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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 484.0 km/sec
density: 2.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B5
2155 UT Sep27
24-hr: B5
2155 UT Sep27
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 27 Sept 10
Sunspot 1109 is growing and could produce a C-class flare during the next 24 hours. Credit: SDO/HMI. Resolutions: 4096, 1024, 512
Sunspot number: 57
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 26 Sep 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 41 days (15%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 809 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 26 Sep 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 84 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 26 Sep 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.7 nT
Bz: 3.1 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 27 Sept 10
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole might brush against Earth's magnetic field on Sept. 29th or 30th. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Sep 27 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
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 Sep 27 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
Monday, Sep. 27, 2010
What's up in space

AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE


CRESCENT PLANET: When the sun sets this evening, look low and west for Venus beaming through the twilight. A telescope pointed at the bright Evening Star will reveal a delicate crescent. Venus has phases and it is now only 22% illuminated. Recent images: #1, #2, #3, #4.

A MAGIC NIGHT IN GREENLAND: A solar wind stream buffeted Earth's magnetic field over the weekend, sparking Northern Lights around the Arctic Circle. Ed Stockard sends this report from the National Science Foundation's Summit Observatory, 11,000 feet atop the ice sheet in Greenland: "We've had cloudy weather for nearly six weeks. A long-awaited clear night on Sept. 25th brought out the auroras--shown here over an elevated structure we call 'the Big House.'"

View the complete panorama

Auroras, however, were only a fraction of the show. "I stitched together five images to create a panorama," says Stockard. "It shows the Harvest Moon, Jupiter, auroras over the Big House and a lunar fogbow 180o from the moon. Magical!"

Another solar wind stream could brush against Earth's magnetic field on Sept. 29th. Sky watchers on the ice sheet and elsewhere around the Arctic Circle should remain alert for auroras.

UPDATED: Sept. 2010 Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Septembers: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2001, 2000]

TRIPLE RAINBOW: Double rainbows are commonplace. Sunlight reflected once inside raindrops produces the primary arc; sunlight reflected twice produces the secondary. Most people who have seen a single rainbow, have also seen a double.

But have you ever seen a triple? Daryl Pederson of Anchorage, Alaska, spotted one on Sept. 20th:

"Here's something you don't see every day--three rainbows at once!" says Pederson. "The bonus third rainbow was caused by an image of the sun reflected from Potter's Marsh into the falling rain above."

Three rainbows is not the record, however. Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley has documented cases of four, five and even six bows in the same scene. Read all about them here.

more images: from Calvin Hall of Beluga Point near Anchorage Alaska; from John Maynard of Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota; from Jeff Berkes of Kilo, Hawaii; from Marko Korosec of Dolenja vas, Senozece, Slovenia, Europe; from Alan Dyer of Cluny, Alberta, Canada; from Slanec Erich of Vienna, Austria

  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 September 27, 2010 there were 1145 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 SE
Sep 18
5.7 LD
57 m
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 web 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...
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