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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 358.7 km/sec
density: 3.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B6
2028 UT Jul07
24-hr: C1
0243 UT Jul07
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 07 Jul 11
A scatter of small sunspots is emerging at the circled location. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 36
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 06 Jul 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 1 day (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 06 Jul 2011


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 85 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 06 Jul 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.6 nT
Bz: 3.5 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 07 Jul 11
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on July 9th or 10th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Jul 07 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
05 %
05 %
CLASS X
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: 2011 Jul 07 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
25 %
MINOR
05 %
10 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
30 %
MINOR
10 %
15 %
SEVERE
01 %
06 %
 
Thursday, Jul. 7, 2011
What's up in space
 

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

 
Metallic pictures of the Sun

MINOR STORM WATCH, CONTINUED: NOAA forecasters estimate a 10% chance of minor geomagnetic storms on July 7th in response to an incoming CME. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras.

SUNDIVING COMET: During the late hours of July 5th, an unnamed icy comet from the outer solar system dove into the sun and disintegrated. Click on the arrow to witness the death plunge recorded by coronagraphs onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO):

Over the years, SOHO has witnessed many sungrazing comets. According to SOHO Project Scientist Bernhard Fleck, "this is one of the brightest sungrazers SOHO has recorded, similar to the Christmas comet of 1996."

The comet was probably a member of the Kreutz sungrazer family. Named after a 19th century German astronomer who studied them in detail, Kreutz sungrazers are fragments from the breakup of a single giant comet around a thousand years ago, probably the Great Comet of 1106. Several of these fragments pass by the sun and disintegrate every day. Most are too small to see but occasionally a big fragment like this one attracts attention.

Although the comet has disintegrated, we may be seeing more of it in the days ahead as additional movies from other solar observatories come to light. Stay tuned.

ELECTRIC BLUE CLOUDS: Noctilucent clouds at sunset are supposed to appear in the west. That's where geometry favors their illumination. On July 5th, however, P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden, found them in other parts of the sky:

"Who says that you only can see noctilucent clouds in the west after sunset?" he asks. "Tonight I enjoyed NLCs in the south! If ordinary tropospheric clouds hadn't gotten in the way, I probably would had witnessed an all-sky display."

Indeed, NLCs seem to be spreading beyond their usual domain. Once confined to polar regions, the mysterious clouds have been migrating toward the equator. Recent displays have reached points as far south as Oregon, Colorado and even Kansas. Some researchers think this is a sign of climate change, but their conclusions are controversial. Whatever the reason, the clouds are becoming more widespread and easier to spot. Sky watchers everywhere are encouraged to be alert for electric blue just after sunset. Observing tips may be found in the 2011 NLC gallery.

2011 Noctilucent Cloud Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009]


June 2011 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora alerts: text, voice] [previous Junes: 2010, 2008, 2001]


June 15th Lunar Eclipse Gallery

  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 July 7, 2011 there were 1237 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2011 MD
Jun 27
0.05 LD
--
10 m
2011 GA55
Jul 6
64.1 LD
--
1.0 km
2011 EZ78
Jul 10
37.3 LD
--
1.6 km
2003 YS117
Jul 14
73.9 LD
--
1.0 km
2007 DD
Jul 23
9.3 LD
--
31 m
2003 BK47
Jul 26
77.6 LD
--
1.1 km
2009 AV
Aug 22
49.7 LD
--
1.1 km
2003 QC10
Sep 18
50 LD
--
1.2 km
2004 SV55
Sep 19
67.5 LD
--
1.2 km
2007 TD
Sep 23
3.8 LD
--
58 m
2002 AG29
Oct 9
77.1 LD
--
1.0 km
2000 OJ8
Oct 13
49.8 LD
--
2.5 km
2009 TM8
Oct 17
1.1 LD
--
8 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 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.
STEREO
  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
Heliophysics
  the underlying science of space weather
Science Central
 
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