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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 345.7 km/sec
density: 4.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A8
2305 UT Feb16
24-hr: B2
0410 UT Feb16
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 16 Feb. 10
Sunspots 1046 and 1048 are members of new Solar Cycle 24. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 27
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 15 Feb 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 2 days (4%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 772 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 15 Feb 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 88 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 15 Feb 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.8 nT
Bz: 4.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth sometime during the next 24 hours. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Feb 16 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
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 Feb 16 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
25 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
30 %
10 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
February 16, 2010

SATELLITE FLYBYS APP: Turn your iPhone or iPod into a field-tested satellite tracker! presents the Satellite Flybys app.


CONJUNCTION CHALLENGE: Tonight, the two brightest planets are having a spectacular conjunction. Venus and Jupiter are only 1/2-degree apart. The only problem is, the event is happening deep inside the glow of the setting sun. Are you ready for the conjunction challenge? Go outside 15 to 30 minutes after sunset and look directly below the crescent Moon. Venus and Jupiter are down there. Find them if you can: sky map.

AURORA BLAST: On Feb. 15th, an intense wave of Northern Lights swept across Scandinavia. "We had a fantastic blast of auroras here in Kvaløya, Norway," reports Helge Mortensen. "They were bright and very active. What a view!" He made this self-portrait using a Canon EOS 40D:

The display got started when the sun's magnetic field near Earth tipped south. This opened a hole in Earth's magnetosphere. Solar wind poured in and fueled the auroras. The lights were so bright they reflected in water, cast shadows on snow, and descended as far south as Scotland and Northern Ireland. Browse the gallery for more views.

UPDATED: February Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Februarys: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]

EARTHSHINE ALERT: When the sun sets tonight, go outside and look at the Moon. It is an exquisite ~7% crescent. Amir H. Abolfath sends this preview from Kashan, Isfahan, Iran:

"The Earthshine was particularly beautiful," says Abolfath.

Earthshine is the light of our own planet shining down on the Moon's dark terrain. It makes a ghostly image of the full Moon inside the horns of the crescent. Five hundred years ago, Leonardo da Vinci was first to explain this phenomenon, and so it is sometimes called the "da Vinci glow."

A crescent Moon with Earthshine is one of the prettiest sights in the heavens. Take a look!

more images: from Adrian New of Helotes, Texas; from Sam Cole of Austin Texas; from Tamas Ladanyi of Veszprem, Hungary; from Christophe Stolz of Bern, Switzerland; from Tamás Ábrahám of Zsámbék, Hungary; from Redzuan of Penang, Malaysia

Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[eclipse alerts] [solar telescopes]

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 February 16, 2010 there were 1095 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Feb. 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 UN3
Feb. 9
14.3 LD
1.2 km
2001 FD58
Feb. 19
58.5 LD
0.9 km
2002 EZ11
Feb. 24
77.5 LD
1.0 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 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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