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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 370.1 km/sec
density: 2.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B4
2045 UT Jun11
24-hr: B4
2045 UT Jun11
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 11 Jun 10
Sunspot 1078 is still growing, but it is turning away from Earth and thus poses a declining threat for Earth-directed flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 41
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 10 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 10 Jun 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 73 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 10 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: 2.8 nT
Bz: 1.3 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole is expected to hit Earth on or about June 16th. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jun 11 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 11 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
June 11, 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.


MYSTERY OF THE MISSING DEBRIS: On June 3rd, amateur astronomers were startled by a bright flash of light on Jupiter. It appeared to be an impact event--a comet or asteroid hitting the planet's cloudtops. Curiously, though, the strike left no obvious debris. Was it really an impact--or something else? Today's story from Science@NASA discusses the possibilities.

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:

Update: Time Lapse Video!

"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.

We Earthlings are having the true close encounter. Comet McNaught (C/2009 R1) is gliding through the inner solar system, due to 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, 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 Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn of Grimsby, Ontario; from Gregg Ruppel of Ellisville, MO; from Michael J├Ąger of Turmkogel, Austria; from Scott Tucker of Tucson, Arizona; from Jeff Greenwald of Laramie, Wyoming; from Feys Filip at the Public observatory "Sasteria" in Crete; from Gary of Fort Davis, TX; from Baqir of Quetta, Pakistan

MAGNETIC UNREST: The magnetic field of sunspot 1078 is in a state of considerable unrest. Explosive reconnection events are happening every few minutes, resulting in a staccato rat-a-tat of low-level solar flares. The following movie from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory gives a one-hour sampling of the action:

movies: 0.8 MB mpeg; 0.6 MB iPad; 0.4 MB iPhone

Eventually, this growing sunspot could unleash a truly significant flare. Our planet, however, is not in the line of fire. Sunspot 1078 is turning away from Earth and will soon disappear over the sun's western limb. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to catch it before it goes.

more images: from John C McConnell of Maghaberry Northern Ireland; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from Pavol Rapavy of Observatory Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia

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 11, 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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