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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: 430.0 km/s
density:
1.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max:
A0 1655 UT May10
24-hr: A2 0035 UT May10
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 10 May '07

Sunspot 955 is growing rapidly, but it does not yet pose a threat for solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI


Sunspot Number: 18
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 09 May 2007

Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the farside of the sun, mage credit: SOHO/MDI

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.5 nT
Bz:
1.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Coronal Holes:

There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun today. 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 2007 May 10 2203 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 2007 May 10 2203 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 15 % 15 %
MINOR 05 % 05 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 20 % 20 %
MINOR 10 % 10 %
SEVERE 05 % 05 %

What's Up in Space -- 10 May 2007
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What's the name of that star? Where's Saturn? Get the answers from mySKY--a fun new astronomy helper from Meade.

SPACE STATION MOVIE: To the naked eye, the International Space Station (ISS) gliding across the night sky appears as a bright point of light. If you turn a backyard telescope on that point, however, it resolves into a sprawling space complex almost as wide as a football field. Ralf Vandebergh of the Netherlands made this movie of the view through his 10-inch telescope on April 19th. Anyone can see the ISS this way; the trick is knowing when to look.

MAGNETIC EMERGENCE: Sunspot 955 is growing rapidly. Only two days ago it was nearly invisible; now the dark region is larger than Earth.

When a sunspot emerges from the depths of the sun, what we're really seeing is the growth of a giant magnet. Consider this 3-day movie of sunspot 955 recorded by a magnetogram onboard the SOHO spacecraft:


SOHO magnetogram: May 7-10, 2007.

In the movie, white denotes magnetic north (N) and black denotes magnetic south (S). Sunspot 955, like all magnets, has two poles, except unlike the magnets on your refrigerator, the poles of sunspot 955 are the size of planets. These magnetic fields are so intense, they block the flow of heat from the sun below, causing the area to cool and darken--hence the sunspot.

The dark core of sunspot 955 is spreading. If you have a solar telescope, take a look.

SHOCK DIAMONDS: Recently, NASA engineers tested a revolutionary methane-powered rocket engine. Blue flames lanced across the Mojave desert, possibly heralding a new kind of spacecraft that could roam the outer solar system, gathering fuel from planets and moons it visits: full story.

Many readers who've seen the movie want to know, what are those white shapes in the exhaust?

Answer: Shock diamonds. Also known as Mach disks, they are interference patterns formed by shock waves propagating down the engine's exhaust plume. Shock diamonds are formed when exhaust exits a nozzle supersonically and at a pressure different than that of the ambient atmosphere. The most famous photo of shock diamonds shows Chuck Yeager's X-1 rocket plane just moments after he first reached Mach 1 on Oct. 14, 1947.



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 10 May 2007 there were 859 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

April 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters
ASTEROID

 DATE
(UT)

MISS DISTANCE

MAG.

 SIZE
2007 DS84

Apr. 14

16 LD

15

325 m
2007 GU1

Apr. 16

2.1 LD

16

45 m
2007 HA

Apr. 17

6.5 LD

13

300 m
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 -- from the National Solar Data Analysis Center

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

What is the Magnetosphere?

The Lion Roars -- visit this site to find out what the magnetosphere sounds like.

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

Observable Comets -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from NASA's ACE spacecraft.

How powerful are solar wind gusts? Not very! Read this story from Science@NASA.

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

Lists of Coronal Mass Ejections -- from 1996 to 2006

Mirages: Mirages in Finland; An Introduction to Mirages;

NOAA Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999; 2000; 2001; 2002; 2003; 2004; 2005; Jan-Mar 2006; Apr-Jun 2006; Jul-Sep 2006; Oct-Dec 2006.

This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips: email


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