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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 360.3 km/sec
density: 6.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2342 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
1940 UT Feb15
24-hr: C1
0115 UT Feb15
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 15 Feb. 10
Sunspots 1046 and 1048 are members of new Solar Cycle 24. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 28
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 14 Feb 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 2 days (4%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 772 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 14 Feb 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 89 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 14 Feb 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.4 nT
Bz: 1.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth sometime during the next 24 hours. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Feb 15 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
25 %
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 Feb 15 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
30 %
15 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
35 %
20 %
20 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
February 15, 2010

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


SUNSET SKY SHOW: Tonight, about 15 minutes after sunset, go outside and look west. You'll find an exquisitely-slender crescent Moon hovering just above the horizon. Point your finger at the Moon and trace a line down, down, down--voila! It's Jupiter and Venus. The two brightest planets are converging for a conjunction deep in the glow of the setting sun. Find them if you can: sky map.

sunset shots: from David Harvey of Tucson, Arizona; from Robert Schalck of North Bend, Oregon

VALENTINE'S BLAST: Yesterday, Feb. 14th, extra-long sunspot 1045 rotated over the sun's western limb. En route to the farside, it blasted a cloud of plasma off the stellar surface. Amateur astronomer Rogerio Marcon of Campinas, Brasil, recorded the eruption:

"It was spectacular," says Marcon. "I made a movie of the event using my Coronado SolarMax40."

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) also observed a series of coronal mass ejections billowing over the western limb on Valentine's Day: snapshot. These events signal an uptick in solar activity on the farside of the sun. NASA's twin STEREO spacecraft are in position to monitor events there, so stay tuned.

more images: from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from Rogerio Marcon of Campinas, Brasil; from Steve Riegel of Santa Maria, CA; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from Steve Wainwright of Gower South Wales UK

CIRCULAR SUNBEAMS: One month ago in Kenya, Africa, something strange happened to the rays of the sun lancing through trees. They all turned into little circles! Janos Pelikan recorded the phenomenon displayed on the back of his own wife in Lake Nakuru National Park:

It was an annular solar eclipse. On January 15th, the Moon passed directly in front of the African sun, producing a "ring of fire" in the sky and circular sunbeams on the ground. "The sunbeams were my favorite part!" says Pelikan.

The path of annularity stretched from Africa across the Indian Ocean to Sri Lanka, Burma and finally China. Similar scenes were recorded in all those places. Sunbeams won't form a circle again until May 2012 when the next annular eclipse is due. Until then, browse the gallery:

Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[eclipse alerts] [solar telescopes]

February Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Februarys: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]

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 February 15, 2010 there were 1095 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Feb. 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 UN3
Feb. 9
14.3 LD
1.2 km
2001 FD58
Feb. 19
58.5 LD
0.9 km
2002 EZ11
Feb. 24
77.5 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 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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