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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 308.7 km/sec
density: 4.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2345 UT Sep08
24-hr: B1
1705 UT Sep08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2345 UT
Daily Sun: 08 Sept. 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots.. Photo credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 07 Sept 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 6 days
2009 total: 199 days (79%)
Since 2004: 710 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 07 Sept 2009

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= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.6 nT
Bz: 0.1 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Sep 08 2206 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: 2009 Sep 08 2206 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
September 8, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you miss the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.


REGION OF INTEREST: The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is monitoring an active region that could mark the location of an emerging sunspot. Readers with solar telescopes, train your optics on the sun's western limb.

DOUBLE FLYBY ALERT: Space shuttle Discovery undocked from the International Space Station today, Sept. 8th, at 3:26 p.m. EDT. The two spacecraft will now proceed to streak through the night sky side by side, distinct but tightly-spaced points of light--a fabulous sight!

Check our Simple Satellite Tracker for flybys.

Yesterday evening, Parks Squyres photographed the ISS and Discovery while they were still joined together gliding through the twilight skies of SaddleBrooke, Arizona:

"I took the picture using a Nikon D80 set at ASA 200 for 45 seconds," says Squyres. "The combined spacecraft were very bright."

more images: from Paolo Beltrame of Mortegliano (UD), Italy; from Hal Yeager of downtown Birmingham, Alabama

PREMATURE MOONRISE: On Sunday, Sept. 6th, photographer John Stetson watched the Moon rise over Casco Bay, Maine, and realized something was not quite right. "The Moon was early," he says. "It appeared a few minutes before the time predicted by the US Naval Observatory." What happened? To find the answer, scroll past the premature Moon:

"The light of the Moon was refracted by Earth's atmosphere so that the Moon's image bent around the curvature of the earth. This caused it to appear earlier than expected," explains Stetson. Refraction also gave the Moon its distorted shape, a red fringe along the bottom and a green fringe on top. Stetson documented the full extent of the Moon's "playful illusions" in this sequence of photos.

Readers, check the US Naval Observatory's web site to find moonrise times for your hometown--and start watching early!

EXTRA: A more detailed discussion of Stetson's photo by atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley may be found here.

August 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Augusts: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001]

Explore the Sunspot Cycle

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 September 8, 2009 there were 1068 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Sept. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 QC35
Sept. 2
2.9 LD
35 m
2009 HD21
Sept. 29
22.9 LD
1.0 km
1998 FW4
Sept. 29
8.6 LD
550 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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