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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 663.2 km/sec
density: 2.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Feb14
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Feb14
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 14 Feb 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. But wait! There's is one: "Here is Cupid's view of the Sun," says Greg Piepol of Rockville, Maryland. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 Feb 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= 5 mild
24-hr max: Kp= 5
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.1 nT
Bz: 1.5 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 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 14 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 14 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
35 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
40 %
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %

What's up in Space
February 14, 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

HEART NEBULA: Far, far away, 7500 light years from Earth, there's a Valentine waiting for pickup. Astrophotographer John Chumack framed it in the eyepiece of his 4-inch telescope and offers this high-resolution snapshot for anyone who needs a lovely desktop background. "It's the Heart Nebula, also known as IC 1805," he explains. "I thought readers of might like it on Feb. 14th." Happy Valentine's Day!

SPY SATELLITE: Doomed spy satellite USA 193 has been in the news lately because of expectations that it will reenter Earth's atmosphere in March and turn into a spectacular fireball. Reentry has not yet begun, but sky watchers are already noticing the satellite as it zips over Europe and the United States. Friedrich Deters sends this movie from LaGrange, North Carolina:

Click to view the complete movie

The clip shows USA 193 rounding the horizon at dawn on Feb. 10th. "This was the first time I could see the decaying spy satellite," says Deters who photographed it using his Canon Rebel XT. "Too bad I couldn't witness it actually entering the atmosphere; looks like it's traveling pretty quick!"

In fact, USA 193 may never reenter--at least not in one piece. Today, the Pentagon announced plans to blast the satellite with a missile before its orbit completely decays. This would lessen the chances of dangerous satellite debris and fuels reaching the ground while increasing the population of space junk in low-Earth orbit.

Would you like to see USA 193 with your own eyes? It is about to make a series of evening appearances over many US towns and cities, beginning this weekend and continuing until the Pentagon intervenes. Flyby timetables may be found at Heavens Above. You can also receive telephone and email alerts when the satellite is about to fly over your backyard by subscribing to Spaceweather PHONE.

more images: from Becky Ramotowski of Tijeras New Mexico

LOWER SUN PILLAR: A gust of wind on a freezing day can hurl stinging crystals of ice into the air and right ... at ... you. Open your eyes! Those painful crystals may be creating a beautiful display. On such a day last week in Quebec, this sun pillar appeared in midair before photographer David Swan:

"The temperature was -29C and the air was filled with tiny ice crystals," says Swan. Plate-shaped crystals fluttering nearly parallel to the ground reflected the overhead sun and spread its rays into a luminous column of light. "This pillar came from crystals that were so close, some of the individual motes are visible in the photo!"

Now that didn't hurt so much, did it?

more images: from Mike Conlan skiing down Whistler Mountain, British Columbia, Canada

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 14, 2008 there were 925 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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