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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 361.1 km/sec
density: 3.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B2
2130 UT Jan22
24-hr: B7
1710 UT Jan22
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 22 Jan. 10
Sunspot 1041 is a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 17
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 21 Jan 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 2 days (10%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 772 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 21 Jan 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 83 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 21 Jan 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.5 nT
Bz: 4.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jan 22 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
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 22 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
00 %
00 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
00 %
00 %
What's up in Space
January 22, 2010

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


VAPORIZED! ONE LESS COMET: As expected, yesterday's sungrazing comet discovered by STEREO did not survive its close encounter with the sun. One cosmic snowball went in--none came out. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) made this movie of the death plunge.

SUNSPOT UPDATE: Sunspot 1041 is calming down. After reeling off a string of five M-class solar flares between Jan. 18th and 20th, there have been no significant eruptions since. For now, the active region is merely photogenic:

Amateur astronomer Dennis Simmons took the picture yesterday from his backyard observatory in Brisbane, Australia.

Although it's been a calm day, the magnetic field of sunspot 1041 still harbors energy for strong eruptions. NOAA forecasters estimate a 35% chance of more M-flares during the next 24 hours. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor developments.

more images: from James Kevin Ty of Manila, the Philippines; from Pavol Rapavy of Observatory Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia

NORTHERN LIGHTS: On Jan. 20th, a solar wind stream hit Earth's magnetic field and sparked bright auroras around the Arctic Circle. "Finally, after what seemed like years of waiting, the sky exploded with auroras," says Andreas D. Skjervold of Bodø, Norway. "The display was so strong, I had no problem photographing it in the middle of the city lights by our Aviation museum in Bodø."

Photo details: Nikon D300, Sigma 10-20mm, 15 sec, ISO640

The solar wind's impact on Jan. 20th caused a geomagnetic storm registering 5 on the 0-to-9 K-index scale of magnetic disturbances. It was the first geomagnetic storm of the year--but probably not the last. With active sunspot 1041 turning toward Earth, there could be more in the offing. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras.

UPDATED: January Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Januarys: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2001]

Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[World Map of Eclipse Sightings]

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 22, 2010 there were 1093 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Jan. 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 AL2
Jan. 11
11.5 LD
23 m
24761 Ahau
Jan. 11
70.8 LD
1.4 km
2000 YH66
Jan. 12
69.5 LD
1.1 km
2010 AL30
Jan. 13
0.3 LD
18 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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