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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 378.5 km/sec
density: 3.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2210 UT Apr27
24-hr: A0
2210 UT Apr27
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 27 Apr 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 Apr 2009

NEW: Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 6 days
2009 total: 103 days (88%)
Since 2004: 614 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 27 Apr 2009

Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no large sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 1.8 nT
Bz: 1.6 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole will probably miss Earth, sailing high above our planet's north pole. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Apr 27 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 Apr 27 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
April 27, 2009

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


ARIZONA FIREBALL: Over the weekend, midnight sky watchers in Arizona and New Mexico witnessed a "spectacular fireball" that exploded in "a flash like lightning." The brightness may have exceeded that of a full Moon. The approximate time was 0604 UT, a few minutes past midnight MDT on April 26th. A fireball camera operated by Thomas Ashcraft near Santa Fe, NM, captured the event, which was brilliant despite its low elevation: movie. Readers, if you saw or photographed this fireball, please submit a report.

SUNSET CONJUNCTION: Last night, sky watchers around the world witnessed a beautiful conjunction of the Moon, Mercury and Pleiades. Richard Fleet sends this photo from Pewsey Vale, Wiltshire, England:

"The photo doesn't do it justice," says Fleet. "The binocular view of Earthshine and the Pleiades was very striking."

The alignment is now breaking up--Moon exit stage left--but there is still something to see. Mercury and the Pleiades are converging for a mini-conjunction of their own on April 30th. Keep an eye on the sunset: sky map.

more photos: from Vladimir Knyaz of Moscow, Russia; from Elizabeth Warner of Alexandria, Virginia; from Jose Suro of Tierra Verde, Florida; from Dave Gulyas of Black River Astronomical Society, Carlisle, Ohio; from Gary A. Becker of Coopersburg, PA; from Jimmy Westlake of Stagecoach, Colorado; from Pablo Lonnie Pacheco Railey of Monterrey, Mexico; from Terry Mann of West Manchester, Ohio; from Willian Carlos de Souza of Sao Paulo, Brazil; from Nigel Merrick of Oakland, Tennessee; from Miguel Claro of Costa da Caparica, Almada - Portugal; from Jonathan Sabin of Ellenton, Florida; from Michael Boschat of Halifax, Nova Scotia; from Tamas Ladanyi of Veszpremfajsz, Hungary; from Uriel Goldvais of Rehovot, Israel; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from André of Bath, UK; from Doug Berry of Defiance, Ohio; from Chris Schur of Payson, Arizona;

NORTHERN LIGHTS VS MIDNIGHT SUN: At this time of year, night doesn't fall around the Arctic Circle until almost midnight. The window of darkness for auroras is shrinking as summer approaches. Nevertheless, "we saw some beautiful Northern Lights over the weekend," reports Sylvain Serre, who sends this April 25th picture from the outskirts of Salluit, an Inuit village in Nunavik, Canada:

Photo details: Canon EOS 30D, 10mm, f 3.5, 800 ISO, 15 sec

"On Saturday night, some friends and I decided to go out to take a few pictures," says Serre. "The sky was not very dark at 11:00 pm, but the Northern Lights came anyway. They were beautiful with a lot of movement over our heads."

More auroras are due on or about May 7th when a solar wind stream is due to hit Earth. Northern Lights vs. Midnight Sun--which will prevail? Stay tuned!

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

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 April 27, 2009 there were 1053 potentially hazardous asteroids.
April 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 FU30
Apr. 2
8.8 LD
44 m
2004 VC
Apr. 3
51.3 LD
785 m
2002 EB3
Apr. 10
41.3 LD
1.3 km
2003 SG170
Apr. 19
57.7 LD
1.2 km
2009 HF21
Apr. 21
7.4 LD
27 m
2009 HJ21
Apr. 23
1.3 LD
14 m
2009 FJ30
Apr. 24
9.7 LD
130 m
2001 VG5
Apr. 26
58.5 LD
2.1 km
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...
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