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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 390.9 km/sec
density: 1.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Apr22
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Apr22
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 22 Apr 09
Sunspot 1015 is fading away. It emerged late yesterday, April 21st, with a magnetic imprint that identifies it as a member of new Solar Cycle 24. At the rate it is decaying, the lifetime of the spot could total fewer than 24 hours. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 11
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 22 Apr 2009

NEW: Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2009 total: 97 days (88%)
Since 2004: 608 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 22 Apr 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= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.5 nT
Bz: 2.3 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 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: 2009 Apr 22 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 Apr 22 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
April 22, 2009

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


FADING SUNSPOT: New sunspot 1015 emerged yesterday to break a string of 25 consecutive spotless days. It was a short break. Less than 24 hours after it appeared, the tiny sunspot is already fading away.

SURGING PROMINENCE: Every clear day, astrophotographer Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK, scans the limb of the sun for photogenic prominences. "This morning I spotted a rather odd looking one," he says. "I've never seen anything quite like it before." This photo shows the view through his SolarScope SF-70:

The twisting, swirling maelstrom underwent many changes in the hours that followed Lawrence's first sighting. "At one point I could see real time movement on my computer screen," he says. "It was amazing!"

Apparently, even the quiet sun has something to offer. If you have a solar telescope, take a look.

VENUSIAN ECLIPSE: Earlier today, people in western parts of North America witnessed an eclipse of Venus by the crescent Moon. Venus was half-covered when Rich Swanson of Sierra Vista, Arizona, took this picture:

Photo details: Canon 20Dh, Stellarvue 102ED, 1/800 sec, ISO 400

"The sun was rising quickly, but who cares!" says Swanson. "The eclipse was visible in daylight."

Hours later, Venus and the Moon are still close together. Readers, if the sun is shining where you live, go outside and look west of the sun for the crescent Moon. Found it? Scan the sky nearby for Venus. Binoculars help, but if you use optics, be sure the dangerously-bright sun is hidden behind a hill or tall building. Venus and the Moon are pretty, but you wouldn't want them to be the last thing you ever see.

more images: from Jeff Stone at NASA's Mission Control parking lot in Houston, TX; from Ron Wayman of Tampa, Florida; from Thad V'Soske of Grand Valley, Colorado; from Mark Staples of Waldo, Florida; from Steve Riegel of Santa Maria, CA; from Barbara Harris of New Smyrna Beach, FL; from William Robb of Phoenix, Arizona; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Delores Browning of Rocksprings, Texas; from Peter Lardizabal of St Johns, Florida; from James Champagne of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; from Chuck Morlan of Frenchglen, Oregon; from William Robb of Phoenix, Arizona;

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 April 22, 2009 there were 1054 potentially hazardous asteroids.
April 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 FU30
Apr. 2
8.8 LD
44 m
2004 VC
Apr. 3
51.3 LD
785 m
2002 EB3
Apr. 10
41.3 LD
1.3 km
2003 SG170
Apr. 19
57.7 LD
1.2 km
2009 HF21
Apr. 21
7.4 LD
27 m
2009 HJ21
Apr. 23
1.3 LD
14 m
2009 FJ30
Apr. 24
9.7 LD
130 m
2001 VG5
Apr. 26
58.5 LD
2.1 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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