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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 260.5 km/sec
density: 8.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1840 UT Jun23
24-hr: A0
1840 UT Jun23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 23 June 09
Sunspot 1022 is rapidly fading away. Both 1022 and 1023 are members of Solar Cycle 24. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 24
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 22 Jun 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2009 total: 134 days (78%)
Since 2004: 645 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 22 Jun 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= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.1 nT
Bz: 1.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from this far-northern coronal hole will probably miss Earth or at most deliver a glancing blow on or about June 25th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Jun 23 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 Jun 23 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
June 23, 2009

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


LUNAR FLYBY UPDATE: NASA says this morning's LCROSS flyby of the Moon was a success and a video of the encounter is now available. The gravity assist maneuver put LCROSS in an elongated Earth orbit and on course for impact at the lunar south pole later this year. NASA planners hope the intentional collision will reveal subsurface deposits of water useful to future human explorers.

SUNSPOT WATCH: Yesterday, in a moment of rare extravagance, the sun produced two spots. Today, one of them, sunspot 1022, is fading away. The other, sunspot 1023, is still going strong:

Amateur astronomer Jacob Bassøe took the picture hours ago from his backyard observatory in Copenhagen, Denmark. "It is a nice bipolar sunspot with a bushy dark filament emerging from one of the cores," he says.

The magnetic polarity of sunspot 1023 identifies it as a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Its appearance coincides with the movement of two solar jet streams into a range of heliographic latitudes that promotes sunspot formation. No one knows exactly how the sun's deep jet streams boost the sunspot count, but they do. As a result, this week's sunspot activity might herald more to come. Stay tuned for updates.

more images: from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Didier Favre of Brétigny-sur-orge, France; from Michael Buxton of Ocean Beach, California; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland

HAPPY MAORI NEW YEAR: Today, June 24th, people across New Zealand are celebrating a new year--the Maori New Year. It's a tradition that stretches back many hundreds of years. To understand it, regard this photo taken at the crack of dawn on June 21st by Andy Dodson of Huirangi, New Zealand:

At the top of the photo we see the Pleiades, known to the Maori as Matariki. "Traditionally, the first new moon after the appearance of Matariki in the dawn sky was taken as the start of the Maori New Year, or 'Te Whetu o te Tau,'" explains Dodson.

Different tribes had slightly different customs. Some held festivities when Matariki was first seen in the dawn sky; others celebrated after the full moon rose or at the beginning of the next new moon. Around Auckland, the Maori New Year of 2009 is being celebrated from June 24 to July 24 with a program of events showcasing Maori culture. At the Te Papa national museum in Wellington, the Matariki Festival is being held from June 25 to July 12.

Details, details... Happy Maori New Year!

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 June 23, 2009 there were 1064 potentially hazardous asteroids.
June 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 KR21
June 1
0.7 LD
21 m
2009 KL8
June 1
5.1 LD
63 m
2003 QO104
June 9
36.8 LD
2.9 km
1994 CC
June 10
6.6 LD
1.2 km
2001 FE90
June 28
7.0 LD
435 m
2002 KL6
June 28
57.5 LD
1.4 km
2006 MV1
June 30
9.6 LD
20 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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