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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 531.6 km/sec
density: 0.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A6
2015 UT Jun04
24-hr: A9
0310 UT Jun04
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 04 Jun 10
Sunspot 1076 poses a slight threat for C-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 17
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 03 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 03 Jun 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 75 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 03 Jun 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 5
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.9 nT
Bz: 1.9 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 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 04 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 04 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
15 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
20 %
15 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
June 4, 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.


THE SUN AWAKENS, NASA IS WARY: The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and the next few years could bring much higher levels of solar activity. NASA is keeping a wary eye on the sun as officials meet in Washington DC on June 8th to discuss the potential consequences of stormy space weather. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

JUPITER IMPACT! Amateur astronomers Anthony Wesley of Australia and Christopher Go of the Philippines have independently observed an impact event on Jupiter. The strike occurred at 20:31 UT on June 3rd and produced a bright flash of light in the giant planet's cloudtops:

Photo credit: Anthony Wesley, Broken Hill Australia

"I still can't believe that I caught a live impact on Jupiter," says Go, who has made a must-see video of the event.

"There were no visible remains at the impact point for the next half hour or so, until sunrise put an end to the imaging," says Wesley.

The nature of the impactor is presently unknown. It might have been an asteroid or a comet. In either case, a dark and cindery debris field is expected to develop around the impact point; that's what has happened in the aftermath of previous Jupiter impacts. Astronomers are encouraged to monitor Jupiter, and stay tuned for updates.

Update #3: A full day has elapsed since the flash, and many observatories have imaged the impact site. So far, a prominent debris cloud has not emerged. Was this impactor too small to produce much debris? Observations will continue...

Update #2: Wesley has posted a 46 MB video of the impact on his web page.

Update #1: Anthony Wesley has pinpointed the impact site at Jovian latitude minus 16.1o, and central meridian longitudes CM1: 300o, CM2: 33.8o and CM3: 210.4o.

NOCTILUCENT CLOUDS: Every summer since the late 19th century, Earth's polar skies have lit up with gossamer, electric-blue clouds, twisting and rippling in the twilight sky. They're called noctilucent ("night-shining") because they can be seen after dark. The origin of the clouds, which hover at the very top of Earth's atmosphere in close proximity to space itself, is uncertain. They have been linked to causes as varied as meteoroids, climate change, and the icy exhaust of the space shuttle.

News flash: The 2010 noctilucent cloud (NLC) season has just begun in the northern hemisphere. 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.

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 4, 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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