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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 499.2 km/sec
density: 2.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Jun29
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Jun29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Jun 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 25 June 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= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.5 nT
Bz: 1.5 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Jun 29 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 Jun 29 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
June 29, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of June 25th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

SOLAR SAIL: This summer, NASA engineers will try to realize a dream older than the Space Age itself--the deployment of a working solar sail in Earth orbit. NanoSail-D is scheduled for launch onboard a SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket on July 29, 2008: full story.

LAVENDER SUNS: California is on fire. Hundreds of wildfires in the northern half of the state are filling the air with smoke and filling the sky with ... lavender suns? Christopher Calubaquib saw one on June 26th when he looked through the haze over El Sobrante, California:

"Because of the smoke, the sun was not very bright, and I didn't need to use a filter to take the picture," says Calubaquib. The colors are genuine. A day later, another lavender sun appeared over Arcata, California: "This photo was not processed or retouched; it's how the sun really looked," says photographer Mike Kelly.

What makes the sun lavender? It happens when the air is filled with particles measuring about 1 micron (10-6 m) across, a little larger than the wavelength of red light. Micron-sized particles scatter red light strongly, while letting shades of blue pass through. The mix of ash over El Sobrante produced a lavender hue, reminiscent of the great Alberta muskeg fires of September 1950. Believe it or not, the same physics can turn the Moon blue, but that is another story.

Is the smoke wafting through your hometown this weekend? Be alert for the lavender sun.

WHERE ARE THE CANADIAN NLCs? Noctilucent cloud (NLC) activity is intensifying. In the past two weeks, vivid electric-blue waves and tendrils have been sighted in Russia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, Germany, the Czech republic, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Latitudes between 50o and 56o north have been favored with particularly bright displays. And that raises a question: Where are the Canadian NLCs? (continued below)

NLCs over Latvia on June 26th. Photo credit: Aigar Truhin. [gallery]

NLC sightings from the same range of latitudes in Canada have been conspicuous by their absence. "I look for NLCs every night, and there haven't been any," reports Ed Steer of Edmonton, Alberta. "Tonight (June 26th, the date of a big display over Europe) has perfect viewing conditions and there isn't even a hint of any around." Only a pair of photos of a weak display over Calgary on June 27th bucks the trend.

NLCs in Canada are either substantially absent or going unnoticed. One factor at work may be the low population density of Canada compared to Europe in range of NLC activity. Fewer eyeballs means fewer sightings. On the other hand, NLCs may be truly avoiding North America. These are mysterious clouds and their behavior is unpredictable.

Canadian readers, your observations are needed. Check the photo gallery for observing tips and be alert for NLCs.

June 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. [comment]
On June 29, 2008, there were 959 potentially hazardous asteroids.
June-July 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 KO
June 1
4.4 LD
60 m
2008 KT
June 3
3.3 LD
9 m
2008 LB
June 9
3.3 LD
26 m
2008 LG2
June 13
9.2 LD
36 m
2008 LC
June 17
9.8 LD
55 m
2008 KN11
June 22
9.0 LD
110 m
2000 AD205
June 26
54 LD
800 m
1999 VU
June 29
65 LD
1.6 km
2008 BT18
July 14
5.9 LD
1.0 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 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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