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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 313.8 km/sec
density: 0.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Jun13
24-hr: A0
0820 UT Jun13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 13 June 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 12 Jun 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 3 days
2009 total: 128 days (79%)
Since 2004: 639 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 12 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= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.7 nT
Bz: 4.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 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 13 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 13 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 13, 2009

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


LAUNCH POSTPONED: Today's scheduled launch of space shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station has been postponed due to a leak in the gaseous hydrogen venting system outside the external fuel tank. Managers officially scrubbed the launch for at least 96 hours, and they say the earliest the shuttle could be ready for liftoff is June 17th. [updates]

SOLAR ACTIVITY: This morning, John Stetson of Portalnd, Maine trained his solar telescope on the sun and witnessed an enormous "triangle of fire." Students P. Fitzpatrick and F. Stewart helped him take this picture:

"We really enjoyed observing and imaging this prominence on the sun's northwestern limb," says Stetson.

Although it resembles fire, no combustion is involved. Prominences are glowing clouds of solar plasma held aloft by magnetic fields. The shape of the prominence traces the shape of the underlying magnetic field--in this case a towering triangle. For scale, Earth would fit beneath the arch with room to spare.

There are many more prominences dancing around the edge of the sun today. Readers, if you have a solar telescope, take a look.

more images: from Patrick Pelletier of Serbannes, France; from Marco Vidovic of Stojnci, Slovenia; from Matthias Juergens of Gnevsdorf, Germany

COSMOLOGY BALLOON: On June 11th, researchers at NASA's Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Texas launched a telescope named EBEX. Its mission: to measure the faint polarization of cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR). Linear polarization of the CMBR could prove that the large-scale structure of the Universe today was cast by tiny quantum fluctuations in space just a split-second after the Big Bang. EBEX is probing the earliest moments of creation.

"After seeing alerts that the balloon was crossing central Arizona, I ran outside with my family," reports Jeremy Perez of Flagstaff. "To the naked eye, it was brilliant against the twilight and definitely non-stellar in appearance." (continued below)

"We got a great look at the balloon and payload through 15 x 70 binoculars. At one point it went through a striking color phase with a delicate pink base and yellow-orange top. I ran in, grabbed my 8-inch telescope and camera (a Canon 300D), and snapped the picture shown above. The great color was gone. but it was still a beautiful sight."

The balloon is still in flight. Sky watchers who wish to attempt a sighting can track its progress here.

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 13, 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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