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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 402.2 km/sec
density: 0.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2343 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1901 UT Oct15
24-hr: C4
1542 UT Oct15
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2259 UT
Daily Sun: 15 Oct 12
Sunspot 1589 poses a threat for Earth-directed M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 97
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 15 Oct 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

Update 15 Oct 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 132 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 15 Oct 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.6 nT
Bz: 0.9 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 15 Oct 12
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Oct 15 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
30 %
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 Oct 15 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
Monday, Oct. 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

ORIONID METEOR SHOWER: Next weekend, Earth will pass through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet, source of the annual Orionid meteor shower. Forecasters expect 25 meteors per hour when the shower peaks on Oct. 21st. [video] [full story]

WEEKEND AURORAS: A solar wind stream buffeted Earth's magnetic field over the weekend, igniting a G1-class geomagnetic storm that lasted more than 15 hours. Auroras with rare pulsations, colors, and cloud-piercing luminosity were sighted all around the Arctic Circle. In Lofoten, Norway, the lights formed an exquisite green butterfly:

If this picture confuses you, turn it sideways to see it the same way photographer June Grønseth did. "I took more than 400 pictures last night," says Grønseth. "The butterfly and the heart were my favorites."

NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of continued storms tonight as solar wind effects begin to wane. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

INCOMING ACTIVE REGION: An active sunspot located just over the sun's northeastern limb exploded during the early hours of Oct. 14th. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed a bright loop of hot plasma twisting over the blast site:

The eruption hurled a coronal mass ejection into space: SOHO movie. The cloud will not affect Earth because our planet was not in the line of fire. Future eruptions, however, might be geoeffective. The sun's rotation is about to bring the sunspot onto the Earthside of the sun where we could become targets for future flares. Stay tuned. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

RADIO STORM ON JUPITER: On Oct. 12th, there was a storm on Jupiter--a radio storm. Amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft recorded the event using a shortwave radio telescope located in New Mexico. Click on the dynamic spectrum (a plot of intensity vs. frequency vs. time) to hear the whooshing, crackling, popping sounds that emerged from his telescope's loudspeaker:

Dynamic spectrum courtesy of Wes Greenman, Radio Alachua Observatory

"Listen to the recording in stereo," advises Ashcraft. "I recorded the audio from two separate radios at 21.1 MHz and 20.9 MHz, so there is a stereo spatial effect from the frequency drift of the emissions."

Jupiter's radio storms are caused by natural radio lasers in the planet's magnetosphere that sweep past Earth as Jupiter rotates. Electrical currents flowing between Jupiter's upper atmosphere and the volcanic moon Io can boost these emissions to power levels easily detected by ham radio antennas on Earth. Jovian "S-bursts" and "L-bursts" mimic the sounds of woodpeckers, whales, and waves crashing on the beach. Here are a few audio samples: S-bursts, S-bursts (slowed down 128:1), L-Bursts

Now is a good time to listen to Jupiter's radio storms. The distance between Earth and Jupiter is decreasing as the giant planet approaches opposition on Dec. 3rd; the closer we come to Jupiter, the louder it gets. NASA's Radio Jove Project explains how to build your own receiver.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

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

  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 October 15, 2012 there were 1337 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2012 TC4
Oct 12
0.2 LD
21 m
2005 GQ21
Oct 12
77 LD
1.0 km
2012 TE79
Oct 17
5.7 LD
20 m
1998 ST49
Oct 18
28.7 LD
1.3 km
2012 TD79
Oct 18
7.2 LD
55 m
1991 VE
Oct 26
34 LD
1.1 km
2001 CV26
Oct 30
68 LD
2.4 km
2007 PA8
Nov 5
16.8 LD
2.4 km
2010 JK1
Nov 25
9.3 LD
56 m
2009 LS
Nov 28
55.2 LD
1.1 km
2009 BS5
Dec 11
8.4 LD
15 m
4179 Toutatis
Dec 12
18 LD
2.7 km
2003 SD220
Dec 23
59.8 LD
1.8 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
Space Weather Alerts
  more links...
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