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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids

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Science news and information about the Sun-Earth environment.

SPACE WEATHER
Current
Conditions

Solar Wind

speed: 590.6 km/s
density:
10.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2255 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
C1 1845 UT Jan09
24-hr: M2 0145 UT Jan09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 09 Jan '04
Sunspots 536 and 537 pose a threat for strong M-class solar flares. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 118
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 08 Jan 2004

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 12.0 nT
Bz:
4.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2256 UT

Coronal Holes:

Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Image credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope.


SPACE WEATHER
NOAA
Forecasts

Solar Flares: Probabilities for a medium-sized (M-class) or a major (X-class) solar flare during the next 24/48 hours are tabulated below.
Updated at 2004 Jan 09 2200 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 75 % 75 %
CLASS X 15 % 15 %

Geomagnetic Storms: Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at 2004 Jan 09 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 35 % 35 %
MINOR 20 % 20 %
SEVERE 10 % 10 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 25 % 25 %
MINOR 35 % 35 %
SEVERE 15 % 15 %

What's Up in Space -- 9 Jan 2004
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AURORA WATCH: One or two coronal mass ejections (CMEs) will probably brush past Earth today and, maybe, spark some auroras. They will have to be bright to be seen through the glare of tonight's nearly full moon. High latitude sky watchers have the best chance of spotting a display.

SUNSPOTS: The CMEs approaching Earth were hurled into space on January 6th and 7th by M-class explosions near sunspots 536 and 537. These active regions have complicated "delta class" magnetic fields that harbor energy for even stronger X-class flares. NOAA forecasters estimate a 20% chance of an X-flare during the next 24 hours.

Above: A flare erupting from sunspot 536 on Jan. 4th. "This picture is a composite: a 1/125 second exposure of the solar disk plus a 1/8 second exposure of the prominence on the limb," says photographer Jeff Pettitt of Orlando, Florida. He used Kodak Tech-pan B&W film with a 0.4 Å H-alpha filter.

MOON HALOS: When the moon is nearly full, like tonight, it's a good time to look for rings around the moon--a.k.a. "moon halos." Joe Carr of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, photographed this one on January 5th:

Rings around the moon are formed by ice crystals in thin clouds 5 to 10 km above Earth's surface. The crystals reflect and bend moonlight into lovely shapes, including moon pillars and moondogs. Water droplets in the air (as opposed to ice crystals) can also cause colorful and fuzzy moon coronas. When the full moon is out, look up. You never know what you might see.



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 are on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.

On 9 Jan 2004 there were 564 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

December 2003 Earth-asteroid encounters
ASTEROID

 MISS DISTANCE

 MAG.
2003 YS17

Jan 14

14 LD

 17
2001 BE10

Jan 15

23 LD

 14
Notes: LD is a "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 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. (European Mirror Site)

Daily Sunspot Summaries -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Current Solar Images --a gallery of up-to-date solar pictures from the National Solar Data Analysis Center at the Goddard Space Flight Center. See also the GOES-12 Soft X-ray Imager.

Recent Solar Events -- a nice summary of current solar conditions from lmsal.com.

SOHO Farside Images of the Sun from SWAN and MDI.

The Latest SOHO Coronagraph Images -- from the Naval Research Lab

The Sun from Earth -- daily images of our star from the Big Bear Solar Observatory

List of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

Observable Comets -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

What is the Interplanetary Magnetic Field? -- A lucid answer from the University of Michigan. See also the Anatomy of Earth's Magnetosphere.

Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from NASA's ACE spacecraft. How powerful are solar wind gusts? Read this story from Science@NASA.

More Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory Proton Monitor.

Aurora Forecast --from the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute

Daily Solar Flare and Sunspot Data -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Lists of Coronal Mass Ejections -- from 1998 to 2001

What is an Iridium flare? See also Photographing Satellites by Brian Webb.

Vandenberg AFB missile launch schedule.

What is an Astronomical Unit, or AU?

Mirages: Mirages in Finland; An Introduction to Mirages;

NOAA Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: 1999; 2000; 2001; 2002; Jan-Mar., 2003; Apr-Jun., 2003;

Recent International Astronomical Union Circulars

GLOSSARY | SPACE WEATHER TUTORIAL

Editor's Note: This site is sponsored by Science@NASA. Space weather and other forecasts that appear here are formulated by Dr. Tony Phillips. They should not be construed as guarantees of space weather or other celestial activity.

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