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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 405.3 km/sec
density: 0.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B5
2325 UT Sep10
24-hr: B5
2325 UT Sep10
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 10 Sept 10
The Earth-facing side of the sun is blank--no large sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI
Resolutions: 4096, 1024, 512
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 09 Sep 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 1 day
2010 total: 40 days (16%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 808 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 09 Sep 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 74 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 09 Sep 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.4 nT
Bz: 0.9 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 10 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 10 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 10 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
25 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
30 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Friday, Sep. 10, 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


FIREBALLS LIGHT UP JUPITER: In a paper published Sept. 9th in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, a group of professional and amateur astronomers announced that Jupiter is getting hit surprisingly often by small asteroids, lighting up the giant planet's atmosphere with frequent fireballs: full story.

ALIEN BEAUTY: Multiwavelength images of the sun beamed to Earth by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) have a beauty that can only be described as ... alien. We've never seen the sun quite like this before. Consider the following movie of the Sept. 8th eruption of departing sunspot 1105:

SDO sees the sun through a set of extreme ultraviolet filters that go far beyond the limits of human vision. That's good because extreme UV is where the action is; it's the kind of radiation that solar activity loves to emit. But sometimes it looks a little unfamiliar.

Today's highlighted movie was created by Ralph Seguin of Lockheed-Martin's Solar and Astrophysics Lab. He combined data from three of SDO's extreme UV filters, chosing wavelengths (211 Å, 193 Å, and 171 Å) favored by plasma in the temperature range 1 to 2 million degrees K. Hot stuff! Another movie at 304 Å shows cooler gas, around 80,000 K. By comparing the hot movie vs. the cool movie, researchers hope to learn much about the underlying physics of the eruption.

Look for more alien beauty at NASA's SDO home page.

TRICKY CLOUD SHADOWS: Which is higher, the contrail or the fluffy clouds? Inspect the shadows, then scroll down for the answer:

Contrary to appearances, the contrail is higher. It must be, because its shadow falls down on the clouds below.

Joanna Fengler took the picture yesterday from Rewal, Poland. "I was walking at the seaside with my family when we noticed this nice shadow cutting acoss the sky. It was a nice holiday atmospheric observation and an opportunity to explain the phenomenon to my small daughter."

Contrail shadows can be very tricky. They often appear to be on the wrong side of the contrail, disobeying the basic rules of ray propagation. Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains the phenomenon here. When you see a contrail in the sunlit sky, look for the shadow. Where you find it might surprise you.

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

  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 10, 2010 there were 1144 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 LY63
Sep 7
56 LD
1.2 km
2010 RX30
Sep 8
0.6 LD
15 m
2010 RF12
Sep 8
0.2 LD
9 m
2010 RJ53
Sep 9
8.1 LD
80 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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