The International Space Station is growing. In the past six months alone, astronauts have unfurled 230-ft solar wings, added a 30,000-lb docking port (Harmony), installed a 28,000-lb science lab (Columbus) and, while they were at it, a European robot ship (Jules Verne) flew up to the ISS and docked itself.

It all adds up to a spaceship so big and bright, it shines right through the clouds:

"April 4th was a cloudy night, but the space station was easy to see," says Dave P. Smith who took the picture from Bluebell Hill, Kent, England, using his Canon PowerShot A540. "Lights shining upward from town made the clouds orange," he explains.

Later this week, scenes like this will appear over North America. On April 9th the space station begins an 8-day series of bright evening flybys. Canadian and US readers can find out when to look using our new Simple Satellite Flybys tool.

more images: from Jacob Kuiper of De Bilt, The Netherlands; from Pavel Klimes of Hostivice, Czech Republic; from Zoltan Kollath at the Zselic Landscape Protection Area, Hungary

March 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 April 8, 2008 there were 946 potentially hazardous asteroids.
April 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 FH5
Apr. 2
7.6 LD
17 m
2001 QO142
Apr. 6
34 LD
685 m
2008 GF1
Apr. 7
0.8 LD
10 m
2005 BE2
Apr. 10
62 LD
1.0 km
2005 NB7
Apr. 17
16 LD
705 m
2008 FU6
Apr. 22
62 LD
1.4 km
2005 TB
Apr. 28
47 LD
1.3 km
2001 DQ8
Apr. 30
74 LD
1.1 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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