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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 508.3 km/sec
density: 0.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2343 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A5
2125 UT Jun16
24-hr: A6
0525 UT Jun16
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 16 Jun 10
The Earth-facing side of the sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 15 Jun 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 1 day
2010 total: 34 days (20%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 802 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 15 Jun 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 70sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 15 Jun 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.3 nT
Bz: 1.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole is expected to hit Earth on June 17th. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jun 16 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: 2010 Jun 16 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
50 %
30 %
20 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
60 %
40 %
30 %
20 %
05 %
05 %
What's up in Space
June 16, 2010

NEW AND IMPROVED: Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a field-tested global satellite tracker. The Satellite Flybys app now works in all countries.


HUBBLE FINDS NO DEBRIS: Even the Hubble Space Telescope cannot find any debris where a meteoroid apparently hit Jupiter on June 3rd. Today, researchers released new HST images of the impact site, which show nothing but uninterrupted clouds. The non-detection is consistent with a relatively small asteroid making a shallow impact in Jupiter's high atmosphere. [more]

CALFORNIA ROCKET: Last night, sleepless sky watchers in California witnessed a bright light streak across the sky. It was not a meteor. "A unarmed Minuteman III rocket was launched from Vandenberg AFB at 3:01 PDT," reports Anthony Galvan III who took this picture from his backyard in Goleta, CA. "The missile's target was near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, 4190 miles from the launch site." [more]

ELECTRIC BLUE CLOUDS: Observers in Europe are reporting brightening displays of noctilucent clouds (NLCs). "We had a lovely show last night," says Peter McCabe of Dundalk, Co.Louth, Ireland. "The electric-blue colors were striking." He took this picture using a Canon 450D:

Photo details: Canon 450D, 20mm wide angle lens, 6 sec , f3.2, ISO100

"They were not the most intense NLCs I've seen, says McCabe, "but they bode well for the weeks ahead." Indeed, as northern summer unfolds, NLCs should become even more intense. The seasonal peak is not fully understood but it rarely fails to produce vivid displays in June and July.

Another factor boosting these strange clouds near the edge of space is the solar cycle. There is a well-known correlation between noctilucent clouds and sunspots. NLC activity tends to peak during (and just after) years of solar minimum, possibly because low solar activity allows the upper atmosphere to cool, promoting the growth of ice crystals that make up the clouds. With the sun slowly emerging from a century-class minimum, the stage is set for a good season of NLC watching.

more images: from Conor McDonald of Maghera, Ireland; from Martin McKenna of Maghera, Co. Derry, N. Ireland; from Pete Glastonbury of Avebury, Wiltshire, UK; from Stuart Atkinson of Kendal, Cumbria, UK; from George of Moscow, Russian Federation;

Observing tips: Look west 30 to 60 minutes after sunset when the Sun has dipped 6o to 16o below the horizon. If you see luminous blue-white tendrils spreading across the sky, you may have spotted a noctilucent cloud. High-northern latitudes are favored.

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY: A solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetic field and causing geomagnetic activity around the poles. Zoltan Kenwell sends this picture taken June 16th from a lake shore 150 miles north of Edmonton, Alberta:

"The display was brief--only about 3 minutes from beginning to end--but beautiful," says Kenwell. "I was not disappointed!"

NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of more geomagnetic activity tonight as the solar wind continues to blow. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras.

May 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Mays: 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002] [aurora alerts]

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 16, 2010 there were 1133 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 JR34
May 14
5.8 LD
12 m
2003 HR32
May 17
55.2 LD
1.0 km
2010 JN71
May 26
8.2 LD
245 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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