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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 386.4 km/sec
density: 5.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
1712 UT Jan21
24-hr: C3
0417 UT Jan21
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 21 Jan 11
The complexity of sunspot group 1147 is increasing as a rash of small spots develops just south of the main core. This could herald an increase in flare activity. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 32
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 20 Jan 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 1 day (5%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 20 Jan 2011


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 82 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 20 Jan 2011

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: 3.9 nT
Bz: 1.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 21 Jan 10
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Jan 21 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
10 %
10 %
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: 2011 Jan 21 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
15 %
MINOR
05 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Friday, Jan. 21, 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 SAIL UPDATE: Evidence is mounting that NASA's NanoSail-D spacecraft has successfully unfurled its solar sail in Earth orbit. Radio beacon data picked up on Jan. 20th and 21st by amateur radio operators in Canada and the USA are consistent with an open sail. NASA mission controllers plan to confirm the deployment with additional data in the hours ahead. Radio operators can help by listening for NanoSail-D's beacon signal at 437.270 MHz, which contains information about the status of the spacecraft. Follow the links for orbital elements, beacon details and submissions.

SUNSPOT ACTIVITY: A rash of small spots is rapidly emerging near the main core of sunspot group 1147, and this could herald an increase in solar activity. Click on the image, below, to launch a 9 MB movie from Solar Dynamics Observatory:

The reason this rash is interesting has to do with its magnetic characteristics. It is an evolving jumble of magnetic polarities, with positive (+) pressing against negative (-) in many places. These are favorable condition for magnetic reconnection and solar flares. researchers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor the region for further developments.

more images: from Pavol Rapavy of Observatory Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia

BIG AND SPOOKY: The largest rocket ever launched from the west coast of the USA blasted off from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on Jan. 20th at 1:10 pm PST. "The 23 story-high Delta IV Heavy rocket used three boosters, which produced more than two millions pounds of thrust to carry its payload into orbit," says photographer Anthony Galvan III, who recorded the launch on Figueroa Mountain some 40 miles from the Air Force base:

The massive rocket's "spooky" payload was a top-secret spy satellite belonging to the US National Reconaissance Office. Any doubts about the covert nature of the mission were dispelled 10 minutes after liftoff when the rocket's live feed went deliberately black. Only a twisting contrail in the blue Pacific sky reminded onlookers that, yes, it really happened.

more images: from John Boyd of Santa Barbara, CA; from Alfredo Garcia of Dockweiler Beach, CA


January 2011 Aurora Photo Gallery
[previous Januaries: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004]


Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[NASA: Hinode Observes Annular Solar Eclipse]

  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 January 21, 2011 there were 1184 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2011 AH5
Jan 13
3.3 LD
26
28 m
2011 AY22
Jan 14
4.1 LD
27.1
17 m
2011 AN52
Jan 17
0.8 LD
28.5
9 m
2011 AB37
Jan 19
9.5 LD
25.9
29 m
2011 AL37
Jan 26
2.2 LD
24.1
67 m
2003 YG118
Feb 20
67.7 LD
17
1.8 km
2000 PN9
Mar 10
45.5 LD
16.1
2.6 km
2002 DB4
Apr 15
62.5 LD
16.4
2.2 km
2008 UC202
Apr 27
8.9 LD
28.2
10 m
2009 UK20
May 2
8.6 LD
26.4
23 m
2008 FU6
May 5
75.5 LD
17.9
1.2 km
2003 YT1
May 5
65.3 LD
16.1
2.5 km
2002 JC
Jun 1
57.5 LD
17
1.6 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
Science Central
   
  more links...
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