You are viewing the page for Sep. 22, 2009
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 384.3 km/sec
density: 0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B3
2040 UT Sep22
24-hr: B3
2040 UT Sep22
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 22 Sept. 09
Sunspot 1026 is a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Photo credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 12
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 21 Sept 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2009 total: 212 days (80%)
Since 2004: 723 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 21 Sept 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= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.0 nT
Bz: 1.3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Sep 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 Sep 22 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
September 22, 2009

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


HAPPY EQUINOX: Today, Sept. 22nd at 2118 UT (5:18 pm EDT), the sun crosses the celestial equator. This event marks the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern hemisphere. It's also the beginning of aurora season around the poles. Happy equinox!

SUNSPOT UPDATE: A second sunspot is emerging to join the one reported below: SOHO image. This is the first time in more than a year that two relatively-large sunspots have shared the Earth-facing side of the sun.

SUNSPOT 1026: One sunspot is not enough to end the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century, but you've got to start somewhere. "Finally, a new sunspot!" says Paul Maxson who sends this picture from his observatory in Surprise, Arizona:

Sunspot 1026 emerged yesterday to break a string of 19 consecutive spotless days. It's about as wide as Earth, which makes it an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) has measured the spot's magnetic polarity and identified it as a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Could this be a harbinger of more to come? (Apparently so.) Stay tuned.

more images: from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from MichaƂ Nyklewicz of Poland; from Athanasios Georgiou of Filyro, Greece; from Jan Koeman of Kloetinge, The Netherlands; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from Emiel Veldhuis of Zwolle, the Netherlands; from Alan Friedman of Buffalo, NY; from Eva Vidovic of Stojnci, Slovenia; from A.Cote, W. Frame and John Stetson of South Portland, Maine.

LAST SUNSET OF SUMMER: Last night in Florida, summer came to an end in a flash of green. "My wife and I drove to Clearwater Beach beach to photograph the sunset," says Don Roberts. "I had never seen a green flash before and was excited to see and shoot a real beauty as my first." He used a Canon 50D to record the moment:

The green flash is a mirage. It occurs when there is warm air immediately over the ocean waters and the air temperature changes rapidly with height. These conditions magnify the usually-subtle prismatic refraction of the low atmosphere into an exuberant explosion of emerald green.

What kind of sunsets will autumn bring? Tonight brings the first; take a look!

BONUS SHOTS: from Miguel Claro of Capuchos, Almada Portugal; from George N Huftalen at the Connecticut Star Party in Ashford, CT; from Tamas Ladanyi of Castor Observatory, Veszprem - Hungary; from Ken Scott of Leland, Michigan

Sept. 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Septembers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2001]

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 September 22, 2009 there were 1074 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Sept. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 QC35
Sept. 2
2.9 LD
35 m
2009 RY3
Sept. 11
1.9 LD
50 m
2009 RR
Sept. 16
2.8 LD
33 m
2009 RG2
Sept. 21
9.1 LD
31 m
2009 HD21
Sept. 29
22.9 LD
1.0 km
1998 FW4
Sept. 29
8.6 LD
550 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.
©2019 All rights reserved.