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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 349.3 km/sec
density: 2.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A7
1800 UT Jul06
24-hr: B1
0025 UT Jul06
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 06 Jul 10
Sunspot 1084 and 1086 are quiet and pose little threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 23
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 05 July 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 35 days (19%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 803 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 05 July 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 73 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 05 July 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.0 nT
Bz: 0.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A minor solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should hit Earth's magnetic field on or about July 9th. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jul 06 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: 2010 Jul 06 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
July 6, 2010

ANDROID FLYBYS: Our field-tested satellite tracker is now available for Android phones. Features: Global predictions and flyby alarms! Learn more.


FARSIDE BLAST: Old sunspot 1082, currently rounding the far side of the sun, erupted during the late hours of July 5th. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory recorded a CME billowing over the edge of the solar disk (movie) while NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft had a direct view of the explosion itself (movie). The farside location of the blast site means there will be no Earth effects from the event--not this time. The active region will turn to face Earth after July 10th. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: A Solar Dynamics Observatory movie of the farside blast billowing over the sun's limb is now available.

PLUTO AND THE BLACK CLOUD: This week, Pluto is transiting Barnard 92, an inky black cloud of dust in the constellation Sagittarius. "Last night, I photographed the passage using my 16-inch telescope," says John Chumack of Yellow Springs, Ohio. "Pluto was easily visible in a 5 minute exposure."

"The dark backdrop made it much easier to pick out the dwarf planet among the busy star field of Sagittarius," he says. Experienced astrophotographers are encouraged to follow Pluto as it makes its lonely crossing--and submit your images here.

more images: from Anthony Ayiomamitis of Athens, Greece; from Bob Runyan of Shelton, Nebraska; from Terry Evans of Exmoor, Somerset, UK; from Alfredo Garcia Jr of Chuchupate Campground area, Lockwood Valley, CA; from Jim Tomaka of Alamogordo, NM

WHIRLPOOL SUNSPOT: "Sunspot 1084 reminds me of the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51)," says astrophotographer Mike Borman. The resemblance is certainly uncanny in this photo he took on July 3rd from his backyard observatory in Evansville, Indiana:

"I used a Coronado SolarMax90 to image the sunspot," says Borman. "The inset of M51 comes from Hubble."

The appearance of the sunspot is shaped by its spiraling magnetic field, which organizes the plasma around it like a whirpool. The configuration seems to be remarkably stable because the sunspot has not produced the slightest hint of a solar flare in many days. Indeed, the whirlpool does not seem to move at all. It is like a giant tornado of hot plasma and magnetism frozen in place.

The sun's rotation is carrying this photogenic spot toward the western limb where it will disappear later this week. Readers with solar telescopes, catch it before it goes!

more images: from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Germano Tosi of Moncenisio, Italy; from Peter Desypris on the Island of Syros Greece; from Enrico Colzani and Valter Giuliani of the Sormano Astronomical Observatory, Italy; from Robert Arnold on the Isle of Skye, Scotland

Lunar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[Science@NASA: Big Lunar Eclipse] [astronomy alerts]

May 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Mays: 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002] [aurora alerts]

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 July 6, 2010 there were 1138 potentially hazardous asteroids.
June-July 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 JR34
May 14
5.8 LD
12 m
2003 HR32
May 17
55.2 LD
1.0 km
2010 JN71
May 26
8.2 LD
245 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 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
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.













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