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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: 374.7 km/sec
density: 0.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT May26
24-hr: A0
2245 UT May26
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 26 May 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 25 May 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.1 nT
Bz: 0.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
A minor solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal should reach Earth on May 27th or 28th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 May 26 2203 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: 2008 May 26 2203 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
10 %
10 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
May 26, 2008
FLYBY ALERT! Space shuttle Discovery launches on May 31st. Get your flyby alerts from Space Weather PHONE  

MARS LANDING: Last night, NASA's Phoenix lander successfully touched down on the surface of Mars and the lander's solar arrays have deployed. If spacecraft systems continue to check out as well as they have so far, Phoenix's robotic arm could begin digging in icy martian soil within a week, say mission scientists: full story.

MARTIAN POLYGON: When Phoenix parachuted to the surface of Mars on May 25th it landed in the middle of a great field of polygons. One of the first pictures beamed back to Earth shows a typical trapezoid about 15 feet across:

"It's the cutest polygon I've ever seen," laughed Phoenix principal investigator Peter Smith at a late-night press briefing after the touchdown. "This is just where we wanted to land."

The polygons are created by the repeated expansion and contraction of subsurface ice as seasonal martian temperatures rise and fall--or so the theory goes. Phoenix's robotic arm will soon test this idea by digging into the ground. The polygon pictured above is just out of arm's reach, but that's no problem, said Smith, because there are other polygons practically at the lander's feet. If water does exist just beneath the topsoil, it could provide a habitat for microbial life--exciting stuff indeed!

UPDATE: NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter photographed Phoenix parachuting to the martian surface: photo. This marks the first time one human-built spacecraft has photographed another landing on an alien planet.

SPACE STATION FLYBYS: For North Americans, the ISS Marathon of May 2008 has ended, but it is still underway over Europe. Last night "I went down to a lake to photograph the space station and it was clearly visible in the twilit sky," says P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden. He snapped this picture using a Canon 450D:

To the unaided eye, the ISS appears as a bright but dimensionless point of light. In the eyepiece of a backyard telescope, however, it reveals itself as a bustling 3D spaceship. Here is the view through a 14-inch telescope, photographed on May 23rd by Iliyan Darganov and Borislav Petrov of Varna, Bulgaria.

European flybys will continue for another week. Readers, please try our Simple Satellite Tracker to find out when to look.


May 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-sky Cameras]

       
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. [comment]
On May 26, 2008 there were 953 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2008 HG
May 5
17 LD
18
90 m
2008 DE
May 9
17 LD
16
550 m
2008 HD2
May 9
6.5 LD
19
40 m
2008 JL24
May 10
0.4 LD
18
5 m
2008 HR3
May 11
3.1 LD
17
50 m
2008 HW1
May 14
72 LD
17
1.4 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 Links
NOAA Space Weather Prediction 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.
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2008, SpaceWeather.com -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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