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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 437.2 km/sec
density: 3.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2159 UT May30
24-hr: C1
0852 UT May30
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 30 May 12
None of these sunspots is actively flaring. Solar activity is low. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 73
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 29 May 2012

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2012 total: 0 days (0%)
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 29 May 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 106 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 29 May 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 9.7 nT
Bz: 5.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 30 May 12
A large coronal hole is emerging over the sun's eastern limb. Solar wind flowing from the opening should reach Earth on June 6-7. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 May 30 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
01 %
05 %
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: 2012 May 30 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
15 %
15 %
MINOR
15 %
15 %
SEVERE
05 %
05 %
 
Wednesday, May. 30, 2012
What's up in space
 

It's a once in a lifetime event: the June 5th Transit of Venus across the sun. Watch the world wide webcast sponsored by the Coca-Cola Science Center and NASA.

 
Venus Transit Live

ASTEROID SIGHTING: In an age of CCD cameras and high-speed digital recorders, University of Colorado Prof. Richard Keen has done something unusual. He observed an asteroid flyby with nothing but optics and the human eye. On May 29th, newly-discovered asteroid 2012 KT42 passed closer to Earth than a geosynchronous satellite. "Bent over the eyepiece of my 12-inch telescope, I tracked the little space rock for 42 minutes," says Keen. "Along the way it brightened from magnitude 11.5 to 10.5, about a whole magnitude brighter than predicted. Aside from some meteorites I've held in my hands and other meteors flashing though the upper atmosphere, this is the closest astronomical object I've ever seen. According to the NASA ephemeris, 2012 KT42 was just 19158 km from my house when I last saw it--about the same as a plane flight to Australia."

CANVAS FOR A TRANSIT: In only 6 days, Venus will pass in front of the sun, marking the solar disk like the tip of a black-dipped paint brush drawn slowly across the stellar surface. If the transit is indeed like a painting, here is the canvas:

Alan Friedman took the picture from his backyard observatory in Buffalo, NY, on May 28th. "I was getting my ducks in a row for a trip west to observe the transit of Venus, practicing with a new camera and new laptop on the Memorial Day sun," he says. "There was lots of activity to see, including an ejection of plasma from active region 1492."

"What treats will the sun put out when Venus pays a visit next week?" Friedman wonders. Stay tuned.

more images: from Sergio Castillo of Inglewood, California; from Rijk-Jan Koppejan of Middelburg, the Netherlands; from Randy Shivak of Anthem, AZ; from Andre van der Hoeven of HI-Ambacht, the Netherlands; from Dennis Cumberland of Fort St. James B.C.

VENUS SLENDERIZES: As Venus approaches the sun for a much-anticipated transit on June 5-6, the second planet is turning its night side toward Earth. Seen through a telescope, all that remains of Venus is a vanishingly-slender crescent:

Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK, took the picture in broad daylight on May 28th: "This beautiful planet has just slipped below 2.7% phase on it's way to the historic transit on June 5/6. We had clear sunny weather today, so I was able to capture Venus in daylight conditions."

In words and a picture, he explains how he accomplished the daytime shot: "Sun shields were erected to shade the main telescope. In addition, the main tube was wrapped in aluminium foil in an attempt to keep it cool and prevent internal air currents from distorting the view. Note the proper solar filter--i.e. not foil!--covering the full aperture."

The crescent of Venus could soon become a ring. When Venus is less than few degrees away from the sun, the horns of the crescent soetimes reach around and touch, producing a complete annulus. The effect is caused by sunlight-scatteriing particles in upper layers of Venus's atmosphere. It is very difficult to observe, and often only black-belt astrophotographers are able to record the phenomenon.

Keep an eye on SpaceWeather's realtime photo gallery to see how Venus shape-shifts in the days ahead.

Space Weather Real Time Image Gallery
[Submit your photos] [NASA video: 2012 Transit of Venus]

  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 30, 2012 there were 1293 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2002 VX94
May 26
72.8 LD
--
1.1 km
2012 KP24
May 28
0.1 LD
--
23 m
2012 KT42
May 29
0.05 LD
--
8 m
2012 KZ41
May 31
8.1 LD
--
42 m
2002 AC
Jun 16
62.2 LD
--
1.2 km
1999 BJ8
Jun 16
68.8 LD
--
1.1 km
2005 GO21
Jun 21
17.1 LD
--
2.2 km
2003 KU2
Jul 15
40.2 LD
--
1.2 km
2004 EW9
Jul 16
46.8 LD
--
2.1 km
2002 AM31
Jul 22
13.7 LD
--
1.0 km
37655 Illapa
Aug 12
37 LD
--
1.2 km
2000 ET70
Aug 21
58.5 LD
--
1.0 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
Trade Show Displays
   
  more links...
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