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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 474.5 km/sec
density: 6.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2142 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Sep30
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Sep30
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 30 Sep 08
Two new sunspots are emerging inside the circled areas. It is too soon to say if they belong to the old or new solar cycle. The spots are most obvious in this magnetic map of the sun. Credit: SOHO/MDI

more images: from Monty Leventhal of Sydney, Australia
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 29 Sept. 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: 6.9 nT
Bz: 0.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2142 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Oct. 1st or 2nd. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Sep 30 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 Sep 30 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
10 %
25 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
20 %
30 %
15 %
15 %
05 %
What's up in Space
September 30, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of August 9th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

AURORA WATCH: Arriving earlier than expected, a solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetic field. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras tonight.

PROTO-SUNSPOTS: Magnetic fields are poking through the sun's surface and struggling to form a pair of new sunspots. Their locations are indicated on this morning's SOHO magnetic map of the sun:

The magnetic orientation of the northern hemisphere proto-spot identifies it as a member of new Solar Cycle 24. The other spot near the equator may be a member of old Solar Cycle 23. During the long transition from one solar cycle to the next, it is not unusual to see members of both cycles on the sun at the same time.

Readers, if you have a solar telesscope, monitoring is encouraged.

more images: from Pavol Rapavy of Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia

GOODBYE, JULES VERNE: Yesterday, a 44,000-lb spacecraft plunged into Earth's atmosphere over the south Pacific Ocean, and this was the result:

Photo credit: Jules Verne MAC observing campaign

Goodbye, Jules Verne. The robotic cargo carrier was deliberately guided into the atmosphere by European mission controllers, bringing an end to a successful 6-month mission.

In April 2008, Jules Verne performed the first-ever automated docking to the International Space Station (ISS), delivering more than 2 tons of supplies without any assistance from human controllers. The spacecraft quickly became a valuable part of the ISS. Several times Jules Verne used its engines to reboost the space station's orbit, once helping to dodge a piece of space junk, while the spacious interior of the cargo ship became an impromptu bedroom and "hygiene center" for the crew. Eventually, Jules Verne was re-filled with trash and on Sept. 29th it was sent back to Earth.

Scientists onboard a NASA DC-8 research plane photographed the reentry. They're studying how spacecraft and meteoroids break apart in Earth's atmosphere--and Jules Verne provided valuable data. Stay tuned for their findings.

Sept. 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night 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 September 30, 2008 , there were 986 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Sept. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2003 WT153
Sept. 7
5.8 LD
11 m
1996 HW1
Sept. 12
53 LD
3.7 km
2003 SW130
Sept. 19
8.6 LD
7 m
1998 UO1
Sept. 26
25 LD
2.0 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
  a one-stop hub for all things scientific
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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