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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
SPACE WEATHER
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 429.4 km/sec
density: 1.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2219 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A3
2325 UT Apr16
24-hr: A4
0950 UT Apr16
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 16 Apr. 10
The Earth-facing side of the sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 15 Apr 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 1 day
2010 total: 8 days (8%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 777 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 14 Apr 2010


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 75 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 15 Apr 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.4 nT
Bz: 4.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2219 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Apr 16 2201 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
01 %
01 %
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: 2010 Apr 16 2201 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
25 %
30 %
MINOR
01 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
30 %
35 %
MINOR
10 %
15 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
April 16, 2010

NEW AND IMPROVED: Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a field-tested global satellite tracker. The Satellite Flybys app now works in all countries.

 

VOLCANIC SUNSET ALERT: For the second day in a row, clouds of ash from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano are drifting across Europe. This has forced the closure of some of Europe's busiest airports, grounding thousands of planes. Stranded passengers should look west at the end of the day for their consolation prize: the ash is causing sunsets of rare beauty. Images: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10.

BONUS: If you don't live in Europe, look west anyway. Venus, Mercury and the crescent Moon are beaming through the twilight for all to see. Sky maps: April 15, 16.

MIDWESTERN FIREBALL: Last night, around 10:05 pm CDT, sky watchers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri witnessed a brilliant green fireball streaking across the sky. Images from a rooftop webcam in Madison, Wisconsin, show a brilliant midair explosion:


Credit: University of Wisconsin - AOS/SSEC

The fireball was caused by a small asteroid hitting Earth's atmosphere at a shallow angle. Preliminary infrasound measurements place the energy of the blast at 20 tons of TNT (0.02 kton), with considerable uncertainty. Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office estimates that the space rock was about 1 meter wide and massed some 1260 kg. "Fireballs of this size are surprisingly common," he notes. "They hit Earth about 14 times a month, on average, although most go unnoticed because they appear during the day or over unpopulated areas."

Many readers have asked if fragments of the meteoroid might have reached Earth. The answer is "yes." Cooke advises looking directly underneath the fireball's debris trail, which was pinged by National Weather Service radars in Iowa. Click here and here for maps.

News video: from WISN in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; from a sheriff's dashcam in Elma, Iowa;

Not a gamma Virginid: Contrary to some reports, this fireball was not a member of the gamma Virginid meteor shower, a minor shower that peaks in mid-April. The fireball's timing and trajectory do not match what would be expected for a gamma Virginid.

AURORA WATCH: High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on April 17th when a coronal mass ejection (CME) is expected to deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field. NOAA forecasters estimate a 35% chance of geomagnetic activity:

"On April 14th I took a little trip to see the Northern Lights with my students from Salluit, an Inuit village in the Canadian Arctic," says photographer Sylvain Serre. "It was spectacular. I especially enjoyed hearing my students whistle to make the auroras dance."

UPDATED: April Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Aprils: 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 April 16, 2010 there were 1116 potentially hazardous asteroids.
April 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2010 GV23
April 5
2.1 LD
19
12 m
2010 GF7
April 8
2.8 LD
18
30 m
2010 GA6
April 9
1.1 LD
16
27 m
2010 GM23
April 13
3.4 LD
17
47 m
2005 YU55
April 19
5.9 LD
15
185 m
2009 UY19
April 23
8.8 LD
18
87 m
2002 JR100
April 29
8.0 LD
19
65 m
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 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 and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
STEREO
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
   
  more links...
   
©2008, SpaceWeather.com -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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