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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 374.6 km/sec
density: 0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2335 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2149 UT May23
24-hr: B1
0248 UT May23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 23 May 11
Neither of these sunspots pose a threat for strong flares. Solar activity is very low. Credit: SDO/HMI

more images: from Gianluca Valentini of Rimini, Italy; from Jim Fakatselis of Huntington, NY;
Sunspot number: 47
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 22 May 2011

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

Updated 22 May 2011


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 85 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 22 May 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: 5.7 nT
Bz: 2.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2336 UT
Coronal Holes: 22 May 11
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on or about May 27th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 May 23 2200 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: 2011 May 23 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Monday, May. 23, 2011
What's up in space
 

Are we alone? Your iPhone has the answer. Download the all-new Drake Equation app to calculate the population of the Milky Way.

 
DrakeEQ for iPhone and iPad

QUIET SUN: Solar activity is very low, with no strong flares or geomagnetic storms expected for the next three days.

FLYBY FLURRY: In recent days, the quiet face of the sun has provided a nice backdrop for activity of a different sort--a flyby flurry. Observers in Europe have photographed multiple transits of the International Space Station and space shuttle Endeavour across the solar disk. This specimen obtained yesterday comes from Alex Conu of Furculesti, Romania:

"This was the second ISS transit I observed in less than a week," says Conu. "There could have been a third, but I was just too busy to watch one of them. The details we can see in the silhouette of the docked spacecraft are just amazing."

Astrophotographers who wish to take this kind of picture themselves can find daytime transit predictions at Calsky.org. Of course, seeing the ISS at night is wonderful, too. Flyby times may be found on your cell phone.

more silhouettes: from Maximilian Teodorescu of Bucharest, Romania; from Tamas Ladanyi of Veszprem, Hungary; from Mihai Curtasu & Vlad Dumitrescu of Furculesti, Roumania; from Vlad Dumitrescu of Alexandria, Romania; from Riccardo Rossi of Terrazzo (VR), ITALY; from Riccardo Rossi of San Biago (MO), ITALY

NAME THAT PLANET: Look at this picture. Can you identify the planet? Hint: It's not a gas giant. (continued below)

It's Earth. A group of high school students in Bishop, California, took the picture on May 20th using a high-altitude weather balloon. At the time of the snapshot, the balloon was drifting approximately 6 miles above the Death Valley National Park. That part of our planet has such an alien quality, you could easily be fooled into thinking you are looking at another world.

The flight was part of an ongoing project led by Dr. Tony Phillips to develop an inexpensive research platform for amateur scientists and student experimentors. The balloon can travel to the top of Earth's atmosphere, at the edge of space itself, where the air temperature and density and radiation environment are akin to that on the planet Mars. Eventually, readers of spaceweather.com will be invited to suggest experiments and apply for payload space onboard future flights. We're just getting started. Meanwhile, please browse selected images from our maiden voyage on May 20th: Liftoff, Bishop CA, River and Clouds, White Mountains, Weird Terrain, Owens River, Cobalt Sky, Above the Clouds, Eureka Dunes, Touchdown.


April 2011 Aurora Gallery
[previous Aprils: 2010, 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 May 23, 2011 there were 1224 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2011 HC24
May 12
5.9 LD
--
58 m
2002 JC
Jun 1
57.5 LD
--
1.6 km
2009 BD
Jun 2
0.9 LD
--
10 m
2002 JB9
Jun 11
71.5 LD
--
3.2 km
2001 VH75
Jun 12
42.2 LD
--
1.1 km
2004 LO2
Jun 15
9.9 LD
--
48 m
2011 GA55
Jul 6
64.1 LD
--
1.0 km
2011 EZ78
Jul 10
37.3 LD
--
1.6 km
2003 YS117
Jul 14
73.9 LD
--
1.0 km
2007 DD
Jul 23
9.3 LD
--
31 m
2009 AV
Aug 22
49.7 LD
--
1.1 km
2003 QC10
Sep 18
50 LD
--
1.2 km
2004 SV55
Sep 19
67.5 LD
--
1.2 km
2007 TD
Sep 23
3.8 LD
--
58 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 web links
NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
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Atmospheric Optics
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Solar Dynamics Observatory
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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
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