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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 326.7 km/sec
density: 4.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M1
2035 UT Jan19
24-hr: M2
1340 UT Jan19
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 19 Jan. 10
Big sunspot 1040 has just disappeared over the sun's western limb, leaving the visible disk of the sun blank. This condition may be temporary, however, because old sunspot 1039 is fast approaching from the east. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 14
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 18 Jan 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 1 day (6%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 772 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 18 Jan 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 82 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 18 Jan 2010

Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. The holographic technique used to map the farside is evidently not sensitive enough to detect farside spot 1039. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.4 nT
Bz: 1.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Jan. 19th or 20th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jan 19 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
60 %
60 %
05 %
05 %
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 Jan 19 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
January 19, 2010

SATELLITE FLYBYS APP: Turn your iPhone or iPod into a field-tested satellite tracker! presents the Satellite Flybys app.


AURORA WATCH: A solar wind stream is approaching Earth and it could trigger polar geomagnetic storms when it arrives on Jan. 19th or 20th. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

SOLAR FLARES: Today, Jan. 19th at 1340 UT, Earth-orbiting satellites detected the strongest solar flare in almost two years. The M2-class eruption came from old sunspot 1039, currently located behind the sun's eastern limb. NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft recorded this extreme ultraviolet movie of the blast:

Click here to view the full-sized animation with labels

Considering the fact that the sunspot is not even visible from Earth, the flare was probably much stronger than its M2 classification would suggest. This active region has produced at least three significant eruptions since Jan. 17th (including this notable flare) and it is showing no signs of cooling off.

At the moment only STEREO-B, stationed over the east limb, can monitor the active region directly. Soon, this will change. The sun's rotation is turning sunspot 1039 toward Earth and it should emerge for direct viewing within the next 48 hours. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor the east limb for developments.

ARCTIC SUN DOG: Weeks ago, darkness fell around the Arctic circle, and people there are beginning to yearn for some sunshine. Claus Vogel of Baffin Island, Canada, couldn't wait any longer, so on Jan. 17th he went out hunting for the sun accompanied by his dog Hero. Scroll past this picture of Hero for his report:

Above: Hero basks in sunshine for the first time this year.

"At this time of year, the Arctic sun is so low on the horizon, the mountains block its view. So Hero and I climbed Mt Duval to feel its warm rays on our face for the first time in 2010. We trekked through knee-deep snow, scaled a mountainside, and endured temperatures of -35 oC. It was all worth it! The things we do to see the sun..."

Back down in town (Pangnirtung), notes Vogel, people won't feel direct sunlight until mid-February. He and Hero are already planning their next sun-hunt.

January Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Januarys: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2001]

UPDATED: Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[World Map of Eclipse Sightings]

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 January 19, 2010 there were 1093 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Jan. 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 AL2
Jan. 11
11.5 LD
23 m
24761 Ahau
Jan. 11
70.8 LD
1.4 km
2000 YH66
Jan. 12
69.5 LD
1.1 km
2010 AL30
Jan. 13
0.3 LD
18 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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