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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 288.3 km/sec
density: 1.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2125 UT Jan07
24-hr: B2
0350 UT Jan07
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 07 Jan. 10
The visible disk of the sun is blank--no sunspots. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 06 Jan 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 1 day
2010 total: 1 day (17%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 772 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 06 Jan 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 77 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 06 Jan 2010

Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals one or more possible sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 0
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.5 nT
Bz: 2.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on or about Jan. 13th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jan 07 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: 2010 Jan 07 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
January 7, 2010

SATELLITE FLYBYS APP: Turn your iPhone or iPod into a field-tested satellite tracker! presents the Satellite Flybys app.


EXPLOSIVE MYSTERY: NASA is building a new space telescope named "NuSTAR" to answer a question that has been vexing astrophysicists for decades. Why won't the supernova explode? Get the full story from Science@NASA.

SUNSPOT CORPSE: After a two-week trip around the farside of the sun, sunspot 1035 has returned, but it not a sunspot anymore. Where there was once a dark-cored behemoth crackling with solar flares, there is now just a quiet splash of magnetic froth. Call it a "sunspot corpse":

Image credit: Solar and Heliospheric Observatory/MDI

Because corpses do not count, today's sunspot number is zero. This is the first blank (spotless) sun of 2010. So far this year, the sun has been blank about 17% of the time--a sharp reversal from the 71% rate of blank suns in 2009. Is solar activity really increasing? If recent trends continue, a new sunspot should appear soon. Stay tuned.

more images: from Howard Eskildsen of Ocala, Florida; from Gianfranco Meregalli of Milano, Italy; from C. Swiger and J. Stetson of South Portland, Maine; from Ron Cottrell of Oro Valley, Arizona

BLUE FLASH SUNSET: On Jan. 1st, Brian Gold of Los Angeles took his family to the beach to see the first sunset of the New Year. They got more than they bargained for. "We stood on a little hill at Dockweiler Beach State Park and looked out over the water as the sun went down. There was a beautiful blue-green flash!" He took this picture using his Canon 5D:

Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains what happened: "California is a great place for sunsets like this one," he says. "The cold ocean current combined with warm air creates complex temperature inversions, warm air above cooler. Each inversion layer bends the sunset rays to make a mirage with three sun slices. Multiple inversions make a stack of 'solar pancakes.' The mirages vertically magnify the otherwise invisible green and blue rim on the sun’s upper edge to make brilliant green - and if you are lucky - blue flashes."

"What a great way to start 2010," says Gold.

NEW: January Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Januarys: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2001]

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 January 7, 2010 there were 1091 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Jan. 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
24761 Ahau
Jan. 11
70.8 LD
1.4 km
2000 YH66
Jan. 12
69.5 LD
1.1 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 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
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.













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