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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 701.9 km/sec
density: 2.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
0910 UT Feb10
24-hr: A0
0910 UT Feb10
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 0910 UT
Daily Sun: 10 Feb 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 10 Feb 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no large sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 5
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.8 nT
Bz: 5.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Feb 10 2203 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 Feb 10 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
25 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
45 %
30 %
15 %
10 %
01 %
01 %

What's up in Space
February 10, 2008
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.   mySKY

AURORA ALERT: High-latitude sky watchers, be alert for auroras. Earth is entering a solar wind stream and the encounter is causing geomagnetic storms. This morning in Alaska, "the auroras were so bright they lit up the mountains with an emerald green color," reports Dave Taylor from the Matanuska Glacier. Across the Bering Strait in Russia, an equally dramatic display was observed.

THE VIEW FROM ABOVE: When auroras flare up, a great place to be is Earth orbit. Here is the view from the International Space Station (ISS), 200 miles high:

Crewmembers took the picture during a mild geomagnetic storm on Feb. 1st. At the time, the ISS was orbiting over the Bay of St. Lawrence and the camera (a Nikon D2Xs) pointing north with a view of Quebec and Newfoundland. More images: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5.

Although the auroras appear to be below the ISS, they are in fact at about the same altitude. Indeed, from time to time, the space station flies right through the Northern Lights--an indescribable experience according to astronauts who have been there.

Will they experience the indescribable this weekend? A solar wind stream is again buffeting Earth's magnetic field and this could result in a lovely show for the combined crews of the ISS and space shuttle Atlantis. Stay tuned!

SIGHTINGS: Last night in Wirral, UK, John Locker trained his 8-inch telescope on the International Space Station flying overhead and witnessed a brilliant flare from the station's starboard solar array:

Click to view the movie

Briefly, "the visual magnitude of the station reached -5," says Locker. (That's almost twice as bright as Venus.) "Sunlight hitting the solar array gave the complex a nice warm glow."

Recent construction has expanded the space station, making it an increasingly bright and easy target for backyard telescopes. Sky watchers in Europe and North America, ready your optics for a series of favorable flybys in the evenings ahead: flyby alerts.

EXTRA: Radek Grochowski of Swidnica, Poland, notes that "the space station has grown so large, you don't even need a telescope to see its basic shape. I took these pictures using nothing but a handheld Nikon D300 digital camera and a telephoto lens.

more images: from Albert Engert of Reichenberg, BY, Germany; from Marco Langbroek of Leiden, the Netherlands; from Marc Rathmann of Rosslau, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany; from Martin Wagner of Sonnenbuehl - Genkingen, Germany; from Quentin Déhais of Normandy, France; from Robert Malmström of Reutlingen - Rommelsbach, Germany; from Francesco De Comite of Mouscron Belgium; from Roy Keeris of Zeist, The Netherlands; from Andy Taylor of Fleet, Hampshire, UK; from

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. [comment]
On February 10, 2008 there were 923 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Feb. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 CT1
Feb. 5
0.3 LD
13 m
2007 DA
Feb. 12
9.8 LD
140 m
4450 Pan
Feb. 19
15.9 LD
1.6 km
2002 TD66
Feb. 26
16.7 LD
440 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 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...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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