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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: 424.0 km/sec
density: 4.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2258 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Feb23
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Feb23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 23 Feb 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 22 Feb. 2009
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= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.4 nT
Bz: 2.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2300 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Feb 23 2201 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: 2009 Feb 23 2201 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
February 23, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you sleep through the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.

 

COSMIC COINCIDENCE: What are the odds? On Tuesday morning, Feb. 24th, Saturn and Comet Lulin will converge in the constellation Leo only 2o apart. At the same time, Comet Lulin will be making its closest approach to Earth (38 million miles), while four of Saturn's moons transit the disk of the ringed planet. Oh, and the Moon will be New, providing dark skies for anyone who wishes to see the show. All you need now ... is a telescope.

ONE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING: Set your alarm for 1 am. That's the best time to see Comet Lulin riding high in the southern sky pleasingly close to golden Saturn: sky map. To the unaided eye, Lulin looks like a faint patch of gas. Point your telescope at that patch and you will see a lovely green comet.

Astrophotographer Phil Jones sends this photo, a long exposure through a 4-inch Takahashi refractor, from the grounds of the Central Texas Astronomical Society Observatory in Clifton, Texas:

Got clouds? No problem. The Coca-Cola Space Science Center in Columbus, Georgia, plans to webcast the encounter. "We're going to transmit the view through our observatory's 16-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope," says astronomy professor Rosa Williams of Columbus State University. "The webcast begins at 11:30 EST on Monday, Feb. 23rd and will continue until 5 a.m. EST on Tuesday the 24th." Tune in!

SPEEDING COMET: "On Feb. 21st, Comet Lulin was visible to the naked eye with identical brightness as star b Vigo HP58510 with a magnitude of 5.35," reports Eddie Irizarry of the Sociedad de Astronomía del Caribe in Puerto Rico. "But what caught our attention most was Lulin's noticeable speed. Using a telescope, take a good look at the stars that surround Comet Lulin; then look again just 10 minutes later and you will see how Lulin's position has changed. It is amazing how fast this comet is moving!"

UPDATED: Comet Lulin Photo Gallery
[Comet Hunter Telescope] [Sky maps: Feb. 22, 23, 24, 25]

WEEKEND AURORAS: A solar wind stream hit Earth on Saturday, Feb 21st, and stirred up geomagnetic activity around the Arctic Circle. "It was very quiet until midnight and then the sky lit up with beautiful Northern Lights," reports Sylvain Serre from the Inuit village of Salluit in northern Canada. He snapped this picture using his Canon EOS 30D:


Photo details: Canon EOS 30D, 16mm fisheye, f2.8, 800 ISO, 3 sec

The solar wind stream that triggered the display came from a coronal hole--a magnetic "weak spot" in the sun's atmosphere that allows solar wind to escape into the solar system. The next coronal hole won't turn to face Earth for at least a week, which means Arctic auroras will probably subside until the early days of March. Until then, browse the gallery:

UPDATED: February 2009 Aurora Gallery
[Previous Februaries: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]


Explore the Sunspot Cycle

       
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 February 23, 2009 there were 1029 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Feb. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2009 BK58
Feb. 2
1.7 LD
17
30 m
2009 BG81
Feb. 2
4.4 LD
19
12 m
2009 CC2
Feb. 2
0.5 LD
17
12 m
2009 BW2
Feb. 5
8.4 LD
20
40 m
2009 CP
Feb. 8
7.7 LD
19
20 m
2009 BE58
Feb. 10
8.6 LD
16
225 m
2006 AS2
Feb. 10
9.2 LD
15
370 m
2009 BL58
Feb. 11
4.8 LD
17
55 m
1999 AQ10
Feb. 18
4.4 LD
13
390 m
2009 CV
Feb. 23
4.8 LD
18
62 m
2009 DU10
Feb. 24
2.3 LD
16
18 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.
STEREO
  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...
   
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