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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 417.3 km/sec
density: 0.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2342 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B7
2120 UT Jun02
24-hr: C3
0747 UT Jun02
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 02 Jun 11
Sunspot complex 1226-1227 poses a threat for C-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 107
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 01 Jun 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 1 day (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 01 Jun 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 114 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 01 Jun 2011

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: 4.3 nT
Bz: 0.3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 02 Jun 11
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on or about June 4th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Jun 02 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2011 Jun 02 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
40 %
05 %
20 %
01 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
45 %
10 %
25 %
01 %
10 %
Thursday, Jun. 2, 2011
What's up in space

Turn your cell phone into a field-tested satellite tracker. Works for Android and iPhone.

Satellite flybys

CO-ORBITAL ASTEROID FLYBY: Small asteroid 2009 BD is flying through the Earth-moon system today about 215,000 miles from Earth. The 10m wide space rock poses no threat to our planet, but it is of acute scientific interest. "It's notable because it remains close to Earth for months at a time and is actually a co-orbital object with a very low delta-V (velocity) relative to Earth," writes Lance Benner of JPL. "A recurring question about objects with very low delta-V values is whether they may be ejecta from the Moon." Goldstone radar observations by Benner and colleagues in the nights ahead might illuminate the origin of this curious object.

ECLIPSE OF THE MIDNIGHT SUN: A solar eclipse at midnight? It's not only possible, it actually happened last night. On June 1st, the new Moon passed in front of the midnight sun above the Arctic circle, producing a partial eclipse of exquisite beauty. Bernt Olsen photographed the event from Sommarøy, Tromsø, Norway:

"A rain shower threatened to spoil the show, but just before midnight the clouds parted and I got a fairly clear shot of the eclipse," says Olsen. "I'm glad I did, because we won't experience an eclipse like this again for 73 years."

Until then, browse the links for more eclipse shots: from Renate Westlien of Tana, Finnmark, Norway; from Kulkova Svetlana of Bratsk, Russia; from Travis Stagg of Fairbanks Alaska; from B.Art Braafhart of Sallatunturi, Finnish Lapland; from Thomas Hagen of Tromsø, Norway; from Johan Kero of Bergfors, Kiruna, Sweden; from Joerg Schoppmeyer of Akureyri, Iceland;

SOUTH POLE AURORAS: Earth is exiting a solar wind stream that sparked colorful auroras on May 28th-30th. At the height of the display, Southern Lights over the geographic south pole became so bright, "they were tricky to photograph without overexposure," reports J. Dana Hrubes, science leader at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. "The ice surface as well as the 10m primary mirror of the South Pole Telescope were well illuminated." (continued below)

"When I went outside to take these pictures on May 30th, the air temperature was about -94 F (-70 C)," says Hrubes. "Just days earlier, the temperature had dropped all the way to -103.4 F (-75.2 C), so the aurora photo-shoot was relatively warm."

Photographers at the South Pole, bundle up! Another solar wind stream is due to arrive on or about June 4th. Its impact could trigger renewed geomagnetic activity, and you might want to go outside. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

more images: from Brian Larmay of Pembine, Wisconsin; from Minoru Yoneto of Queenstown, New Zealand; from Neva Andersen of Saint Cloud, Minnesota; from Dave Curtis of Dunedin, New Zealand; from Ian Stewart of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia; from Tom Luttrell of Mount Nelson Signal Station, Hobart, Tasmania; from Beatrice van Eden of Antarctica;

April 2011 Aurora Gallery
[previous Aprils: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002]

  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 June 2, 2011 there were 1224 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2002 JC
Jun 1
57.5 LD
1.6 km
2009 BD
Jun 2
0.9 LD
10 m
2011 KE15
Jun 3
3.7 LD
18 m
2011 KV15
Jun 5
8.3 LD
25 m
2002 JB9
Jun 11
71.5 LD
3.2 km
2001 VH75
Jun 12
42.2 LD
1.1 km
2004 LO2
Jun 15
9.9 LD
48 m
2011 GA55
Jul 6
64.1 LD
1.0 km
2011 EZ78
Jul 10
37.3 LD
1.5 km
2003 YS117
Jul 14
73.9 LD
1.0 km
2007 DD
Jul 23
9.3 LD
31 m
2009 AV
Aug 22
49.7 LD
1.1 km
2003 QC10
Sep 18
50 LD
1.2 km
2004 SV55
Sep 19
67.5 LD
1.2 km
2007 TD
Sep 23
3.8 LD
58 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 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
  the underlying science of space weather
Conquest Graphics
  for out-of-this-world printing and graphics
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Science Central sponsor
  more links...
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