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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 410.2 km/sec
density: 3.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Jul26
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Jul26
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 26 July 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 25 July 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 15 days
2009 total: 157 days (76%)
Since 2004: 668 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 25 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= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.0 nT
Bz: 1.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 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 Jul 26 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 Jul 26 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 26, 2009

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


SPACE STATION FLYBYS: Space shuttle Endeavour is docked to the International Space Station, and this week the two spaceships are going to fly in tandem over many US towns and cities. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker to find out when to look.

EARLY PERSEID FIREBALL: Earth is entering a stream of dusty debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle, the source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Although the shower won't peak until August 11th and 12th, the show is already underway. Brian Emfinger of Ozark, Arkansas, photographed this Perseid just after midnight on Sunday, July 26th:

"I caught the fireball and its smoke trail using my Canon Digital Rebel XT," says Emfinger. "It flew through the field of view during a one minute exposure."

This early Perseid whets the appetite for the greater show ahead. Meteor rates, low now, will increase as Earth moves deeper into the debris stream. On peak-night, sky watchers could see more than 60 Perseids per hour. Stay tuned for updates as the shower unfolds.

JUPITER'S IMPACT CLOUD EXPANDS: Jupiter's impact cloud is expanding. On July 19th, when it was discovered by amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley, the dark mark near Jupiter's south pole was barely visible in backyard telescopes. Five days later Wesley photographed the impact cloud again and found that it had approximately tripled in size:

High-resolution images from the Hubble Space Telescope reveal what's happening: turbulence and jet streams in Jupiter's atmosphere are causing the cloud to spread out. The vast impact site is now tens of thousands of times wider than the 100m-class comet or asteroid that created it.

The expansion of the cloud makes it easier than ever to see through a backyard telescope: sky map. The cloud is located near Jupiter's System II longitude 210°. For the predicted times when it will cross the planet's central meridian, add 2 hours and 6 minutes to Sky and Telescope's predicted transit times for Jupiter's Great Red Spot.

more images: from Tom King of Watauga, Texas; from Mike Salway of Central Coast, NSW Australia; from Mike Hood of Kathleen, Georgia; from Alphajuno of League City, Texas; from Jim Melka of Chesterfield, Missouri,; from Giovanni Soligo of Formia (Latina), Italy; from Dennis Put of Brielle, Netherlands; from Ricardo Kuehn of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil; from Paul Kinzer of Galesville, Wisconsin; from Juan Miguel González Polo of Cáceres, Spain; from Tom Jorgenson of Hartmann Creek State Park near Waupaca, WI; from Tom Murdic of Franklin, Tennessee;

July 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Julys: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]

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

July 22nd Eclipse Gallery
[previous eclipses: Jan 26, 2009; Aug. 1, 2008; Mar. 19, 2007]

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 26, 2009 there were 1067 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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