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Check out which planets are currently up in the sky with the AAG SkyViewer


 

Explore the Solar System

The Sun

Latest images of the Sun from the SDO and GOES spacecraft (AIA 4500 and 3040 A, solar X-ray)



Real-time solar wind data from NASA/ACE spacecraft
Link to Solar Wind Activity.

Solar X-rays (X-ray flux):

Geomagnetic Field (Kp):
Status
Status
 


Sunspot Activity Planetary 'Kp' Index Amateur Radio Data
When the Kp index is above 5 during a Solar Flare the Aurora may be visible.



The Sun was born about 4.6 billion years ago from the gravitational collapse of a vast cloud of gas and dust. Material in the center of the cloud was squeezed so tightly that it became hot enough to ignite nuclear fusion.

Read More...

NASA has a really cool (hot?) mission in the planning stages to go to the Sun in the next decade. Learn More here....

Solar Probe Plus

Solar eruptions can be received with a shortwave radio near 20 MHz and often turn on rapidly and decay slowly. These bursts can be quite strong and often last for tens of seconds. You will hear the weak galactic background noise for several seconds, followed by a Solar radio noise burst.

Listen Here....

NEW !!

The largest storms in the solar system occur on the Sun. Check out this infographic on the anatomy of a solar storm.
Sun storms

View additional live images of the Sun from the SOHO spacecraft.

SOHO LIVE!...

View additional high-resolution live images of the Sun from the SDO spacecraft.

SDO LIVE!...

Coronal Mass Ejections (CME's) from the Sun can expel particles equivalent to Earth's mass in a few hours. These events can trigger communication outages on Earth and lead to the aurora borealis.

See a CME

Prominences are relatively cool clouds of gas suspended above the Sun and controlled by magnetic forces. NASA's STEREO spacecraft observed this visually stunning prominence eruption of ionized helium at about 60,000 degrees.

See a prominence in action!...



Below is the Sunspot Number Trend Chart

The trend chart hosted by the AAG is updated on a monthly basis.



Additional Solar Data and Charts





Did you know? Solar research is being conducted at Sacramento Peak Observatory outside Alamogordo. Take a ride up and visit the observatory and experience the scale solar system along HWY 6563 !

Mercury

Read about this image

Here


Mercury's surface closely resembles the Moon's. It's covered by impact craters, ancient lava flows, and quake fault lines. Mile-high cliffs stretch for hundreds of miles across the planet's surface.

Read More...

NASA currently has a mission to Mercury. Keep up with all the updates here!

MESSENGER


Images of Mercury can be seen here.

NASA's Mercury Photo Gallery

Did you know? Mercury's nighttime temperature is -300 degrees F and its daytime temperature is over 700 degrees F? This 1000 degree temperature swing between night and day is the largest in the solar system!

Venus

Read about this image

Here


Cloud-covered Venus is the second planet from the Sun, and passes closer to Earth than any other planet. Even so, Venus remained shrouded in mystery until the Space Age because the clouds hide its surface from view.

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The European Space Agency (ESA) currently has a mission to Venus. Keep up with all the updates here!

VENUS Express

Images of Venus can be seen here.

NASA's Venus Photo Gallery

Venus ocassionally transits the disk of the Sun. Learn more about Venus transits at:

AAG Venus Transit

Did you know? At over 850 degrees Fahrenheit, Venus is the hottest planet in the Solar System!

Moon



The regular daily and monthly rhythms of Earth's only natural satellite, the Moon, have guided timekeepers for thousands of years. Its influence on Earth's cycles, notably tides, has also been charted by many cultures in many ages.

Read More...

The Moon for Kids.

Moon Games...

Did you Know?.

Moon Trivia...

NASA launched a mission to the Moon in 2009. Keep up with all the updates here!

Lunar Recon Orbiter

Images of the Moon can be seen here.

Moon Madness...

Did you know? Apache Point Observatory measures the distance to the Moon to millimeter precision?


Mars

Read about this image

Here


Mars inspires speculation like no other world in the solar system. Generations of Earth-bound dreamers have pondered its fiery glow and considered the possibility of life on the "Red Planet." Author H.G. Wells wrote of an attack by invading Martians, and Orson Welles scared unsuspecting Americans by bringing the story to radio.

Read More...

Mars's surface features are visible to amateur astronomers. Check which side is facing Earth

Mars profiler

NASA currently has several missions at Mars. Keep up with all the updates here!

SPIRIT and OPPORTUNITY

Mars and its moons can be seen here.

NASA's Mars Photo Gallery

Click Here: Pop Culture Mars!

NASA's newest rover on Mars

Did you know? NASA's Opportunity rover has been operating on Mars for 9 years and Curiosity is now exploring Gale Crater. The MAVEN orbiter is set to launch in December 2013.


Jupiter

Read about this image

Here


Weather systems on Earth blow themselves out in a few days or weeks. On the solar system's giant planets, though, weather systems can last for decades. The record holder is Jupiter's Great Red Spot, which was first observed no later than 1830 -- and perhaps a good bit earlier. This oval storm system is wide enough to swallow two Earths, and the winds at its perimeter blow several times faster than the strongest hurricane ever recorded on Earth.

Read More...

Jupiter and its moons can be seen here.

NASA's Jupiter Photo Gallery

With over 400 active volcanoes, Io is the most geologically active object in the Solar System

Check out Io rotating...

In 1955, Jupiter was discovered to be a strong source of radio emissions. Jovian radio emissions however were routinely converted into audio signals. Listening to Jupiter along with visually presenting these data can be a means of identifying the different types of Jovian radio bursts, distinguishing Jupiter from background noise and providing information about Jupiter's magnetic environment. Here are S-bursts caused when Io sweeps through Jupiter's magnetosphere.

