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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 564.8 km/sec
density: 0.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Jun27
24-hr: A0
1530 UT Jun27
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 27 Jun 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 25 June 2008
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= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.3 nT
Bz: 0.9 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Jun 27 2203 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: 2008 Jun 27 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
June 27, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of June 25th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

FRIENDLY SOIL: Mars lander Phoenix's onboard chemistry lab has analyzed some scooped-up martian soil and "found a reasonable number of nutrients needed by life as we know it," reports chemist Sam Kounaves of Tufts University. Moreover, minerals in the sample seem to have interacted with water. In many ways, he says, "the mineralogy of Mars is very much like Earth." Get the full story from

NOCTILUCENT SILHOUETTE: "Last night, June 26th, we had a bright and wonderful display of noctilucent clouds," says Marek Nikodem of Szubin, Poland. "They were so very beautiful and it was fascinating to watch their rippling movements." He calls this 3-second exposure Noctilucent Silhouette:

Noctilucent cloud activity has surged this week, with sightings in Russia, the Ukraine, Poland, Sweden, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland and England. "I've been watching NLCs for 20 years, and this is one of the better displays I've seen," says Camilla Bacher Kiming of Denmark. In Northern Ireland, longtime NLC photographer Martin McKenna witnessed "a real shadow-caster, which showed off intense silver, white and blue colors. I was lucky to catch this one."

Curiously, sky watchers in Canada and southern Alaska have not reported corresponding displays. The latitude is right, but the clouds are either absent or going unnoticed. If you live in that part of the world, be alert for electric-blue waves and tendrils after nightfall. Observing tips may be found in the photo gallery:

2008 Noctilucent Cloud Gallery
["Noctilucent Clouds"--the song] [Night-sky Cameras]

RAINBOW OF FIRE: Today around noon, look up in the sky. You just might see a rainbow of fire:

The correct name of this phenomenon is circumhorizontal arc. It's a colorful splash of light caused by sunbeams striking crystals of ice in cirrus clouds. Commonly called "fire rainbows" or "rainbows of fire," circumhorizontal arcs have nothing to do with either rain or fire. They are a sign of ice floating in clouds some 10 km above the ground.

"This particular arc materialized above Mt. Rainier on June 25th," says photographer Carol Steinel of Port Townsend, Washington. "It first appeared as a fragment, then spread to occupy a quarter of the visible sky. A young man outside my home was telephoning his mom to say, 'Mom! Look at the sky!'"

Summer is the season for circumhorizontal arcs because they appear only when the sun is high in the sky--more than 58o above the horizon. The arc's enormous size and pure spectral colors make it one of the most beautiful of all ice halos.

more images: from Corien Bakermans et al at the Artist Point Drive Picnic Area, Yellowstone Natl Park; from Darrell Oake of Halifax NS Canada; from Derek C Breit of Morgan Hill, CA; from Mark R. Everhart of Boise, Idaho; from Tobias Billings of Gallatin, Missouri;

June 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-sky Cameras]

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. [comment]
On June 27, 2008, there were 959 potentially hazardous asteroids.
June-July 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 KO
June 1
4.4 LD
60 m
2008 KT
June 3
3.3 LD
9 m
2008 LB
June 9
3.3 LD
26 m
2008 LG2
June 13
9.2 LD
36 m
2008 LC
June 17
9.8 LD
55 m
2008 KN11
June 22
9.0 LD
110 m
2000 AD205
June 26
54 LD
800 m
1999 VU
June 29
65 LD
1.6 km
2008 BT18
July 14
5.9 LD
1.0 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 bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
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.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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