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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 364.7 km/sec
density: 1.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2255 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Sep29
24-hr: A0
0835 UT Sep29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Sep 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 29 Sept. 2008
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: 4.3 nT
Bz: 0.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Oct. 1st or 2nd. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Sep 29 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: 2008 Sep 29 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
30 %
05 %
25 %
01 %
10 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
40 %
15 %
30 %
05 %
15 %
What's up in Space
September 29, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of August 9th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

GOODBYE, JULES VERNE: Today at 1330 UT, European mission controllers commanded their amazing robot-ship Jules Verne to re-enter Earth's atmosphere over the south Pacific Ocean. The disintegrating spacecraft made a spectacular fireball observed by two NASA aircraft and possibly the International Space Station. First photos are coming in now!

GREAT PROMINENCE: A prominence of rare beauty is dancing along the sun's southeastern limb. Click on the image to set the scene in motion:

"That was the view through my Coronado PST on Sept. 28th," says Jerome Grenier of Paris, France. "What a great prominence!"

A prominence is a cloud of hot gas held in the grip of solar magnetic fields. With that in mind, watch the movie again. The motions you just witnessed are a major puzzle for solar physicists. No one understands why the top of the prominence cascades down as fast as it does; the "magnetic diffusion coefficient" of the medium shouldn't allow it. At the same time, swirls and vortices indicate an exquisite degree of magnetic control so far impossible to duplicate in Earth laboratories. How does the sun do these things? It's a beautiful mystery. If you have a solar telescope, take a look.

more images: from Jack Newton of Osoyoos, British Columbia; from Wouter Verhesen of Sittard, The Netherlands; from Larry Alvarez of Flower Mound, Texas; from Didier Favre of Brétigny-sur-Orge, France; from Robert Arnold of Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden; from Steve Wainwright of Swansea, South Wales; from Les Cowley of the UK; from Emiel Veldhuis of Zwolle, the Netherlands; from Stephen Ames of Hodgenville, Kentucky; from Adrian Guzman of San Jose, California;

BEFORE THE FIREBALL: The final orbits of Jules Verne brought the doomed spacecraft over Europe where sky watchers were able to see intact one last time. "On Saturday night, I saw Jules Verne in the skies over Germany," reports amateur astronomer Dirk Ewers. "It was flying about 30 minutes behind the International Space Station, and I video-recorded both spacecraft using a 5-inch refracting telescope."

The movies are must-see. First, download the free DivX video compressor. Then, click here and here to play the flybys. Compared to the ISS, "the Jules Verne is really small, but on the video you can see its four auburn-colored solar panels with a width of only 1 meter," notes Ewers.

more images: from Sylvain Weiller of Saint-Rémy-Lès-Chevreuse, France; from Ralf Vandebergh of the Netherlands;

Sept. 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night Sky Cameras]

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 29, 2008 , there were 985 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Sept. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2003 WT153
Sept. 7
5.8 LD
11 m
1996 HW1
Sept. 12
53 LD
3.7 km
2003 SW130
Sept. 19
8.6 LD
7 m
1998 UO1
Sept. 26
25 LD
2.0 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
  a one-stop hub for all things scientific
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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