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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 412.9 km/sec
density: 7.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A6
2110 UT Jan30
24-hr: B1
1720 UT Jan30
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 30 Jan. 10
Sunspot 1041 has almost completely faded away. In January 2009, the sun was blank for 25 days. One year later, in January 2010, the sun has been blank only 2 days. Despite the fading of 1041, solar activity is clearly on the rise. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 12
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 29 Jan 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 2 days (7%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 772 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 29 Jan 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 73 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 29 Jan 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.1 nT
Bz: 5.3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Jan 30 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 Jan 30 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
January 30, 2010

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


TERRESTRIAL GAMMA-RAY FLASHES: There's a mystery in the skies of Earth. Something is producing bright flashes of gamma radiation in the upper atmosphere of our own planet. A spacecraft called 'Firefly' is going to investigate: full story.

BIGGEST FULL MOON OF THE YEAR: Last night's full Moon was the biggest (+14%) and brightest (+30%) full Moon of 2010--and it caught the attention of sky watchers around the world. Dan Frissora sends this snapshot from Cascade Twp, Minnesota:

"On a frozen Minnesota evening (-12o C), I found the Moon rising behind a nearby shed and silo," says Frissora. "It looked huge."

In the Netherlands, "pedestrians stopped at the Philippus Lansbergen public observatory for a closer look at the big full Moon and orange Mars," reports astronomer Jan Koeman of Middelburg. "With the fast moving clouds, it seemed they were really gliding side by side through the sky."

In Iran, bright moonlight flooded the Vank church ("The Church of the Saintly Sisters") in the Armenian quarter of Isfahan. "This church was built in the reign of Shah Abbas II in 1663 AD," says photographer Mohammad Rahimi. "It has never looked better than it did last night."

The Moon's remarkable luminosity sprung from its proximity--about 50,000 km closer to Earth than other full Moons of the year. This can happen because the Moon's orbit is not a circle but an ellipse: diagram. Last night, the Moon was on the near side of the ellipse--a place astronomers call "perigee"--making it a big, bright perigee Moon.

more moonshots: from Anthony Ayiomamitis of Athens, Greece; from Bob Clark of Goldcoast, Queensland, Australia; from Marek Nikodem of Szubin, Poland; from Peter von Bagh of Porvoo, Finland; from Michael Evenmo of Eagan, Minnesota; from Tomasz Adam of Staszów, Poland; from Monika Landy-Gyebnar of Veszprem, Hungary; from Mark Seibold of Portland, Oregon; from Andy Burns of Allington, Wiltshire, UK; from Henry F. Mendt of Maracaibo, Venezuela; from Jimmie Weeks of Anchorage, Alaska; from Azhy Chato Hasan of Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq; from Mahdi Zamani of Cheshmeh-Ali, Damghan, Semnan, Iran; from Daisuke Tomiyasu of Egenoyama, Ashiya, Hyogo, Japan

January Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Januarys: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2001]


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 January 30, 2010 there were 1094 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Jan. 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 AL2
Jan. 11
11.5 LD
23 m
24761 Ahau
Jan. 11
70.8 LD
1.4 km
2000 YH66
Jan. 12
69.5 LD
1.1 km
2010 AL30
Jan. 13
0.3 LD
18 m
2010 AG3
Jan. 19
8.9 LD
14 m
2010 AN61
Jan. 19
8.0 LD
17 m
2010 AF40
Jan. 21
2.3 LD
43 m
2010 BC
Jan. 24
7.6 LD
160 m
2010 BU2
Jan. 27
6.4 LD
52 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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