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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 529.3 km/sec
density: 0.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2210 UT Sep28
24-hr: C1
2210 UT Sep28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 28 Sept 10
Sunspot 1109 is slowly growing and could produce a C-class flare during the next 24 hours. Credit: SDO/HMI. Resolutions: 4096, 1024, 512
Sunspot number: 52
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 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 27 Sep 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 83 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 27 Sep 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.4 nT
Bz: 3.3 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 28 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 28 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 28 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Tuesday, Sep. 28, 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


SOLAR FLARE: This morning at 0948 UT, tiny sunspot 1110 unleashed a C1-class solar flare (SDO movie). The sunspot has started to grow and this event could herald a period of higher activity from the region.

ECLIPSE SEASON FOR SDO: NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is in a geosynchronous orbit around Earth, always hovering directly above a ground station near Las Cruces, New Mexico, where two large dish antennas receive SDO's record-breaking data stream. Most of the time, this is a great place to be; SDO can see the sun and transmit data non-stop. But not now. Ralph Seguin of the Lockheed-Martin Solar and Astrophysics Lab explains: "SDO has entered eclipse season. Around the time of the equinoxes, the spacecraft, Earth, and sun can line up almost perfectly. Once a day for about an hour, Earth blocks SDO's view of the sun." This occasionally produces strange results:

"Now we know," says Seguin, "what it would look like if Jupiter and the sun had a child."

Seriously, this is a composite of multiwavelength images and a magnetogram taken by SDO just as the sun was emerging from its daily blackout. "Magnetograms are computed from a series of images taken over a short time span. The ribbons of color result from Earth's motion across the sun during the series of exposures."

Seguin has prepared a movie showing what an eclipse looks like at one of SDO's extreme ultraviolet wavelengths: click to play. "Eclipse season will be over on Oct. 6th," he says. Meanwhile, stay tuned for strange.

SUNSPOT MIRAGE: Lately, sunspot 1109 has been attracting the attention of sunset sky watchers. When the sun is dimmed by haze and low clouds, the behemoth spot can be seen and photographed as a dark mark on the solar disk. Yesterday evening in San Francisco, the spot got even bigger when it was stretched and distorted by a lovely sunset mirage:

Mila Zinkova took the picture overlooking San Francisco Bay. "The sun and sunspot 1109 were constantly changing shape as the sun set," says Zinkova. "It was wonderful. A small green flash at the end added nicely to the mood." Click here to view the complete sunset sequence.

Sunspot 1109, which stretches more than 100,000 km from end to end, is slowly growing as it transits the solar disk. The forecast calls for another week of sunset sunsets before the region disappears over the sun's western limb.

more images: from Aymen Ibrahem of Miami, Alexandria, Egypt; from Konstantinos Christodoulopoulos of Agioi Theodoroi beach, Korinthia, Greece

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

  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 28, 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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