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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 290.5 km/sec
density: 1.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1800 UT Jun04
24-hr: A4
1530 UT Jun04
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 04 June 09
New-cycle sunspot 1019 is breaking apart and beginning to fade away.. Credit: SOHO/MDI

more images: from Mark Walters of Four Crosses, Powys, Wales, UK
Sunspot number: 17
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 03 Jun 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2009 total: 123 days (80%)
Since 2004: 634 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 03 Jun 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= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.5 nT
Bz: 3.3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 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: 2009 Jun 04 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
June 4, 2009

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


FAKE ASTRONAUT HIT BY ARTIFICIAL SOLAR FLARE: Researchers are blasting a fake astronaut complete with blood cells and simulated human tissue to an artificial solar flare. How the unlucky volunteer emerges from the radiation storm will reveal for the first time how much of a threat severe solar flares pose to astronauts en route to the Moon and Mars: full story.

NIGHT-SHINING CLOUDS: "Last night, we had our first really beautiful display of noctilucent clouds this season. They have really taken off now!" reports John C. McConnell of Maghaberry, Northern Ireland, who took the picture below using a Canon 400D. "The display started just after twilight ended and lasted until 03:00 o'clock in the morning."

Photo details: Canon 400D, ISO800, 8-10 seconds

Also in Northern Ireland, photographer Martin Mc Kenna witnessed the display. "The clouds had great electric blue colours and intricate structures--bands, whirls and veils all visible at the same time. I can't wait to see the major displays over the next few weeks if this is what we are getting now!"

Indeed, the weeks ahead could be good. There is a well-known correlation between noctilucent clouds (NLCs) and the solar cycle: NLC activity tends to peak during 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 a century-class solar minimum underway, the stage is set for NLCs.

2009 Noctilucent Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]

DAYLIGHT STATION SIGHTING: How bright is the International Space Station? It's so bright, you can now see it in broad daylight. Just a few hours ago, Yaron Koler photographed the station framed in blue as it zipped past the Moon in the afternoon skies of Modiin, Israel:

"I used a Canon 500D with a 1.4x Kenko Telephoto Converter Lens," says Koler.

The ISS has been under construction almost continuously for the past 11 years: assembly sequence. The behemoth spacecraft now reflects so much sunlight, it rivals the surface brightness of the Moon in the daytime sky. Sunlight glinting from the station's solar arrays can cause flares as bright as magnitude -8, more than 25 times brighter than Venus!

Imagine how it looks when the sky is actually dark! Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for nightime flybys of your home town.

April 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Aprils: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002]

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 June 4, 2009 there were 1062 potentially hazardous asteroids.
June 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 KR21
June 1
0.7 LD
21 m
2009 KL8
June 1
5.1 LD
63 m
2003 QO104
June 9
36.8 LD
2.9 km
1994 CC
June 10
6.6 LD
1.2 km
2001 FE90
June 28
7.0 LD
435 m
2002 KL6
June 28
57.5 LD
1.4 km
2006 MV1
June 30
9.6 LD
20 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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