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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 316.7 km/sec
density: 2.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Jan23
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Jan23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 23 Jan 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 23 Jan. 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= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 0
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.5 nT
Bz: 2.4 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 Jan. 25th or 26th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Jan 23 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: 2009 Jan 23 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
00 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
January 23, 2009

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


SEVERE SPACE WEATHER: Did you know a solar flare can cause your toilet to stop working? That's one of the surprising conclusions of a NASA-funded study on the social and economic impacts of severe space weather. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

SOLAR ECLIPSE: Oh to be in Borneo! On Monday, Jan. 26th, inhabitants of that heavily forested island will witness the sunset of a lifetime. Just as the sun descends into the waves of the Indian Ocean, the Moon will pass in front of the sun--dead center--covering 93% of the solar disk. The ensemble will form a stunning "ring of fire," something like this:

A Pacific annular eclipse in Jan. 1992. Photo credit: Dennis Mammana

Similar sunset rings will appear over the nearby islands of Java and Sumatra: map. Astronomers call such an event an annular eclipse.

Elsewhere, the Moon will pass off-center producing crescent suns of varying depth over south Africa, Madagascar, Australia, southern parts of India and southeast Asia. Sky watchers in those places should attend to the ground: crescent sunbeams will dapple the earth beneath leafy trees and garden latticework. Stay tuned for photos! Related links:

EXPLORE THE SUNSPOT CYCLE: Were you born under an active sun or a quiet sun? To find out, enter your birth date in the sunspot plotter:

The red curve traces monthly-averaged sunspot numbers tabulated by the Solar Influences Data Center in Belgium. Data points go all the way back to 1755, so you can investigate the relationship between solar activity and many historical events: Do stocks crash during solar minimum? Did NASA send astronauts to the Moon during Solar Max? How do sunspots affect the length of mini-skirts? If you find any interesting coincidences, be sure to tell the webmaster.

Permanent Link: Sunspot Plotter

Jan. 2009 Aurora Gallery
[Previous Januaries: 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2001]
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 January 23, 2009 there were 1017 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Jan. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 YC29
Jan. 2
3.4 LD
35 m
2008 YY32
Jan. 3
6.2 LD
40 m
2008 YG30
Jan. 4
3.6 LD
50 m
2008 YV32
Jan. 9
2.7 LD
25 m
2008 YF29
Jan. 11
9.7 LD
65 m
2002 AO11
Jan. 15
7.7 LD
120 m
1998 CS1
Jan. 17
11 LD
1.3 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
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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