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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 443.6 km/sec
density: 1.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Jul22
24-hr: A0
0325 UT Jul22
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 22 July 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 21 July 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 11 days
2009 total: 153 days (75%)
Since 2004: 664 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 21 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= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 6
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.2 nT
Bz: 0.3 nT north
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 23rd. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Jul 22 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 22 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
July 22, 2009

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


NLC ALERT: "While India and China were enjoying a total solar eclipse, here in Europe we were treated to a sky show of our own," says Tomasz Adam of Staszów, Poland, where the night sky lit up with intense noctilucent clouds (NLCs) on July 21st and 22nd. "It was easily the best display I've ever seen." A similar event last week heralded NLCs in the United States as far south as Nevada, Colorado and Utah. Sky watchers should be alert for more.

AURORA SURPRISE: In the pits of the deepest solar minimum in a century, sky watchers had almost forgotten what Northern Lights looked like. Here they are last night over Lucky Lake, Saskatchewan:

"These are the first auroras I have been able to photograph in more than a year," says Tenho Tuomi. "It was a pleasant surprise."

The display was sparked by a solar wind stream which hit Earth's magnetic field on July 21st. The ensuing geomagnetic storm registered 6 on the 0 to 9 K-index scale of geomagnetic activity. "My magnetometer picked up the disturbance and I rushed outside to see the show," says Tuomi.

July 2009 Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Julys: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]

TOTAL ECLIPSE: On Wednesday, July 22nd, the Moon eclipsed the midday sun over China. "The temperature dropped from 96.6 F to 88.5F at totality," reports Donald Gardner from Huangshan. "The roosters were crowing and the streetlights came on!" He took this picture of a sun-sliver beaming through lunar mountains:

Browse the gallery for more scenes from the path of totality:

UPDATED: July 22nd Eclipse Gallery
[previous eclipses: Jan 26, 2009; Aug. 1, 2008; Mar. 19, 2007]

UPDATED: 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 22, 2009 there were 1067 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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