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

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
C4 1900 UT Jan18
24-hr: M4 1550 UT Jan18
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 18 Jan '05

Giant sunspot 720 poses a continued threat for X-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI


Sunspot Number: 107
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 17 Jan 2005

Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals no large sunspots on the far side of the Sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 17.3 nT
Bz:
8.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Coronal Holes:

This image is speckled by solar protons accelerated to light-speed by the Jan. 17th X3-class solar flare. A solar wind gust from the indicated coronal hole might hit Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 23rd. Image 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 2005 Jan 18 2200 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 90 % 90 %
CLASS X 30 % 20 %

Geomagnetic Storms: Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at 2005 Jan 18 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 30 % 25 %
MINOR 60 % 50 %
SEVERE 10 % 05 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 10 % 25 %
MINOR 70 % 60 %
SEVERE 20 % 15 %

What's Up in Space -- 18 Jan 2005
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AURORA ALERT: A coronal mass ejection (CME) is heading for Earth and extreme geomagnetic storms are possible when it arrives on Jan. 18th or 19th. Sky watchers everywhere, be alert for auroras! [gallery]

Pictured right is a SOHO coronagraph image of the CME. It was hurled into space by an X3-class explosion above sunspot 720 on Jan. 17th (0950 GMT). The many speckles are caused by solar protons (accelerated to light speed by the blast) hitting SOHO's digital camera.

Giant sunspot 720 poses a continued threat for X-class flares. Stay tuned for more solar activity.

The skies and snows of Alaska turned purple on Monday morning, Jan. 17th, during a strong geomagnetic storm:

"I woke at 7:30 in the morning; the whole southern sky was lit up," says photographer Chuck Johnson of Cleary Summit, Alaska, not far from Fairbanks. [gallery]

SPLAT! Just in from Europe: When the European Space Agency's Huygens probe landed on Saturn's moon Titan last Friday, it landed in something like mud. This adds to growing evidence that Titan is a wet place. The probe's cameras photographed apparent drainage channels, a shoreline and ground fog. (continued below)


Above: The Huygens' landing site viewed from 10 km altitude. Dark areas might represent fluid, while light-colored tendrils could be ground fog. [More]

"Wet" doesn't mean watery, though. With a surface temperature of -290 degrees F, any water on Titan is frozen rock-solid. Instead, the fluids are probably liquid methane and ethane. Researchers will discuss their findings at a press conference on Friday, Jan. 21st.



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 are on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.

On 18 Jan 2005 there were 662 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

Jan.-Feb. 2005 Earth-asteroid encounters
ASTEROID

 MISS DISTANCE

 MAG.
1998 DV9

Jan. 11

30 LD

 15
2004 EW

Feb. 14

23 LD

 16
2004 RF84

Feb. 27

23 LD

 14
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. See also Snow Crystals.

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 --a gallery of up-to-date solar pictures from the National Solar Data Analysis Center at the Goddard Space Flight Center. See also the GOES-12 Solar X-ray Imager.

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

SOHO Farside Images of the Sun from SWAN and MDI.

The Latest SOHO Coronagraph Images -- from the Naval Research Lab

The Sun from Earth -- daily images of our star from the Big Bear Solar Observatory

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

Observable Comets -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

What is the Interplanetary Magnetic Field? -- A lucid answer from the University of Michigan. See also the Anatomy of Earth's Magnetosphere.

Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from NASA's ACE spacecraft. How powerful are solar wind gusts? Read this story from Science@NASA.

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

Aurora Forecast --from the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute

Daily Solar Flare and Sunspot Data -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Lists of Coronal Mass Ejections -- from 1998 to 2001

What is an Iridium flare? See also Photographing Satellites by Brian Webb.

Vandenberg AFB missile launch schedule.

What is an Astronomical Unit, or AU?

Mirages: Mirages in Finland; An Introduction to Mirages;

NOAA Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: 1999; 2000; 2001; 2002; 2003; Jan-Mar., 2004;

Space Audio Streams: (University of Florida) 20 MHz radio emissions from Jupiter: #1, #2, #3, #4; (NASA/Marshall) INSPIRE: #1; (Stan Nelson of Roswell, New Mexico) meteor radar: #1, #2;

Recent International Astronomical Union Circulars

GLOSSARY | SPACE WEATHER TUTORIAL

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

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