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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 523.9 km/sec
density: 0.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C5
1809 UT Sep29
24-hr: C5
1809 UT Sep29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Sep 11
Sunspot 1302 is beginning to decay but still poses a threat for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 116
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 28 Sep 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 28 Sep 2011


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 133 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 28 Sep 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= 4
unsettled
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.6 nT
Bz: 3.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 29 Sep 11
Solar wind flowing from this minor coronal hole should reach Earth on Oct. 2nd or 3rd. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Sep 29 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
60 %
60 %
CLASS X
30 %
30 %
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 Sep 29 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
10 %
MINOR
05 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
25 %
10 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Thursday, Sep. 29, 2011
What's up in space
 

Turn your cell phone into a field-tested satellite tracker. Works for Android and iPhone.

 
Satellite flybys

SOLAR WIND BLASTS MERCURY: At a NASA teleconference today, researchers working with data from the Messenger spacecraft announced evidence that gusts of solar wind are penetrating Mercury's magnetic field and eroding material off the innermost planet's surface. The spacecraft has actually flown through plumes of ionized sodium escaping from weak points in Mercury's magnetosphere. Click here and scroll down to "Presenter #4" for relevant data and images.

REVERBERATIONS: A CME hit Earth's magnetic field on Sept. 26th, sparking one of the strongest magnetic storms in years. At the peak of the Kp=8 disturbance, auroras were sighted around both poles and more than half a dozen US states. Magnetic reverberations continued for more than 48 hours. Here is the view from forests of Skibotn, Norway, two days after the CME impact:

"The auroras were some of the most spectacular I have ever witnessed," says photographer Ole C. Salomonsen. "Actually it was the sickest thing I have ever seen in the sky!!"

Sky watchers at the highest latitudes should remain alert for auroras as Earth's magnetic field remains unsettled on Sept. 29th. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

September 2011 Aurora Gallery
[previous Septembers: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004]

BIG SUNSPOT: The source of the CME that hit Earth on Sept. 26th is sunspot AR1302. Measuring more than 150,000 km from end to end, the sprawling active region is visible even without a solar telescope. Here it is among the seagulls at sunset on Sept. 27th:

Damien Vens took the picture from the beach in Koksijde, Belgium. "I used an off-the-shelf Nikon D7000 digital camera," he says. "The sunspot was an easy target." (Note to photographers: Never look at the sun through unfiltered optics such as camera viewfinders; even a low-hanging sun can be blindingly bright.)

AR1302 has quieted down since unleashing dual X-flares on Sept. 22nd and 24th. Nevertheless, NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of more X-flares during the next 24 hours. Any such eruptions would be Earth-directed as the sunspot crosses the center of the solar disk. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

more images: from James W. Young of Seaside, Oregon; from Andy Devey of Barnsley South Yorkshire; from J. Stetson and students in Hinckley, Maine; from Ali Norouzi of Karaj, Iran; from Theo Ramakers of Social Circle, GA; from Stefano Sello of Pisa, Italy; from Phil Greaves of Sydney Australia; from Stefan Plach of Stadt Wehlen, Saxony, Germany;

  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 September 29, 2011 there were 1250 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2007 TD
Sep 22
6.2 LD
--
58 m
2011 SE58
Sep 27
0.6 LD
--
13 m
2011 SC108
Sep 27
1.2 LD
--
12 m
2011 SO5
Sep 29
5.5 LD
--
34 m
2002 AG29
Oct 9
77.1 LD
--
1.0 km
2011 SE97
Oct 12
7.9 LD
--
51 m
2011 SS25
Oct 12
69.6 LD
--
1.2 km
2000 OJ8
Oct 13
49.8 LD
--
2.4 km
2009 TM8
Oct 17
0.9 LD
--
8 m
2011 FZ2
Nov 7
75.9 LD
--
1.6 km
2005 YU55
Nov 8
0.8 LD
--
175 m
1994 CK1
Nov 16
68.8 LD
--
1.5 km
1996 FG3
Nov 23
39.5 LD
--
1.1 km
2003 WM7
Dec 9
47.6 LD
--
1.5 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
 
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