Listen Here...

Jupiter has 4 moons visible to amateur astronomers. Check their positions now...

current Jupiter moon positions


NASA launched a new mission to Jupiter. Learn about it here!

JUNO



Did you know? Jupiter is larger than all the other planets combined!


Saturn

Read about this image

Here


The planet Saturn is a delicate giant. Although it is the second largest planet in the solar system, it's the least dense -- less dense than water. Chemical compounds in its upper atmosphere color its cloud bands in subtle shades of ivory, yellow, and tan. And broad, lacy rings encircle Saturn, making it the most beautiful planet in the solar system.

Read More...

NASA currently has a mission to Saturn. Keep up with all the updates here!

CASSINI

Saturn and its moons can be seen here.

NASA's Saturn Photo Gallery

With ice geyers, Saturn's icy moon Enceladus is very interesting. Start an interactive here.

Enceladus

Liquid methane lakes, rocks made of ice water, and a balmy surface temperature of -290 degrees F, Saturn's moon Titan is quite bizzare. Launch your Titan explorer here.

Titan

Saturn is a source of intense radio emissions, which have been monitored by the Cassini spacecraft. The radio waves are closely related to the auroras near the poles of the planet. These auroras are similar to Earth's northern and southern lights. This is an audio file of Saturn's radio emissions.

Saturn Eeerrie sounds....

Saturn has 5 moons visible to amateur astronomers. Check their positions now...

current Saturn Moon Positions

Did you know? Saturn's rings are only about 60 feet thick


Uranus

Read about this image

Here


To the eye alone, Uranus is a dull planet. It looks like a featureless blue-green ball, with few of the dynamic cloud patterns that decorate Jupiter and Saturn. Yet Uranus may have the most interesting history of any planet in the solar system: A collision soon after its birth may have knocked the planet sideways.

Read More...

Uranus and its moons can be seen here.

NASA's Uranus Photo Gallery

Uranus has moons visible to amateur astronomers. Check their positions now...

current Uranus moon positions

Did you know? Uranus is tipped on its side so we always see one of the poles!

Neptune

Read about this image

Here


Neptune might be called the mathematicians' planet. German astronomer Johann Galle discovered it on September 23, 1846. The discovery was made possible, though, by the calculations of mathematicians Urbain Leverrier of France and John Couch Adams of England.

Read More...

Did you know that much of we know about Uranus and Neptune came from the Voyager mission?

Learn about the Voyager spacecraft here...

Neptune and its moons can be seen here.

NASA's Neptune Photo Gallery

Neptune's moon Triton visible to amateur astronomers.

Check Triton's position now

Did you know? Neptune's winds blow at over 1200 mph!


Pluto

Read about this image

Here


After 76 years of glory, the small ball of rock and ice known as Pluto was relegated to the solar system backwaters in 2006 when astronomers dropped it from the list of planets. Instead, it's simply the most famous member of the Kuiper Belt, a broad doughnut-shaped ring of objects that extends outward from just inside the orbit of Neptune, the most distant planet.

Read More...

Here is our best image of Pluto to date.

NASA's Pluto Photo Gallery

We are eagerly awaiting the New Horizons probe arrival at Pluto.

Latest New Horizons mission status

NEW !!

Do you think Pluto is a planet ? Compare Pluto to other dwarf planets in our solar system with this infographic.
Dwarf Planets

Did you know? The IMAX Theater in Alamogordo is named after Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of Pluto! Clyde Tombaugh also started the astronomy program at NMSU.


Asteroids and NEO's

Read about this image

Here


The asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter is like the solar system's cluttered old attic. The dusty, forgotten objects there are relics from a time long ago, each asteroid with its own story to tell about the solar system's beginnings.To answer these questions, NASA launched a robotic probe named Dawn. Its mission: Fly to two giant asteroids, Ceres and Vesta, and explore them up close for the first time.

Read More...

Near Earth Objects (NEOs) present a danger to Earth.

Keeping an Eye on Space Rocks

Here is our best image of Ceres to date.

NASA's Ceres Photo Gallery

In 2001, NASA flew the NEAR spacecraft to 433 Eros, a near-Earth asteroid. Check out this encounter video

Watch asteroid video..

NASA has launched a mission to check out two asteroids in the asteroid belt.

Latest DAWN mission status



Did you know? Ceres was considerd a planet when discovered in 1801. Only after several other "planets" were discovered in nearly the same orbit the term asteroid was invented.


Comets

With the possible exception of Saturn's rings, comets are the most beautiful objects in the solar system. Their lacy tails can spread across millions of miles, giving them an ethereal quality that nothing else can match.

Read More...

NASA has launched and conducted serval great comet missions, check these out...

Stardust

Deep Impact


Did you know? Comets are either "dirty snowballs" or "icy mudballs".


Other Cool Links

It's a fantastic time to check out the solar system from your backyard, see what's up in the sky at

What's Up?

View the Hubble's fantastic images of solar system objects!

Hubble's Solar System Gallery

Here is another GREAT site on our Solar System

The Solar System

Need Some Space Inspiration ??

Now is the Time

Click to discover some of the most extreme organisms on our planet, and find out what they are telling astrobiologists about the search for life beyond Earth.

Alien Safari

KIDS!... Check out the games at Space Place Live!......

Space Place

Want to see a satellite fly overhead in Alamogordo? See what's up in the sky at

Heaven's Above

Where are the planets relative to one another? View the solar system at.

JPL Solar System Simulator

Our Thanks! to the University of Texas and the McDonald Observatory. Listen to the podcasts of Stardate at:

stardate.org

or on KRWG-FM (89.5 or 90.7 MHz) at 6:59 AM, 12:59 PM or 6:59 PM.