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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 415.4 km/sec
density: 3.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Jul30
24-hr: A0
0420 UT Jul30
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 30 Jul 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 29 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= 1 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: 3.5 nT
Bz: 2.9 nT north
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 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 Jul 30 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
July 30, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of July 12th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

PARTIAL ECLIPSE, TOTAL FUN: This Friday, August 1st, millions of people in China will witness a well-publicized total eclipse of the sun. Less widely reported, however, is the partial eclipse, which billions of people across three continents can observe and enjoy. Fun tips and animated eclipse maps are available from Science@NASA: click here.

OVER THE HORIZON: NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft has beamed back a movie of a spectacular eruption on the sun's eastern limb. Click on the image to launch a 6 MB mpeg:

The movie spans a two day period, July 12-14, and shows a blob of gas five times the size of Earth being hurled away from the sun. Earth was not in the "line of fire" so no geomagnetic storms or auroras resulted from the blast.

Astronomers on Earth witnessed only the upper regions of the explosion. From our point of view, the action took place over the sun's horizon. STEREO-B, however, has a different point of view. STEREO-B shares Earth's orbit around the sun (approximately), but lags behind Earth by about 30 degrees. This allows the spacecraft to see "around the bend," revealing solar activity hidden from terrestrial eyes.

Seeing the hidden side of the sun is just one of many benefits of the ongoing STEREO mission; learn more from

VIRTUAL REALITY MILKY WAY: This is the time of year to find a dark place and behold our very own galaxy, the Milky Way, meandering across the midnight sky. Can't find a dark place? Here's one:

This is no ordinary picture of the Milky Way; it's a doorway. Just knock and you'll be wafted away to a beach in the south of France with a dizzyingly beautiful galaxy arcing overhead. Photographer Laurent Laveder explains: "Two nights ago, I used a fisheye lens to take 16 individual pictures covering the entire sky. I then combined them to produce a Quicktime Virtual Reality view of the Milky Way."

Tip: In the VR environment, look up and spin the Milky Way. You can make your own star trails. Don't go overboard, though; it can be disturbingly realistic.

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 30, 2008 , there were 964 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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