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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
SPACE WEATHER
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 324.9 km/sec
density: 3.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Aug22
24-hr: B1
1135 UT Aug22
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 22 Aug 07
New sunspot 969 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI.
Sunspot number: 11
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 20 Aug 2007
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals one possible sunspot on the far side of the sun, but it may be a false detection. The data on Aug. 19th were noisy. Check back tomorrow for confirmation.. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Updated: 2007 Aug 22 2136 UT
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.9 nT
Bz: 2.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun today. Credit: SOHO Extreme Ultraviolet Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2007 Aug 22 2203 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
01 %
01 %
CLASS X
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: 2007 Aug 22 2203 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
20 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
August 22, 2007
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.

HURTLING TOWARD MARS: Earth and Mars are rapidly converging. Relative speed: 22,000 mph. Contrary to rumor, Mars is not about to swell to the size of a full Moon, but there is something eerie and Martian to look for in the night sky next week: full story.

NEW SUNSPOT: New sunspot 969 "looks good," says Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany. His photo of the 'spot taken this morning through a Coronado SolarMax60 reveals a bushy magnetic filament emerging from the sunspot's dark core:

The region may become even more photogenic as it turns toward Earth in the days ahead--stay tuned!

more images: from Maxim Usatov of Dniepropetrovsk, Ukraine; from Pavol Rapavy of Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia.

SPRITE UPDATE: The 'carrot sprites' reported below may actually be a related phenomenon called 'gigantic jets,' according to physics professor Dave Sentman of the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute. Gigantic jets are rare and these may be the first ever photographed over the United States.

CARROT SPRITES: You know what comes out of the bottom of a thundercloud: lightning. But do you know what comes out of the top? The answer is sprites. Sometimes when an especially fierce lightning bolt connects with the ground, a corresponding discharge leaps from the top of the cloud toward space. These "sprites" are red, fleeting, and they tend to come in bunches.

On Aug. 20th, Richard Smedley of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, photographed a bunch of carrot-shaped sprites shooting from the top of a thunderstorm about 60 miles away:

Smedley's video of the event is a must-see. "The first sprite video even shows the so-called 'elf' cloud," he says.

Although sprites have been seen, off and on, for at least a century, most scientists did not believe they existed until after 1989 when sprites were photographed by cameras onboard the space shuttle. Now "sprite chasers" routinely photograph sprites from their own backyards. Give it a try.

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 August 22, 2007 there were 878 potentially hazardous asteroids.
July 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2007 FV42
July 2
53 LD
15
1.2 km
2007 MB4
July 4
7.6 LD
16
130 m
2007 DT103
July 29
9.3 LD
15
550 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 Environment 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...
©2007, SpaceWeather.com -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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