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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 626.7 km/sec
density: 3.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2125 UT Feb12
24-hr: A0
2125 UT Feb12
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 12 Feb 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 11 Feb 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no large sunspots on the far side of the sun. 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: 2.4 nT
Bz: 2.3 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 Feb 12 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 Feb 12 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
35 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
40 %
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %

What's up in Space
February 12, 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

PROM ALERT: "A great display of prominences is underway," reports Gil Esquerdo of Tucson, Arizona, who photographed the scene on Feb. 11th using a Coronado SolarMax60. Where should you target your solar telescope? The giant flame-like shapes can be found all around the limb of the sun. In short, you can't miss.

more images: from Emiel Veldhuis of Zwolle, the Netherlands; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Erika Rix of Zanesville, Ohio;

SIGHTINGS: "No, this is not a flight of butterflies!" says Sylvain Weiller of Saint Rémy lès Chevreuse, France. "It is the International Space Station photographed last night through my 8-inch telescope, hand-guided."

Lining up and stacking all the winged creatures produces something quite wonderful, as shown in this view captured by Ralf Vandebergh on Feb. 10th when the ISS flew over his backyard observatory in the Netherlands. Vandebergh's photo reveals, among other things, "the backside of shuttle Atlantis. Shuttles docked to the ISS are not always easy to see because of the station's hard lights and dark shadows," he notes. But on this night "seeing was good."

more images: from David Campbell at the University of Herfordshire, Hatfield, UK; from Marco Langbroek of Leiden, the Netherlands; from Jan Koeman of Middelburg, The Netherlands; from Pierre-Paul Feyte of Blaziert, Gascony, France; from Martin Mc kenna of Maghera, Co. Derry, N. Ireland; from Colzani Enrico of the Sormano Astronomical Observatory, Sormano (Co) Italy; from Quintus Oostendorp of Vaassen, The Netherlands; from Eugene Miller of Brooklyn, NY.

SPIDERS AT WORK: "Yesterday -- it was a beautiful day in Holland -- I noticed that the surface of the fields seemed to be reflecting the light of the low sun," reports Jan Hemmer of Noordholland. "Looking more closely I discovered that spiders had been busy covering the grass with horizontal threads and that those seen perpendicular to the sunrays made a reflecting surface."

"The strands of web have produced a glitter path in the grass," explains atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "Humans can do the same thing with vineyard wires and scratched windows. Wet branches and twigs produce rings of light. But the spider wins for it makes rainbows and mysterious bars of colors that we have yet to explain."

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 February 12, 2008 there were 923 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Feb. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 CT1
Feb. 5
0.3 LD
13 m
2007 DA
Feb. 12
9.8 LD
140 m
4450 Pan
Feb. 19
15.9 LD
1.6 km
2002 TD66
Feb. 26
16.7 LD
440 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 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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