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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 336.7 km/sec
density: 3.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A9
1835 UT Apr26
24-hr: A9
1835 UT Apr26
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 26 Apr. 10
The Earth-facing side of the sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 25 Apr 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 11 days
2010 total: 18 days (16%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 788 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 25 Apr 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 75 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 25 Apr 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.0 nT
Bz: 3.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes:
A coronal hole is emerging over the sun's eastern limb. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Apr 26 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: 2010 Apr 26 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
15 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
April 26, 2010

NEW AND IMPROVED: Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a field-tested global satellite tracker. The Satellite Flybys app now works in all countries.


POISED TO ERUPT: Already this month, the sun has produced two of the biggest eruptions in years. They occurred on April 13th and April 19th when magnetic filaments became unstable and exploded. Could it happen again today? A prominence on the eastern limb of the sun (photo) resembles the precursors of those two earlier blasts. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor developments.

WEEKEND SKY SHOW: Did you catch Venus this weekend? Polish photographer Marek Nikodem did:

Details: Nikon D700/ Nikkor 28-105, exp. 3-8 sec, ISO 1000-1600

He took the picture from the countryside near Szubin, Poland, during a twilight conjunction between Venus and the Pleiades star cluster.

"The planet Venus shone like the brightest diamond in the sky; the Pleiades were more like tiny diamonds in a box," says Nikodem. "It was an amazing and wonderful show."

more images: from Mahdi Rahimi of Esfahan, Iran; from Adrian New of San Antonio, Texas; from Tomasz Adam of Staszów, Poland; from Sorin Hotea of Sighet, Romania; from Siamak Sabet of Tehran, Iran;

SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY: Consider the following photos of space shuttle Discovery. The big image was taken at a range of just a few hundred meters by astronauts onboard the International Space Station. The smaller, inset image, which shows nearly as many details, was taken at a range of a few hundred thousand meters by French astrophotographer Theirry Legault of France. It is the finest ground-based photo of a space shuttle to date.

"I photographed Discovery on April 20th when it passed over France just a few hours before landing in Florida," says Legault. "Numerous details are recognizable: the elevons, the robotic arm--even the NASA logo!"

Legault, who is legendary among astrophotographers for his extraordinary shots of spacecraft and other thinggs, took the picture through a 10" Meade ACF telescope on a modified Takahashi EM-400 mount. The trick, he says, was using a green laser to pinpoint the spacecraft and a custom-made double joystick to track the shuttle as it glided across the sky. Click here for the full story.

April Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Aprils: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002]

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 April 26, 2010 there were 1116 potentially hazardous asteroids.
April 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 GV23
April 5
2.1 LD
12 m
2010 GF7
April 8
2.8 LD
30 m
2010 GA6
April 9
1.1 LD
27 m
2010 GM23
April 13
3.4 LD
47 m
2005 YU55
April 19
5.9 LD
185 m
2009 UY19
April 23
8.8 LD
87 m
2002 JR100
April 29
8.0 LD
65 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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