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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: 344.4 km/sec
density: 6.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A4
1950 UT Jan29
24-hr: A6
0035 UT Jan29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Jan. 10
Decaying sunspot 1041 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 13
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 28 Jan 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 2 days (7%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 772 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 28 Jan 2010


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 76 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 28 Jan 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.1 nT
Bz: 1.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 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 Jan 29 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 Jan 29 2201 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
January 29, 2010

SATELLITE FLYBYS APP: Turn your iPhone or iPod into a field-tested satellite tracker! Spaceweather.com presents the Satellite Flybys app.

 

TERRESTRIAL GAMMA-RAY FLASHES: There's a mystery in the skies of Earth. Something is producing bright flashes of gamma radiation in the upper atmosphere of our own planet. A spacecraft called 'Firefly' is going to investigate: full story.

BIGGEST FULL MOON OF THE YEAR: If you think tonight's Moon looks unusually big, you're right. It's the biggest full Moon of 2010. Astronomers call it a "perigee Moon," some 14% wider and 30% brighter than lesser full Moons of the year. (continued below)


Image credit and copyright: Anthony Ayiomamitis: details.

Johannes Kepler explained the phenomenon 400 years ago. The Moon's orbit around Earth is not a circle but an ellipse, with one side 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other. Astronomers call the point of closest approach "perigee," and that is where the Moon will be Friday night through Saturday morning: diagram.

A good time to look is around sunset when the Moon is near the eastern horizon. At that time, illusion mixes with reality to produce a truly stunning view. For reasons not fully understood by psychologists, low-hanging Moons look unnaturally large when they beam through foreground objects such as buildings and trees. Why not let the "Moon illusion" amplify a full Moon that's extra-big to begin with? The swollen orb rising in the east may seem close enough to touch.

And what's that bright orange star right beside the Moon? Read on...

IT'S MARS! In a coincidence of celestial proportions, the Moon and Mars are having close encounters with Earth at the same time. Moreover, the two will spend Friday night gliding across the sky side-by-side. It's a must-see event: sky map.

Readers with backyard telescopes should train their optics on Mars. It looks bigger through a telescope now than at any time between 2008 and 2014. Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK, photographed the Red Planet on Jan. 26th using his 14-inch Celestron:

"I photographed Mars at 10 minute intervals for more than three hours," says Lawrence. "Here is the animation. It shows a lot of surface markings including the dramatic 'Eye of Mars,' Solis Lacus."

more images: from Efrain Morales Rivera of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; from Paolo Lazzarotti of Massa, Tuscany, Italy; from Glenn Jolly of Gilbert, Arizona; from Brian Combs of Buena Vista, Georgia; from George Tarsoudis of Alexandroupolis, Greeece; from Alan Friedman of Buffalo, New York; from Mike Hood of Kathleen, Georgia; from Jacob Bass√łe of Copenhegen, Denmark; from Sadegh Ghomizadeh of Tehran, Iran;


January Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Januarys: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2001]

 

 
       
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 29, 2010 there were 1094 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Jan. 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2010 AL2
Jan. 11
11.5 LD
20
23 m
24761 Ahau
Jan. 11
70.8 LD
16
1.4 km
2000 YH66
Jan. 12
69.5 LD
17
1.1 km
2010 AL30
Jan. 13
0.3 LD
14
18 m
2010 AG3
Jan. 19
8.9 LD
21
14 m
2010 AN61
Jan. 19
8.0 LD
20
17 m
2010 AF40
Jan. 21
2.3 LD
16
43 m
2010 BC
Jan. 24
7.6 LD
16
160 m
2010 BU2
Jan. 27
6.4 LD
17
52 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...
   
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