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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 352.2 km/sec
density: 3.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C3
2330 UT Sep08
24-hr: C3
2330 UT Sep08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 08 Sept 10
Sunspot 1105 is disappearing over the sun's western limb. Credit: SDO/HMI
Resolutions: 4096, 1024, 512
Sunspot number: 16
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 07 Sep 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 39 days (16%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 807 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 07 Sep 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 76 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 07 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: 2.9 nT
Bz: 1.3 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 08 Sept 10
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Sep 08 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 Sep 08 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Wednesday, Sep. 8, 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


GROUND CURRENTS IN NORWAY: Rob Stammes operates a geomagnetic observatory in Lofoten, Norway, and he is measuring strong ground currents on Sept. 8th: "Magnetic activity began around 15.00 UT," says Stammes. "The ground currents are much stronger than last night when the auroras were bright. If this continues, we might see an even better display this evening."

PURPLE AURORAS: Auroras are dancing around the Arctic Circle today and some of them are purple. Here is how the sky looked this morning, Sept. 8th, over Bø, Norway:

"It's not often I get to see purple auroras," says photographer Øystein Lunde Ingvaldsen. "This was truly a fantastic sight!"

Auroras get their colors from specific atoms and molecules in Earth's atmosphere. Green comes from oxygen molecules excited by geomagnetic activity. Purple, on the other hand, is usually a mixture of red and blue emissions from molecular nitrogen. O2 and N2 were both revved up in Norway last night!

More purple is possible tonight as a solar wind stream continues to buffet Earth's magnetic field. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras.

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

A MAGNETIC FILAMENT ERUPTS: Yesterday, Sept. 7th, a long, dark magnetic filament on the sun became unstable and--snap!--it erupted. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the action:

One of the amazing things about SDO is that it acts like a thermometer. Using special extreme ultraviolet filters, the observatory can distinguish cool (~80,000 K) vs. hot (1,000,000 K) plasma, revealing physics that previous solar observatories could not. Look at the difference between the cool movie and the hot movie. Researchers may be able to use this information to figure out what triggered the eruption and how it unfolded.

Curiously, the eruption was mostly "empty." It did not propel a substantial cloud toward Earth. There is, however, a hint of a faint coronal mass ejection (CME) in SOHO coronagraph data. The diaphanous CME could bump into Earth's magnetic field on or about Sept. 10th, boosting any ongoing geomagnetic activity.

  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 8, 2010 there were 1144 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 QG2
Sep 3
4.6 LD
61 m
2010 RB12
Sep 4
2.5 LD
18 m
2010 LY63
Sep 7
56 LD
1.2 km
2010 RX30
Sep 8
0.6 LD
16 m
2010 RF12
Sep 8
0.2 LD
9 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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