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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 359.3 km/sec
density: 4.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C3
2216 UT May15
24-hr: C3
2216 UT May15
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 15 May 12
Decaying sunspot 1476 poses a declining threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 156
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 14 May 2012

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2012 total: 0 days (0%)
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 14 May 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 130 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 14 May 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.5 nT
Bz: 2.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 15 May 12
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 May 15 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
15 %
15 %
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: 2012 May 15 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
15 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Tuesday, May. 15, 2012
What's up in space
 

Thirty-five new items have just been added to our Meteorite Jewelry collection. Browse the Space Weather Store for something out of this world.

 
Meteorite jewelry

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Solar maximum is coming in 2013. How will space weather affect you? To answer that question, experts from around the world are gathering for the Space Weather Enterprise Forum (SWEF) on June 5, 2012, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. To learn more and register, please visit the SWEF web site at http://www.nswp.gov/swef/swef_2012.html.

CHINESE SPACE STATION TRANSITS THE SUN: Solar photographers have grown accustomed to winged spaceships flying in front of the sun. For years, silhouettes of space shuttles and the International Space Station have flitted across the solar disk, producing photo-ops of rare beauty. Now China's space station, the Tiangong-1 ("Heavenly Palace 1"), is joining the show. On May 11th, for the first time, Thierry Legault of Paris, France, caught the newcomer transiting the sun:

"Orbiting Earth at 16,500 mph, the Chinese station flitted across the sun in only 0.9s," says Legault, who captured the split-second transit using a solar-filtered Takahashi FSQ-106 refractor and a Canon 5D Mark II digital camera.

At the moment, the silhouette of the 19,000 pound Tiangong-1 is dwarfed by its older cousin, the 990,000 pound ISS. Tiangong-1 will grow a little larger in the summer of 2012 when the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft docks with it. Three Chinese astronauts will be on board for their first visit to the outpost. The Chinese space agency says this is just the first step toward the development of a much larger space station planned for launch in 2020. Stay tuned for more--and bigger--silhouettes.

You can see Tiangong-1 with the naked eye shining in the night sky as brightly as the stars of the Big Dipper. Check your smartphone or SpaceWeather's Simple Satellite Tracker for sighting opportunities.

MENACE UNREALIZED: After more than a week of solar storm warnings, sunspot AR1476 is turning away from Earth with a mostly unblemished record of quiet. The decaying behemoth never lived up to its potential as a source of X-class solar flares. It did, however, make a great target for astrophotographers. Even now the sunspot is decorating sunsets around the world:

Russ Vallelunga took the picture on May 14th from Papago Park in Phoenix, Arizona. "Wildfires around the Phoenix metropolitan area led to a dim setting sun," says Vallelunga. "This allowed me to capture the sunspots 1476 and 1478 with an exposure of 1/125 second at ISO 100." More photo details may be found here.

NOAA forecasters estimate a 15% chance of M-class flares and no more than a 1% chance of X-flares from AR1476 during the next 24 hours. The chance of photo-ops: 100%.

more images: from VegaStar Carpentier of Paris, France; from Mike Borman of Evansville, Indiana; from Maximilian Teodorescu of Dumitrana, Romania; from Alberto Lao of Binondo, Manila, Philippines; from Art Whipple of Tracys Landing, Maryland; from John W. O'Neal II of Amherst, Ohio; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Göran Strand of Frösön, Jämtland; from Eric von der Heyden of Traisa, Hessen, Germany

  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 15, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2012 JU
May 13
0.5 LD
--
10 m
2010 KK37
May 19
2.3 LD
--
31 m
4183 Cuno
May 20
47.4 LD
--
5.7 km
2002 VX94
May 26
72.8 LD
--
1.1 km
2002 AC
Jun 16
62.2 LD
--
1.2 km
1999 BJ8
Jun 16
68.8 LD
--
1.1 km
2005 GO21
Jun 21
17.1 LD
--
2.2 km
2003 KU2
Jul 15
40.3 LD
--
1.3 km
2004 EW9
Jul 16
46.8 LD
--
2.1 km
2002 AM31
Jul 22
13.7 LD
--
1.0 km
37655 Illapa
Aug 12
37 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.
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
Trade Show Displays
   
  more links...
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