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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 566.9 km/sec
density: 0.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A8
2050 UT Jun03
24-hr: B1
1355 UT Jun03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 03 Jun 10
Sunspot 1076 poses a growing threat for C-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 18
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 02 Jun 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 33 days (22%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 801 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 02 Jun 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 75 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 02 Jun 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.0 nT
Bz: 3.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about June 7th. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jun 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: 2010 Jun 03 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
20 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
25 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
June 3, 2010

NEW AND IMPROVED: Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a field-tested global satellite tracker. The Satellite Flybys app now works in all countries.


MUST-SEE ROCK VIDEO: Moonlighting NASA engineers have helped build an extraordinary Rube Goldberg contraption for the rock band OK Go. Watch the video. Done? Go back and read the fascinating comments of the engineers printed beneath the video. Rock n' roll may never be the same.

NLC SEASON BEGINS: Recent data from NASA's AIM spacecraft show that noctilucent clouds (NLCs) are like a great "geophysical light bulb." They turn on every year in late spring, reaching almost full intensity over a period of no more than 5 to 10 days. News flash: The bulb is beginning to glow. Jesper Grønne photographed a bank of NLCs rippling over Silkeborg, Denmark, on June 1st:

"I made a 3-hour movie of the phenomenon," says Grønne. "There was a lot of activity." Lars Zielke of Tvis, Denmark, witnessed the same display. "They were visible due north near the horizon. The clouds were not spectacular compared to others I've seen, but it's a start."

There is a well-known correlation between noctilucent clouds and the solar cycle. NLC activity tends to peak during (and just after) years of solar minimum, possibly because low solar activity allows the upper atmosphere to cool, promoting the growth of ice crystals that make up the clouds. With the sun slowly emerging from a century-class minimum, the stage could be set for a good season of NLC watching.

Typically, the first NLCs of spring are wan and pale, followed by better displays as summer unfolds. Browse the galleries from previous years to see what may be in the offing: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003.

Observing tips: Look west 30 to 60 minutes after sunset when the Sun has dipped 6o to 16o below the horizon. If you see luminous blue-white tendrils spreading across the sky, you may have spotted a noctilucent cloud.

FAST-GROWING SUNSPOT: Sunspot 1076 has tripled in size since yesterday and now poses a growing threat for C-class solar flares. Cai-Uso Wohler sends this picture of the active region from Bispingen, Germany:

Each of the dark cores in Wohler's image is about the size of Earth. That's why the active region is such an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. Monitoring is encouraged.

more images: from Rogerio Marcon of Campinas SP Brasil; from Steve Wainwright of Gower S. Wales UK; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Alan Friedman of Buffalo, NY;

May 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Mays: 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002] [aurora alerts]

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 June 3, 2010 there were 1127 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 JR34
May 14
5.8 LD
12 m
2003 HR32
May 17
55.2 LD
1.0 km
2010 JN71
May 26
8.2 LD
245 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
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.













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