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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 280.0 km/sec
density: 2.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
1701 UT Jan29
24-hr: B7
1157 UT Jan29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Jan 11
Sunspots 1150 and 1151 pose little threat for strong flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

more images: from Pavol Rapavy of Observatory Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia
Sunspot number: 27
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 28 Jan 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 1 day (4%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 28 Jan 2011


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 81 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 28 Jan 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.5 nT
Bz: 0.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 29 Jan 10
A doughnut-shaped coronal hole is emerging over the eastern limb. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Jan 29 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 Jan 29 2200 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
10 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011
What's up in space
 

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Satellite flybys

AURORA BOREALIS: Earth's magnetic field is mostly quiet. Nevertheless, some bright auroras were caught swirling around the Arctic Circle on Jan. 28th. Military satellites photographed the lights from above, while sky watchers in Canada saw them from ground level. An even bigger display is expected on Feb. 3-4 when an incoming solar wind stream reaches Earth.

DOUBLE ERUPTION: Jan. 28th began with not one but two major eruptions on the sun. Separated by more than a million kilometers, the two blasts occurred almost simultaneously on opposite corners of the solar disk. Click on the image to view a movie recorded by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:


See the movie or browse selected high-resolution still frames: #1, #2, #3

On the lower left, a magnetic filament became unstable and erupted, hurling a portion of itself into space. On the upper right, departing sunspot 1149 produced an M1-class solar flare and a bright coronal mass ejection (SOHO movie). Is this all a big coincidence? Maybe not. New research shows that eruptions on the sun can "go global" with widely separated blasts unfolding in concert as they trigger and feed off of one another.

These blasts are going to miss in concert, too. Plasma clouds ejected by the two eruptions will sail wide of our planet, one on the left and one on the right. No Earth-effects are expected; maybe next time.

more images: from Peter Desypris of Athens,Greece; from T. Taker et al of South Portland, Maine; from Robert Arnold of Isle of Skye, Scotland; from James Kevin Ty of Manila , Philippines

V-TOPPED LIGHT PILLARS: Light pillars are a common sight around cities in winter. Urban lights bounce off ice crystals in the air, producing tall luminous columns sometimes mistaken for auroras. But the light pillars Mike Hollingshead saw on Jan. 26th near a corn mill in Blair, Nebraska, were decidely uncommon. "They had V-shaped tops," he explains, "and some of the Vs were nested." Here is what he saw:

"These light pillars are not just rare, they are exceptional!" declares atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "Ordinary pillars are produced by plate-shaped ice crystals roughly half way between you and the light source. These are different. Their rarely seen flared tops show that they were made by column-shaped crystals drifting slowly downwards and aligned horizontal by air resistance."

"The flares are a form of the upper tangent arcs that we sometimes see in daytime halo displays," he continues. "But even more exotic, some flares have a second one nested within them! Some ice crystal columns do not rotate but instead keep two of their prism faces improbably horizontal to give us the very uncommon Parry arcs of solar halo displays. The nested flares here are amazing and probably the light halo equivalent of Parry arcs."


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 29, 2011 there were 1185 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2011 BW10
Jan 20
8.2 LD
25.2
40 m
2011 BZ11
Jan 22
4.8 LD
25.7
31 m
2011 BW11
Jan 25
0.3 LD
28.5
9 m
2011 AL37
Jan 26
2.2 LD
24.2
60 m
2011 BF10
Jan 30
9.1 LD
27.3
14 m
2011 BE24
Feb 3
9.3 LD
25.4
36 m
2003 YG118
Feb 20
67.7 LD
17.0
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
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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