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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 659.5 km/sec
density: 0.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2315 UT Aug26
24-hr: B2
1050 UT Aug26
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 26 Aug 10
Sunspot 1101 is big but quiet. Overall, solar activity is very low.
Resolutions: 4096, 1024, 512
Sunspot number: 23
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 25 Aug 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 25 Aug 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 74 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 25 Aug2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.5 nT
Bz: 0.1 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Aug 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: 2010 Aug 26 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
20 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
50 %
30 %
20 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
August 26, 2010

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.


MIDNIGHT RENDEZVOUS: Tonight, at the stroke of midnight, go outside an look southeast. The nearly full Moon and Jupiter are having a lovely close encounter. The two brightest objects in the night sky are only only 6o apart: sky map.

BLUE SKY AURORAS: Normally, darkness is required to see the auroras borealis. This week, however, Arctic sky watchers have witnessed Northern Lights dancing on a stage of vivid twilight blue:

Kjetil Skogli sends the picture from Tromsø, Norway, 300 miles inside the Arctic circle. "The auroras were so bright," says Skogli. "It was great to see them again after a long summer of midnight suns." With autumn approaching, the night sky is darkening enough for bright auroras to punch through the glare. "I'm looking forward to more," he says.

More are in the offing. NOAA forecasters estimate a 50% chance of geomagnetic activity during the next 24 hours as a high-speed solar wind stream continues to buffet Earth's magnetic field. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras.

SMALLEST FULL MOON OF THE YEAR: If you thought this week's full Moon looked a bit small, you were right. It was the smallest full Moon of the year. Anthony Ayiomamitis of Athens, Greece, offers this comparison:

It shows the largest full Moon of the year (Jan. 30) vs. the smallest (Aug. 25th). "The difference between the two full moons is around 14.5% and certainly easily noticeable by the naked eye," says Ayiomamitis.

Johannes Kepler explained the difference 401 years ago: The Moon's orbit around Earth is an ellipse. One side of the orbit (perigee) is 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other (apogee). The full Moon of Aug. 25th was a distant apogee Moon, and that's why it looked so small.

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

2010 Perseid Photo Gallery
[meteor radar] [meteor alerts]

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 August 26, 2010 there were 1144 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2002 CY46
Sep 2
63.8 LD
2.4 km
2010 LY63
Sep 7
56 LD
1.2 km
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 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 images of the Sun from SOHO.
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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