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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 432.0 km/sec
density: 2.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A9
2000 UT Jun10
24-hr: A9
2000 UT Jun10
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 10 Jun 10
Sunspot 1078 has developed a complex "beta-gamma" magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 28
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 09 Jun 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 33 days (21%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 801 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 09 Jun 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 72 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 09 Jun 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.3 nT
Bz: 2.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole is expected to hit Earthon or about June 16th. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jun 10 2201 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: 2010 Jun 10 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
June 10, 2010

NEW AND IMPROVED: Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a field-tested global satellite tracker. The Satellite Flybys app now works in all countries.


ASTEROID SAMPLE RETURN: Nearing the end of a seven year, two billion km odyssey, Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft is set to return to Earth this Sunday (7 am PDT) carrying a piece of near-Earth asteroid Itokawa. The sample return capsule will blaze through the atmosphere over Australia and land via parachute in the remote Woomera Test Range. The Hayabasa mothership will follow the capsule into Earth's atmosphere, but never make it to the ground, instead disintegrating in a spectacular fireball. Stay tuned for updates.

FANTASTIC PROMINENCE: A long filament of magnetism circling the sun's north pole is rising into space, producing a truly fantastic prominence. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory took this picture just hours ago:

The extreme ultraviolet image shows a cloud of hot (60,000 K) plasma held suspended above the stellar surface by filamentary magnetic forces. The structure is five times taller than Earth and at least 20 times as long. These dimensions make it a fine target for backyard solar telescopes as well as advanced spacecraft.

If the filament becomes unstable and collapses (as magnetic filaments often do), plasma hitting the stellar surface could explode, resulting in a type of flare called a "Hyder flare." To whet your appetite for action, browse the filament in stunning 4096x4096 resolution.

more images: from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Robert Arnold of Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Pavol Rapavy of Observatory Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia

WATCH OUT FOR THAT COMET: One wonders... Did the inhabitants of galaxy NGC 891 duck when Comet McNaught flew past the edge-on spiral on the morning of June 8th? Mike O'Connor and Tristan Dilapo took this picture of the cosmic close encounter from Colden, New York:

"The comet was only 10 degrees above the horizon," says O'Connor. "Nevertheless, we got a good picture using a 12-inch telescope and an SBIG ST9-E camera."

And, no, the denizens of that distant galaxy did not flinch, flee, duck or take notice in any way. NGC 891 is 30 million light years away, far removed from the willowy tail of Comet McNaught, located right here in our own solar system.

We Earthlings are having the true close encounter. Comet McNaught (C/2009 R1) will approach our planet only 100 million miles away on June 15th and 16th. The approaching comet looks great in small telescopes, and may yet become a naked eye object before the end of the month. Because this is Comet McNaught's first visit to the inner solar system, predictions of future brightness are necessarily uncertain; amateur astronomers should be alert for the unexpected.

Get the full story and a finder chart from Sky & Telescope. See also: ephemeris, 3D orbit.

more images: from Dr Paolo Candy of Ci.A.O. Cimini Astronomical Observatory, Italy; from Michael J├Ąger of Stixendorf, Austria; from Anthony Ayiomamitis of Athens, Greece; from Primoz Cigler of Bohor, Slovenia; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Feys Filip at the Public Observatory "Sasteria" in Crete; from Monika Landy-Gyebnar of Veszprem, Hungary; from Petr Horalek of Ustupky, Czech republic;

May 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Mays: 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002] [aurora alerts]

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 June 10, 2010 there were 1133 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 JR34
May 14
5.8 LD
12 m
2003 HR32
May 17
55.2 LD
1.0 km
2010 JN71
May 26
8.2 LD
245 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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