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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 342.8 km/sec
density: 3.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A3
1845 UT Jan30
24-hr: A3
1845 UT Jan30
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 30 Jan 08
New sunspot 982 is emerging near the sun's eastern limb. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 13
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 30 Jan 2008
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= 0 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: 3.5 nT
Bz: 2.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Jan. 31st or Feb. 1st. Credit: Hinode X-Ray Telescope.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Jan 30 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 Jan 30 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
20 %
05 %
15 %
01 %
05 %

What's up in Space
January 30, 2008
Where's Saturn? Is that a UFO--or the ISS? What's the name of that star? Get the answers from mySKY--a fun new astronomy helper from Meade.

NEW SUNSPOT: At first, John Nassr thought there was "a smudge on the eyepiece" of his solar telescope, but it turned out to be a newly-emerging sunspot. "Sunspot 982 is growing rapidly," he reports. This photo from his backyard observatory in the Phillipines reveals two flamboyant magnetic filaments emerging from the spot's dark core. So far the active region poses no threat for solar flares.

more images: from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from J. Fairfull and J. Stetson of South Portland, Maine;

ASTEROID FLYBY: Asteroid 2007 TU24 flew past Earth yesterday only 344,000 miles away. In Utah, Patrick Wiggins took 26 quick exposures through his 14-inch telescope and caught the space rock streaking among the stars of Perseus:

As 2007 TU24 passed by, the giant Arecibo radar in Puerto Rico illuminated it with powerful radio pulses and obtained a rough image of the craggy 250m-wide rock. More radar observations are planned for Feb. 1-4, so the view may improve. Stay tuned for updates.

more images: from Oscar Canales Moreno of Pinsoro, Zaragoza, Spain; from Saied Bahrami Nezhad of Kerman, Iran; from Paolo Berardi of L'Aquila, Italy; from Thorsten Boeckel of Fuerstenfeldbruck, Bavaria; from Adam Stuart, M.D. of Miami, Florida;

SPACESHIP SIGHTINGS: North Americans, this is a good week to see a spaceship with your own eyes. The International Space Station is making many bright evening passes over towns and cities across the continent: flyby alerts. Joseph Westerberg sends this Jan. 28th photo from the Joshua Tree National Park in California:

"The ISS was very bright, approximately magnitude -2.3," he says. That makes the station about as luminous as the planet Jupiter. It was easy to photograph "using my Nikon D80 for an exposure of 79 seconds."

The under-construction station has grown so big and bright in recent months that it is now a fabulous sight through ordinary backyard telescopes. Last month in Australia, Mike Salway captured these images using a 12-inch Newtonian. "Tracking the ISS manually and keeping the bright dot centered in the crosshairs was an adrenaline rush!" says Salway. He created an animation of the flyby to convey a sense of the thrilling view.

more images: from Gonçalo Lemos of Marinha Grande, Portugal; from Ralf Vandebergh of the Netherlands; from Wayne Wooten of Pensacola, Florida; from Dale Gerhard of Cape May Point State Park, Cape May, New Jersey;

2008 Nacreous Cloud Gallery
[Night-sky cameras] [Nacreous Basics] [Add your comments]

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 January 30, 2008 there were 921 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Jan. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2005 WJ56
Jan. 10
10.9 LD
1.2 km
2008 AF3
Jan. 13
1.0 LD
27 m
1685 Toro
Jan. 24
76 LD
6.2 km
2007 TU24
Jan. 29
1.4 LD
250 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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