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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 301.5 km/sec
density: 3.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2335 UT Jan01
24-hr: B2
1240 UT Jan01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 01 Jan. 10
Growing sunspot 1039 is a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 18
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 31 Dec 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 771 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 31 Dec 2009

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 80 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 31 Dec 2009

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= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.7 nT
Bz: 7.6 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes in the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jan 01 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
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 Jan 01 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
January 1, 2010

SATELLITE FLYBYS APP: Turn your iPhone or iPod into a field-tested satellite tracker! presents the Satellite Flybys app.


SPIRIT'S UNCERTAIN FUTURE: NASA's Mars rover Spirit is about to mark six years of Red Planet exploration. However, the upcoming Martian winter could end the roving career of the beloved, scrappy robot: full story.

ORANGE BLUE MOON: Some people insist that last night's full moon was not Blue. They're right. It was orange:

"This was, hands down, the most spectacular moonrise I have ever seen--an orange Blue moon!" says photographer Doug Zubenel of Kansas.

Orange moons are run-of-the-mill atmospheric optics. Earth's atmosphere acts as a dirty lens, distorting and reddening the Moon whenever it hangs too close to the horizon. Orange moons can be seen on most nights if you know when to look. Orange Blue moons, on the other hand, are a little more unusual. They come along once every 2.7 years, on average. Next up: August 31, 2012. Mark your calendar and, meanwhile, browse the links below.

more Orange Blue Moon shots: from Darrell Oake of Dartmouth NS Canada; from Stephen O'Meara of Volcano, Hawaii; from Konstantinos Christodoulopoulos of Almyri Beach, Korinthos, Greece; from P. Nikolakakos of Sparta, Greece;

BLUE MOON ECLIPSE: Blue moons--rare. Blue moons on New Year's Eve--really rare. A lunar eclipse of a Blue Moon on New Year's Eve--well, that's just ridiculous.

Yet that's exactly what happened yesterday in Europe, Asia, Africa and parts of Alaska. The Blue moon on New Year's Eve passed through the outskirts of Earth's shadow, producing this 8% lunar eclipse:

"The skies over Alaska were crystal-clear Thursday morning, affording onlookers a nice view of the eclipse of the Blue moon," says photographer Dave Parkhurst on the Knik Arm of the Cook Inlet. "It was a nice way to start the last day of the year."

For the record, the average annual rate of blue Moons is 0.37 per year. The rate of Blue moons on New Year's Eve is 0.05 per year. The rate of lunar eclipses of Blue moons on New Year's Eve is 0.01 per year. Click on the link below to view a very rare gallery:

Blue Moon Eclipse Gallery
[Science@NASA: Blue Moon on New Year's Eve]

December Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Decembers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2001, 2000]

Explore the Sunspot Cycle

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 1, 2010 there were 1091 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Dec. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 WV25
Dec. 1
2.9 LD
65 m
2009 WA52
Dec. 5
8.2 LD
23 m
2002 WP
Dec. 6
71.2 LD
950 m
2009 XO2
Dec. 23
8.6 LD
85 m
2009 YR
Dec. 25
4.3 LD
10 m
24761 Ahau
Jan. 11
70.8 LD
1.4 km
2000 YH66
Jan. 12
69.5 LD
1.1 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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