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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 283.9 km/sec
density: 3.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Jul19
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Jul19
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 19 July 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 17 July 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 7 days
2009 total: 149 days (76%)
Since 2004: 660 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 17 July 2009

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
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.6 nT
Bz: 0.9 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about July 22. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Jul 19 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 Jul 19 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
25 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
35 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
July 19, 2009

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


APOLLO LANDING SITES PHOTOGRAPHED: NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has returned its first imagery of Apollo landing sites. The pictures show lunar module descent stages, scientific instruments and even 40-year-old foot trails made by astronauts walking across the dusty lunar surface: full story.

IMPACT ON JUPITER? "Jupiter has been hit by something similar to the Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacts in 1994," reports astrophotographer Anthony Wesley. "There is a jet black circular impact mark near its south pole that I imaged tonight from my observatory in Murrumbateman, Australia." South is up in this snapshot of the feature:

"I have imagery of that same location from 2 nights earlier without the impact mark so this is a very recent event," he adds. "This image shows that the material has already begun to spread out in a fan shape on one side, and should be rapidly pulled apart by the fast jetstream winds. I'm sure this will generate some interest around the astronomy community, as impacts like this are rare. I recorded a lot of footage, and will be generating more images and a rotation animation."

Amateur astronomers around the world should train their telescopes on Jupiter tonight to monitor the progress of this possible impact event. Stay tuned for more images and updates.

WAITING FOR THE ECLIPSE: On July 22nd, the longest solar eclipse of the 21st century will take place in Asia. Traveling phtographer Olivier Staiger took this picture from Shanghai, where he is waiting for the lights to go out:

"The high skyscraper with the hole is the Shanghai World Financial Center, the other one is the Jin Mao building," says Staiger. "The sun halo was caused by a hazy layer of icy clouds hanging over the city."

Shanghai is the largest city in China with a population greater than 20 million. On Wednesday, the Moon's shadow will linger over the great metropolis for nearly six full minutes, giving residents a stunning and lengthy view of the Sun's ghostly corona. In addition to Shanghai, the path of totality crosses a number of other large cities in India and China--e.g., Surat, Vadodara, Bhopal, Varanasi, Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Hefei, Hangzhou--each with populations numbering in the millions. This could be the best-observed solar eclipse in human history.

Stay tuned for pictures, and meanwhile enjoy these animated eclipse maps created by graphic artist Larry Koehn.

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 July 19, 2009 there were 1065 potentially hazardous asteroids.
July 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 MM8
July 13
11.4 LD
53 m
2008 NP3
July 18
11.8 LD
87 m
2006 TU7
July 20
14.2 LD
175 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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