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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 438.6 km/sec
density: 8.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
1745 UT Sep07
24-hr: B6
0620 UT Sep07
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 07 Sept 10
Departing sunspot 1105 is crackling with B- and C-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Resolutions: 4096, 1024, 512
Sunspot number: 24
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 06 Sep 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 39 days (16%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 807 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 06 Sep 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 80 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 06 Sep 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.5 nT
Bz: 1.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 07 Sept 10
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Sep 07 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: 2010 Sep 07 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
Tuesday, Sep. 7, 2010
What's up in space

iPHONE VS ANDROID! Actually, it doesn't matter which phone you carry. Our cool, new app turns both smartphones into field-tested satellite trackers. Learn more.


DOUBLE ASTEROID FLYBY: It's a cosmic coincidence. Two asteroids, each about 10 to 15 meters wide, will fly past Earth within hours of one another on Sept. 8th. Although both are coming inside the orbit of the Moon, there is no danger of impact. At closest approach, 2010 RF12 will be 77,000 km (0.2 LD) away; 2010 RX30 will be even farther at 231,000 km (0.6 LD). Advanced amateur astronomers may be able to track the asteroids using these ephemerides. The fast-moving space rocks will shine like stars of 15th or 16th magnitude. Good luck, observers!

MORNING CRESCENT: In case you overslept and missed it, today began with an exquisite waning crescent Moon. Abbas Ahmadian sends this dawn snapshot from Isfahan, Iran:

"[Here in Iran], we call this 'the old crescent of Ramadan,'" he says. Its sighting heralds the end of Ramadan, the 9th lunar month of the Islamic calendar.

Soon, Muslims around the world will observe Eid al-Fitr, a major holiday marking the end of Ramadan fasting. The start-time of Eid al-Fitr depends sensitively on the lunar phase--i.e., when the first crescent of the next cycle is sighted on Sept. 9th. Coincidentally, that same crescent will mark the beginning of Tishrei, the first month of the Hebrew calendar, and Jews will be celebrating their New Year (Rosh Hashanah). Seldom are so many eyes watching the Moon.

more images: from Mohammad Mehdi Asgari of Arak, Markazi, Iran; from Mahdi Noorafza of Isfahan, Iran; from Tamás Ábrahám of Zsámbék, Hungary; from Lyle Anderson of Duluth, MN; from Bryan Murahashi of San Jose, Ca; from Jim Schuyler of Washington D.C.

HURRICANE SEASON: "Sometimes the stormy seas surrounding solar active regions remind me of hurricanes... especially in September," says astrophotographer Alan Friedman of Buffalo, New York. "Here is a photo of swirling sunspot 1101, taken through a red H-alpha filter, but tinted ocean blue."

Ironically, this is not a very stormy sunspot. The well-ordered, spiral magnetic field that so resembles a hurricane turns out to be remarkably stable. Sunspot 1101 has not emitted the slightest peep of a solar flare in more than two weeks.

A truly stormy sunspot looks more like this. Sunspot 1105, now approaching the sun's northwestern limb, has a fractured core surrounded by a profusion of smaller spots. Magnetic fields of opposite polarity are popping up and bumping together, causing the active region to crackle with B- and C-class solar flares. Readers, if you have a solar telescope, point it at the sun's northwestern limb. Hurricane season is underway.

August 2010 Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Augusts: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]

  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 September 7, 2010 there were 1144 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 QG2
Sep 3
4.6 LD
61 m
2010 RB12
Sep 4
2.5 LD
18 m
2010 LY63
Sep 7
56 LD
1.2 km
2010 RX30
Sep 8
0.6 LD
16 m
2010 RF12
Sep 8
0.2 LD
9 m
2009 SH2
Sep 30
7.1 LD
45 m
1998 UO1
Oct 1
32.1 LD
2.1 km
2005 GE59
Oct 1
77 LD
1.1 km
2001 WN5
Oct 10
41.8 LD
1.0 km
1999 VO6
Oct 14
34.3 LD
1.8 km
1998 TU3
Oct 17
69.1 LD
5.3 km
1998 MQ
Oct 23
77.7 LD
1.9 km
2007 RU17
Oct 29
40.6 LD
1.0 km
2003 UV11
Oct 30
5 LD
595 m
3838 Epona
Nov 7
76.8 LD
3.4 km
2005 QY151
Nov 16
77.7 LD
1.3 km
2008 KT
Nov 23
5.6 LD
10 m
2002 EZ16
Nov 30
73.9 LD
1.0 km
2000 JH5
Dec 7
47 LD
1.5 km
2010 JL33
Dec 9
16.6 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 web 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 Dynamics Observatory
  Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival site_images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar site_images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
  more links...
2010 Perseid meteor shower
2010 Perseid meteor shower
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