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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 607.7 km/sec
density: 3.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Feb01
24-hr: A0
1140 UT Feb01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 01 Feb 08
New sunspot 982 continues its rapid growth and looks great through solar telescopes. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 15
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 31 Jan 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no large sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 5 mild
24-hr max: Kp= 5
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.1 nT
Bz: 2.5 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is entering a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: Hinode X-Ray Telescope.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Feb 01 2203 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 Feb 01 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
20 %
10 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
25 %
15 %
20 %
05 %
05 %

What's up in Space
February 1, 2008
Where's Saturn? Is that a UFO--or the ISS? What's the name of that star? Get the answers from mySKY--a fun new astronomy helper from Meade.

PHOTOGENIC SUNSPOT: New sunspot 982 is growing rapidly and "it has developed into a stunning active region," says solar photographer Greg Piepol of Rockville, Maryland. Particularly beautiful are two dark magnetic filaments emerging from the sunspot's core. One of them is "the longest filament I have ever seen," reports Paul Haese from his backyard observatory in Blackwood, South Australia. So far this photogenic sunspot poses no threat for strong solar flares; stay tuned for updates.

MORNING SKY ALERT: This morning, sky watchers around the world marveled at a pair of celestial headlights beaming through the rosy glow of dawn. It was Venus and Jupiter in conjunction; the two brightest planets in the solar system converged on February 1st so close together (1 degree) you could hide them with the tip of your pinky finger held at arm's length.

Photographer Sabahattin Bilsel sends this image from the Turkish Riviera:

The planets were fantastic "beaming down over the Bodrum Castle and Harbour," he says. "I used a Nikon D70 to take this 8 second exposure at ISO 200."

The February 1st alignment kicks off four mornings of beautiful views as the crescent Moon moves in to join Venus and Jupiter over the weekend. Watch them decorate the sunrise on February 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th.

more images: from Mariano Ribas of Buenos Aires, Argentina; from Francisco J Godinez of Guadalajara, Mexico; from Becky Ramotowski of Tijeras, New Mexico; from Steve Hollar of Lake Elsinore, California; from Antonio Sofia of Ganzirri, Messina, Italy; from Madeline Dietrich of Texas City, Texas; from David Campbell at the University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK; from Ivan Luís of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; from Brian Emfinger of Ozark, Arkansas; from Raghu Kalra of New Delhi, India; from Richard Pirko of Southington, Ohio; from Paul Gaylord of San Diego, Ca; from Juan-Camilo Suarez of La Estrella, Colombia;

AURORA WATCH: A solar wind stream hit Earth last night and at the moment of impact scientists in Norway launched a rocket into the aurora borealis. "The solar wind hit perfectly during our launch window," reports Tero Raita from the Andoya Rocket Range where the skies turned vivid green:

The HotPay2 sounding rocket carried nine scientific instruments 340 km high to study the aurora-forming physics and chemistry of Earth's high atmosphere. The launch was a success, with "a nice auroral arc right in the path of the rocket," says Raita.

Sky watchers from Scandinavia to Alaska should be alert for more auroras tonight. The solar wind stream continues to buffet Earth's magnetic field and it is causing fitful geomagnetic storms.

2008 Nacreous Cloud Gallery
[Night-sky cameras] [Nacreous Basics] [Add your comments]

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. [comment]
On February 1, 2008 there were 922 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Jan.-Feb. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2005 WJ56
Jan. 10
10.9 LD
1.2 km
2008 AF3
Jan. 13
1.0 LD
27 m
1685 Toro
Jan. 24
76 LD
6.2 km
2007 TU24
Jan. 29
1.4 LD
250 m
2008 BC15
Jan. 31
0.8 LD
20 m
2007 DA
Feb. 12
9.8 LD
140 m
4450 Pan
Feb. 19
15.9 LD
1.6 km
2002 TD66
Feb. 26
16.7 LD
440 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 bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
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.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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