You are viewing the page for Jan. 24, 2010
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 374.8 km/sec
density: 2.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2050 UT Jan24
24-hr: B3
1245 UT Jan24
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 24 Jan. 10
Sunspots 1041 and 1042 are members of new Solar Cycle 24. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 40
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 23 Jan 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 2 days (9%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 772 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 23 Jan 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 85 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 23 Jan 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.3 nT
Bz: 1.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 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: 2010 Jan 24 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
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: 2010 Jan 24 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
02 %
01 %
00 %
00 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
00 %
00 %
What's up in Space
January 24, 2010

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


DARK ASTEROID DISCOVERY: NASA's newest space telescope, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), is expected to be an excellent hunter of dark asteroids. On Jan. 12th, WISE made its first catch--a kilometer-class space rock named 2010 AB78. If researchers are correct, this is just the first of hundreds of near-Earth objects and hundreds of thousands of main belt asteroids that WISE is capable of finding. Get the full story from JPL.

LOW-FLYING SPACESHIP: Amateur astronomers have long known that the International Space Station looks great through a backyard telescope. Lately, it looks even better than usual. "For imaging fine detail on the space station, now is the right time because the ISS has descended to about its lowest orbital height," explains Ralf Vandebergh of the Netherlands. "I took this picture through my 10-inch telescope on Jan. 14th."

"Normally, the station's four big solar panels are the most obvious elements visible from Earth, but in this picture they are almost invisible due to the lighting angle," he adds. "What the picture does show is the integrated truss structure, the backbone of the ISS in full-length with lots of detail."

The ISS is extremely bright--like Venus or Jupiter--and it moves slowly enough to follow with optics. Indeed, Vandebergh prefers to hand-track his telescope when photographing the ISS. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flybys! (The satellite tracker is now available for the iPhone, too.)

CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH MARS: Earth and Mars are converging for a close encounter. On Jan. 27th, the Red Planet will be only 99 million kilometers (0.66 AU) away, appearing bigger through a telescope (14.1 arcseconds) than anytime from 2008 until 2012.The view is already excellent, as shown in these images taken on Jan. 21st by Efrain Morales Rivera of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico:

"I had a good observing session with my 12-inch Meade LX200," reports Rivera. "I was able to image not only the Martian polar cap, but also some icy orographic clouds over Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in our solar system."

You don't need a telescope, however, to enjoy the close encounter. Pumpkin-colored Mars is very easy to see with the unaided eye. It rises in the east at sunset and soars overhead at midnight, outshining every star in its patch of sky. Check it out!

more images: from Torsten Hansen of Bavaria, Germany; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Troy Tranter of Kurri, Australia; from Joel Warren of Amarillo, TX

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

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 24, 2010 there were 1094 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
2010 AG3
Jan. 19
8.9 LD
14 m
2010 AN61
Jan. 19
8.0 LD
17 m
2010 AF40
Jan. 21
2.3 LD
43 m
2010 BC
Jan. 24
7.6 LD
160 m
2010 BU2
Jan. 27
6.4 LD
52 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.