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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 354.3 km/sec
density: 3.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2244 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Sep16
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Sep16
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 16 Sep 07
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 15 Sep 2007
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Updated: 2007 Sep 16 2144 UT
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.1 nT
Bz: 0.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Sept. 22. Credit: Hinode X-Ray Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2007 Sep 16 2203 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: 2007 Sep 16 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
September 16, 2007
Where's Saturn? Is that a UFO--or the ISS? What's the name of that star? Get the answers from mySKY--a fun new astronomy helper from Meade. .

SUN ON FIRE: "Today the southeastern limb of the sun looks like it is burning," says Cai-Uso Wohler who took this picture from his backyard in Bispingen, Germany. The sun has been blank for days; "I hope this activity means there will be a sunspot coming around the limb soon." Amateur astronomers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor the situation.

ANOTHER FIREBALL: "After seeing the September 13th New Mexico fireball on, I was surprised to catch a very bright fireball here in Texas just two nights later," reports Tom King who operates an all-night, all-sky camera near Watauga, Texas, not far from Dallas/Fort Worth. "In the video, you can see where the meteor is bright enough to illuminate a power pole and trees!"

Click to view the video

"The gain control of the camera is slow to recover, so the pole and trees appear illuminated after the fireball is gone," he continues. "The fixed lights in the images are street lights." King notes that the Dallas/Fort Worth area is badly light polluted, yet his camera is doing a good job catching meteors. After the fireball at 1:06 am CDT, he recorded "another more typical meteor 8 minutes later (video), then 2 more during the remainder of the morning."

UPDATE: In Arkansas, astrophographer Brian Emfinger reports: "I have had my camera shooting all night the last few nights and I have noticed quite a few meteors--including these two bright ones on Sept. 16th. The rate is definitely above normal." Tracing the meteors back to their point of origin reveals a possible radiant on the outskirts of the constellation Camelopardalis: diagram. Is a shower underway? Sky watchers, please be alert for more "Camelopardalids" in the nights ahead.

RAINBOW UNDERFOOT: "Last week, we took a helicopter ride to see lava flowing from the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii," says photographer Mila Zinkova. "But before we reached the lava we saw a beautiful rainbow. It seemed to me that it made a complete circle beneath the heliocopter." (continued below)

more images: #1, #2, #3, #4

Indeed, with the sun overhead and no ground to interrrupt the 'bow below, a complete 360-degree rainbow was on display underneath the chopper. If only Mila had had her fisheye lens!

"Hawaii with its fine rain showers mixed with brilliant sun is ideal for rainbows," notes atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "The only problem is that the sun is often too high! Rainbows are always directly opposite the sun and when the is high in the sky the rainbow top dips below the horizon where you cannot see it. The solution? Climb a mountain or hire a helicopter for a better view."

Cowley adds that if you're not in Hawaii, "a lawn sprinkler does a good job, too"

September 2007 Aurora Gallery
[August 2007 Aurora Gallery] [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 September 16, 2007 there were 886 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Sept. 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2007 RF1
Sep. 2
8.5 LD
26 m
2007 RS1
Sep. 5
0.2 LD
3 m
2007 RJ1
Sep. 16
2.5 LD
40 m
2007 RC20
Sep. 20
5.1 LD
22 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 Environment Center
  The official U.S. government bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
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.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2007, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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