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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 342.0 km/sec
density: 0.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B2
2140 UT May13
24-hr: B2
1356 UT May13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 13 May 11
Sunspots on the Earthside of the sun pose little threat for strong flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 29
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 12 May 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 12 May 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 93 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 12 May 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.5 nT
Bz: 0.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 13 May 11
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth around May 17. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 May 13 2200 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: 2011 May 13 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
20 %
01 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
30 %
01 %
15 %
01 %
05 %
Friday, May. 13, 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

SOLAR PROMINENCES: Got a solar telescope? Point your optics at the limb of the sun. Observers around the world are reporting a pair of prominences big enough to see in startling clarity through safely-filtered amateur instruments. Here are some scorching snapshots: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5.

LUCKY DAY: Friday the 13th must be a lucky day. Just look how it began in Australia with a lovely triangle of planets beaming through the morning twilight:

"We had pristine conditions here on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, which allowed me to observe and photograph Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury rising above the Pacific Ocean," reports Geoff Sims. "The planets were even bright enough to cast reflections on the water, similar to those of a crescent Moon."

And then the day got really lucky. "The ISS flew by the planets when they were a mere few degrees above the horizon - spectacular!"

Friday the 13th isn't so bad after all. Now set your alarm for dawn, because Saturday the 14th is going to be a lucky day, too.

more images: from Melissa Hulbert of Sydney, Australia; from Kosma Coronaios of Limpopo Province, South Africa; from Darrin of Ipswich, Queensland, Australia; from Paul Tatum at the National Mall west of the US Capitol, Washington DC; from Elizabeth Warner of Arlington, VA; from Marion Haligowski of Phoenix, Arizona

MAMMATUS OVER MINNESOTA: On May 10th, a severe storm captured national attention when it dumped golf-ball-sized hail on a Minnesota Twins baseball game. "I missed the hail," reports John Rogers of New Hope, Minnesota, "but I got a nice view of the clouds that formed after the storm passed." He snapped this picture in waning twilight at 8:30 pm local time:

These are mammatus clouds. Named for their resemblance to a cow's underbelly, they sometimes appear at the end of severe thunderstorms when the thundercloud is breaking up. Researchers have called them an "intriguing enigma," because no one knows exactly how and why they form. The clouds are fairly common but often go unnoticed because potential observers have been chased indoors by the rain. If you are one of them, dash outside when the downpour stops; you could witness a beautiful mystery in the sky.

more images: from John A. Ey III of Tucson, AZ

April 2011 Aurora Gallery
[previous Aprils: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002]

  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 May 13, 2011 there were 1218 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 JV10
May 5
0.9 LD
5 m
2011 HC24
May 12
5.9 LD
58 m
2002 JC
Jun 1
57.5 LD
1.6 km
2009 BD
Jun 2
0.9 LD
10 m
2002 JB9
Jun 11
71.5 LD
3.2 km
2001 VH75
Jun 12
42.2 LD
1.1 km
2004 LO2
Jun 15
9.9 LD
48 m
2011 GA55
Jul 6
64.1 LD
1.0 km
2011 EZ78
Jul 10
37.3 LD
1.5 km
2003 YS117
Jul 14
73.9 LD
1.0 km
2007 DD
Jul 23
9.3 LD
31 m
2009 AV
Aug 22
49.7 LD
1.1 km
2003 QC10
Sep 18
50 LD
1.2 km
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.
  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
  the underlying science of space weather
Conquest Graphics
  for out-of-this-world printing and graphics
Science Central
  more links...
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