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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 289.8 km/sec
density: 0.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Jun12
24-hr: A0
1305 UT Jun12
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 12 June 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 11 Jun 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 2 days
2009 total: 128 days (79%)
Since 2004: 639 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 11 Jun 2009

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= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.1 nT
Bz: 2.9 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 Jun 12 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: 2009 Jun 12 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
June 12, 2009

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


MORNING PLANETS: Mark your calendar for June 19th. On that Friday morning, Venus, Mars and the crescent Moon will gather in the pre-dawn sky for a lovely triple conjunction. It's a great way to begin the day. [sky map]

SPACE STATION TRANSIT: "Yesterday, there were many clouds over the Black Forest," reports German photographer Achim Schaller. "Fortunately, a really stormy wind pushed them away just 20 seconds before the International Space Station passed in front of the sun!" He photographed the silhouette using a 3-inch refracting telescope and a Nikon D700:

"Have a look at the trees bent by the storm," he says.

The shape of the ISS, so beautifully highlighted in Schaller's photo, is going to change next week when space shuttle Endeavour visits the station and delivers a porch. You read that right--a porch. The purpose of the addition is not for astronauts to sit outside and watch the stars. It's for science: experiments that require hard vacuum or radiation exposure can be placed "out on the porch" to take advantage of the station's unique research environment. Launch is scheduled for June 13th.

Readers, you may be able to see the Endeavour-ISS combo with your own eyes. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flybys.

REFLECTION RAINBOW: At the end of the day on June 11th, a rainstorm swept over Bountiful, Utah. Local resident Mark Turner walked outside to enjoy the rainbow, "but it looked odd," he says. "There were two rainbows, equally bright, and each had a different center of radius." (continued below)

"We soon realized that the two rainbows were caused by two different sources of light: (1) the sun beaming directly through a hole in the clouds and (2) the sun's reflection off the Great Salt Lake." The second is called a "reflection rainbow," and it is a rare sight.

"Once we realized how unusual this was, we raced to get my camera, but by that time the rainbow caused by the reflection had faded to a fraction of its previous luminosity. I still managed to capture the two 'bows together before the reflection rainbow completely faded away."

Rainbows come in a variety of forms. The reflection rainbow Turner photographed is just one of many you can see if you are alert for the unusual. Start looking here.

UPDATED: 2009 Noctilucent Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]

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 June 12, 2009 there were 1063 potentially hazardous asteroids.
June 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 KR21
June 1
0.7 LD
21 m
2009 KL8
June 1
5.1 LD
63 m
2003 QO104
June 9
36.8 LD
2.9 km
1994 CC
June 10
6.6 LD
1.2 km
2001 FE90
June 28
7.0 LD
435 m
2002 KL6
June 28
57.5 LD
1.4 km
2006 MV1
June 30
9.6 LD
20 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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