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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 324.7 km/sec
density: 2.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A6
1745 UT Jul05
24-hr: C1
0710 UT Jul05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 05 July 09
New-cycle sunspot 1024 is growing rapidly and crackling with B-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 24
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 July 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2009 total: 142 days (77%)
Since 2004: 653 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 04 July 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= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.0 nT
Bz: 1.2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from this high-latitude coronal hole will probably miss Earth. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Jul 05 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: 2009 Jul 05 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
July 5, 2009

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


SPACE STATION MARATHON: The International Space Station (ISS) is about to make a remarkable series of flybys over the United States. Beginning this 4th of July weekend, the station will appear once, twice, and sometimes three times a day for many days in a row. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flyby times.

SUDDEN SUPER SUNSPOT: Sunspot 1024 is crackling with B- and C-class solar flares. The activity is so intense, astronomers can't seem to take a picture of the sunspot without catching a flare in action. Pete Lawrence sends this example from his backyard observatory in Selsey, UK:

"Active region 1024 is putting on a fantastic show," says Lawrence. "The center of this region is incredibly bright and fluctuating."

Solar observers haven't seen an active region like this one in more than two years. It is big, complex, and rapidly growing: movie. The magnetic polarity of the sunspot, revealed by SOHO magnetograms, show that it is a member of new Solar Cycle 24. This makes sense: New research shows that solar jet streams are beginning to stimulate new-cycle sunspot production. Sunspot 1024 appears to be a sign of the process at work, heralding more to come. Monitoring is encouraged.

more images: from Anthony Ayiomamitis of Athens, Greece; from Didier Favre of Br├ętigny-sur-Orge, France; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from Pavol Rapavy of Observatory Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia; from Steve Wainwright of Swansea, S. Wales UK; from Jan Timmermans of Valkenswaard, The Netherlands; from Mark Townley of Brierley Hill, West Midlands, UK; from David B.V. Tyler of southern England; from Brian Woosnam of In North Wales UK; from Lecoq Etienne of Mesnil Panneville Normandy ,France; from Florin Marc of Tirgu Mures, Romania

PLANETARY FIREWORKS: Amateur astronomer Alfredo Garcia Jr didn't expect to see many stars and planets when he took his family to see the 4th of July fireworks show at Disneyland. The explosions were just too bright. But lo and behold, there was Saturn:

Photo details: Canon EOS KissX2, 1/30 sec, ASA 1600

"Much to my surprise, some of the fireworks made a ringed planet," says Garcia. "It reminded me so much of Saturn, that I plan to take a look at the planet tonight through my telescope." Readers who feel the same way may find Saturn--the real one--in the constellation Leo. Look west after sunset: sky map.

UPDATED: 2009 Sarychev Sunset Gallery
[See also: 2008 Kasatochi Sunset Photo Gallery]

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

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 July 5, 2009 there were 1065 potentially hazardous asteroids.
July 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 MM8
July 13
11.4 LD
53 m
2008 NP3
July 18
11.8 LD
87 m
2006 TU7
July 20
14.2 LD
175 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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