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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 309.0 km/sec
density: 1.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1735 UT Jun13
24-hr: A1
0130 UT Jun13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 13 Jun 08
Sunspot 998 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 13
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 12 June 2008
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= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.3 nT
Bz: 3.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about June 16th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Jun 13 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 Jun 13 2203 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 13, 2008
FATHER'S DAY: Skip the tie. This year, give Dad the stars -- a gift subscription to Space Weather PHONE.  

SHUTTLE SIGHTINGS: Space shuttle Discovery is slated to land in Florida on Saturday morning, June 14th, at 11:15 a.m. EDT: ground tracks. This means tonight is your last chance to see Discovery orbiting Earth alongside the ISS. Check our Satellite Tracker to find out if your hometown is favored with a flyby.

Photos: from Rob Ratkowski of Pukalani, Maui; from Graham Palmer of Hastings, New Zealand; from NĂ©stor Camino of Esquel, Patagonia, Argentina.

SPECTACULAR NLCs: "Last night (June 13th), I was amazed by a spectacular display of noctilucent clouds over Maghera, Northern Ireland," reports Martin McKenna. "The glowing blue and white structures were breathtaking and I could see them moving rapidly with my naked eye." He caught the action in this 6-second exposure:

The display extended all the way to the Netherlands. "It was beautiful," says eyewitness Peter Paul Hattinga Verschure of Deventer, who sends this photo.

Summer is the season for NLCs and the first good displays usually come in early June. Right on cue, bright NLCs have been sighted this month in Ireland, N. Ireland, the Netherlands and Canada. What are these glow-in-the-dark clouds? They are swarms of tiny ice crystals about the size of particles in cigarette smoke floating 80+ km above Earth's surface, so high they brush against the edge of space itself. When sunlight strikes the tiny crystals, the clouds glow electric blue.

That is what they are--well known. What makes them, however, is a deep mystery. High-latitude NLCs first appeared in the 19th century after the eruption of super-volcano Krakatoa. At the time the clouds were widely thought to be associated with the eruption, but long after the ash settled, NLCs persisted. In recent years they have intensified and spread with sightings as far south as Utah and Colorado. A NASA spacecraft named AIM is in orbit to investigate.

Readers, especially you at high latitudes, be alert for NLCs in the evenings ahead. Observing tips may be found in our 2008 Noctilucent Cloud Gallery.

Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
["Noctilucent Cloud"--the song] [NLC Basics]

NOT THE ISS: On June 11th in the Netherlands, amateur astronomer Ralf Vandebergh trained his backyard telescope on a speck of light moving across the night sky and snapped this picture:

"It looks like a bad photo of the International Space Station (ISS)," he says, "but it isn't. This is a much much smaller object with an orbit twice as high as that of the ISS."

The little winged spacecraft is SeaSat 1. Launched in June 1978, SeaSat 1 was the first satellite to monitor Earth's oceans using synthetic aperture radar (SAR). A massive short-circuit disabled SeaSat 1 only four months later, but that was time enough to demonstrate the feasibility of SAR ocean studies and blaze a trail for radar-sats of the future.

"This old spacecraft is still in our night sky," says Vandebergh. "The pass on June 11th was amazing. It was [about as bright as a 3rd magnitude star] and visible for 9 minutes in total."

Readers, would you like to see SeaSat 1? We've just added it to our Satellite Tracker: click here for flybys.

May 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-sky Cameras]

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 June 13, 2008 there were 957 potentially hazardous asteroids.
June-July 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 KO
June 1
4.4 LD
60 m
2008 KT
June 3
3.3 LD
9 m
2008 LB
June 9
3.3 LD
26 m
2008 LG2
June 13
9.2 LD
36 m
2008 LC
June 17
9.8 LD
55 m
2008 KN11
June 22
9.0 LD
110 m
2000 AD205
June 26
54 LD
800 m
1999 VU
June 29
65 LD
1.6 km
2008 BT18
July 14
5.9 LD
1.0 km
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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