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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 410.2 km/sec
density: 2.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Jul28
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Jul28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 28 Jul 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 July 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= 0 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: 3.3 nT
Bz: 0.3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Jul 28 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 Jul 28 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
July 28, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of July 12th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

ISS MOVIE: If you've never seen a flyby of the International Space Station (or maybe you have, but just can't get enough), click here. The movie shows "the ISS racing over the island of South Manitou in Lake Michigan," says photographer Ken Scott. "I was there to photograph star trails on July 23rd when the space station showed up." Seen the movie? Now check out the real thing.

BREAD MOON: Last week, photographer Patrick Bornet watched in amazement as the Moon rose above the waves of the Mediterranean off the south coast of France. The Almanac predicted a quarter moon, but what was this phantasm he recorded with his Canon 350D?

Click to view the complete sequence

Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley calls it a bread Moon. "The early part of this wonderful sequence reminds me of bread rising as it bakes in the oven," he explains. "Layers of air at different temperatures are responsible for this mirage. The Moon’s rays are deflected as they pass through them distorting it and even splitting it into at least three separate images. Notice within the lower temperature inversion layer that there is a moon image setting into the sea as the main one rises!"

Bread moons. Another reason to keep looking up.

SHAGGY PROMINENCE: On an otherwise featureless sun, Alan Friedman of Buffalo, NY, has spotted man's best friend. "Yesterday, I was looking through my telescope (filtered with a Coronado SolarMax90) and found this delicate prominence with more than a passing resemblance to a Scottish terrier."

Scottish terriers are known for their dashing beards. This Scottie's beard is made of gaseous hydrogen shaped into hairy forms by solar magnetic force fields towering 30,000 km above the surface of the sun. That's right, Scottie is more than twice as tall as Earth itself. "It's a real shaggy dog story," says Friedman.

Solar magnetic fields change shape from day to day, so the terrier is probably gone now--replaced by some other breed, perhaps? Dog-lovers with solar telescopes, take a look!

more images: from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Les Cowley of England; from Steve Wainwright of Swansea, Wales, UK;

2008 Noctilucent Cloud Gallery
[Strange Clouds] [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.
On July 28, 2008 , there were 962 potentially hazardous asteroids.
July 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2003 YE45
July 13
16.5 LD
1.4 km
2008 BT18
July 14
5.9 LD
1.0 km
2003 LC5
July 15
62 LD
1.4 km
2008 NP3
July 17
6.8 LD
85 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 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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