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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 698.3 km/sec
density: 0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2342 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C8
2122 UT May29
24-hr: M1
1033 UT May29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 29 May 11
Sunspot 1226 is crackling with C-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 91
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 28 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 28 May 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 101 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 28 May 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 6
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.2 nT
Bz: 1.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
Coronal Holes: 29 May 11
Earth is entering a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 May 29 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
40 %
05 %
05 %
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 29 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
20 %
20 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
Sunday, May. 29, 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

DOUBLE FLYBY ALERT: Space shuttle Endeavour will undock from the International Space Station tonight, May 29th, at 11:55 pm EDT. Undocking sets the stage for a series of beautiful double flybys: The shuttle and station will soar through the night sky side-by-side in advance of Endeavour's final landing on June 1st. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker or your cell phone to see if you are favored with an apparition.

ACTIVE SUNSPOT: "This morning I pointed my solar telescope through a gap in the clouds to look at the new 'hot-spot' on the sun - AR11226," reports Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK. "Wow! I'm glad I did. The bright flaring regions within the sunspot group are incredible." Caught in mid-erupton, the active region nearly saturated his camera:

"A white light image of the region shows the underlying sunspot complex," says Lawrence. "Impressive!"

Sunspot 1226 and another unnumbered sunspot trailing behind it are responsible for this weekend's sudden surge of solar activity. The sunspots are crackling with C- and M-class solar flares. So far, none of the blasts has been geoeffective, but this could change in the days ahead as the active region turns toward Earth.

SUNSPOT TELESCOPE: Readers, please note a new addition to the Space Weather Store. Explore Scientific's White Light Solar Observing System is the perfect tool for monitoring sunspots like AR11126. And it doubles as a regular telescope at night---double the fun!

more images: from Robert Arnold of Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Karzaman Ahmad of Langkawi National Observatory, Malaysia; from John Chumack of Dayton, Ohio; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from David Evans of Coleshill, North Warwickshire, England, UK; from Iakovos Marios Strikis of Athens - Greece; from Peter Desypris of Athens,Creece

GEOMAGNETIC STORMS: A stream of high-speed solar wind is buffeting Earth's magnetic field and stirring up geomagnetic storms. At this time of year, the midnight sun interferes with the visibility of Northern Lights over Alaska and Scandinavia, but the situation is different on the other side of Earth. Southern Lights were on full display this morning in the dark autumn skies of Queenstown, New Zealand:

"I actually missed the most intense part of the display," says photographer Minoru Yoneto. But as this 30-second exposure shows, "better late than never!"

High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras as the solar wind continues to blow. NOAA forecasters estimate a 20% - 25% chance of geomagnetic storms in the next 24 hours. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

more images: from Brian Larmay of Pembine, Wisconsin; from Neva Andersen of Saint Cloud, MN; from Dave Curtis of Dunedin, New Zealand; from Ian Stewart of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia; from Zoltan Kenwell of East of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; from Tom Luttrell of Mount Nelson Signal Station, Hobart, Tasmania; from Beatrice van Eden of Antarctica;

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 29, 2011 there were 1224 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 KG13
May 24
3.2 LD
31 m
2002 JC
Jun 1
57.5 LD
1.6 km
2009 BD
Jun 2
0.9 LD
10 m
2011 KE15
Jun 3
3.7 LD
18 m
2011 KV15
Jun 5
8.4 LD
26 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
1.5 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
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.
  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
  the underlying science of space weather
Conquest Graphics
  for out-of-this-world printing and graphics
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Science Central sponsor
  more links...
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