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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 463.4 km/sec
density: 3.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2206 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Dec03
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Dec03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 03 Dec 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 02 Dec. 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= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 9.5 nT
Bz: 2.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2207 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is entering a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Dec 03 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: 2008 Dec 03 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
35 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
40 %
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
What's up in Space
December 3, 2008
NORTHERN LIGHTS: Did you sleep through the auroras of November? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.  

AURORA WATCH: High latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras tonight. Earth is entering a solar wind stream and this could cause geomagnetic storms around the Arctic Circle.

GREAT CONJUNCTION: In the Adirondack mountains of New York, artist Sally J. Smith creates environmental sculptures, a natural artform of wood, rock, light and shadow. This one she calls Planet Portal:

"I wanted to celebrate the triple conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and the Moon," says Smith, "so on Dec. 1st I positioned myself behind the portal with my Nikon D40. It was cloudy all afternoon. The sun set ... still cloudy! Then, right around 5:30 local time, the clouds parted and the glorious event was framed in the sculpture. I could not have asked for more!"

But there is more. In the 10-year history of, no single event has generated more photos than this "Great Conjunction." Submissions have poured in from six continents, dozens of countries, kingdoms, democracies, theocracies, ships, planes, cars, and even from a military aircraft refueling 35,000 feet over Iraq. Browse the gallery for highlights and daily new additions:

Great Conjunction Photo Gallery

ISS AND SIDEKICK: The International Space Station (ISS) and its famous sidekick the ISS Toolbag are making a series of evening passes over North America and Europe. Last night Janusz Krysiak of Koluszki, Poland, trained his backyard telescope on the bright star-like ISS and this is what he saw:

Photo details: Canon 400D, ISO 400, 1/400s

The backpack-sized toolbag is absent from the scene. Since astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper dropped it on Nov. 18th, the bag has drifted far from the station and it now precedes the ISS across the sky by approximately 30 minutes. It can still be seen, however, though binoculars or a small telescope, if you know when to look. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flyby times.

more images: from Dirk Ewers of Hofgeismar, Germany; from Ralf Vandebergh of the Netherlands;

Nov. 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Previous Novembers: 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2001, 2000]

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 December 3, 2008 there were 1002 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Dec. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 WY94
Dec. 5
3.2 LD
35 m
2008 WG14
Dec. 5
4.8 LD
49 m
2006 VB14
Dec. 14
36 LD
795 m
2008 EV5
Dec. 23
8.4 LD
435 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 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
  a one-stop hub for all things scientific
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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