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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 393.1 km/sec
density: 1.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B3
2245 UT Feb01
24-hr: B6
0342 UT Feb01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 01 Feb 13
None of these sunspots is actively flaring. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 47
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 01 Feb 2013

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2013 total: 0 days (0%)
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

Update
01 Feb 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 103 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 01 Feb 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 9.5 nT
Bz: 3.9 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 01 Feb 13
Solar wind flowing from these coronal holes should reach Earth between Feb. 4th and 6th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Feb 01 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
05 %
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: 2013 Feb 01 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
25 %
MINOR
01 %
10 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
25 %
SEVERE
10 %
35 %
 
Friday, Feb. 1, 2013
What's up in space
 

Hang the Transit of Venus on your wall! Hubble-quality images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory are now available as metallic posters in the Space Weather Store.

 
Venus Transit metal posters

RECORD-SETTING ASTEROID FLYBY: On Feb. 15th an asteroid about half the size of a football field will fly past Earth closer than many man-made satellites. Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, astronomers have never seen an object so big come so close to our planet. [full story] [video]

RARE ICE HALOS: On January 28th at the Vitosha mountain in Sofia, Bulgaria, skiers stopped in their tracks when a magnificent network of luminous arcs and halos formed around the midday sun. Janeta Ganchevska pulled a mobile phone out of her jacket and snapped this photo of the apparition:

"Small, fine crystals were raining from the sky," says Ganchevska. "Sunlight shining through the crystals produced these very bright halos."

Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley comments on the display: "Rare halo arcs come in clusters. They are a sign of large numbers of near perfect hexagonal ice crystals drifting in the air. In this case, the crystals were nearby and called 'diamond dust.'"

"Many rare arcs get called after their discoverers," says Cowley, who points out the named arcs in Ganchevska's picture: "First above the sun is a faint ā€˜Vā€™, the mysterious Moilanen arc, named after the Finland halo expert. Next we have the well-known 22 degree halo and the gull-winged shaped tangent arc. Above that the rare Parry arc first recorded in the Arctic in 1820 by the famous explorer. Yet further up is a colourful and rare supralateral arc. Yet another picture shows two greater rarities, a Tape arc (Parry supralateral) named after halo expert Walter Tape and a helic arc."

"There are arcs waiting out there for a discoverer," says Cowley. "Get looking!"

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

ERUPTING MAGNETIC FILAMENT: As expected, an unstable filament of magnetism curling over the sun's northeastern limb erupted yesterday. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the blast at approximately 0515 UT on Jan. 31st:

Despite the obvious energy of the blast, very little of the filament actually flew into space. The sun's gravity pulled most of the debris back to the stellar surface. So this eruption was primarily photogenic, not geoeffective.

Elsewhere on the sun, no sunspots are actively flaring. NOAA forecasters estimate a slim 1% chance of M-class or X-class solar flares during the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

GREEN COMET LEMMON: 2013 could be the Year of the Comet. Comet Pan-STARRS is set to become a naked eye object in March, followed by possibly-Great Comet ISON in November. Now we must add to that list green Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6). "Comet Lemmon is putting on a great show for us down in the southern hemisphere," reports John Drummond, who sends this picture from Gisborne, New Zealand:

"I took the picture on Jan. 23rd using a 41 cm (16 in) Meade reflector," says Drummond. "It is a stack of twenty 1 minute exposures." That much time was required for a good view of the comet's approximately 7th-magnitude coma ("coma"=cloud of gas surrounding the comet's nucleus).

Lemmon's green color comes from the gases that make up its coma. Jets spewing from the comet's nucleus contain cyanogen (CN: a poisonous gas found in many comets) and diatomic carbon (C2). Both substances glow green when illuminated by sunlight in the near-vacuum of space.

Discovered on March 23rd 2012 by the Mount Lemmon survey in Arizona, Comet Lemmon is on an elliptical orbit with a period of almost 11,000 years. This is its first visit to the inner solar system in a very long time. The comet is brightening as it approaches the sun; light curves suggest that it will reach 2nd or 3rd magnitude, similar to the stars in the Big Dipper, in late March when it approaches the sun at about the same distance as Venus (0.7 AU). Northern hemisphere observers will get their first good look at the comet in early April; until then it is a target exclusively for astronomers in the southern hemisphere.

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery


Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery


Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery


Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]

  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 February 1, 2013 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
1999 HA2
Feb 5
58 LD
1.3 km
2013 BS45
Feb 12
4.9 LD
31 m
3752 Camillo
Feb 12
57.5 LD
3.4 km
2013 BV15
Feb 13
3.7 LD
64 m
1999 YK5
Feb 15
49.1 LD
2.1 km
2012 DA14
Feb 15
0.09 LD
58 m
2009 AV
Feb 25
59.7 LD
1.0 km
2007 EO88
Mar 18
4.4 LD
23 m
1993 UC
Mar 20
49 LD
3.8 km
1997 AP10
Mar 28
45.9 LD
1.8 km
2010 GM23
Apr 13
3.9 LD
50 m
2005 NZ6
Apr 29
24.9 LD
1.3 km
2001 DQ8
Apr 30
74.3 LD
1.1 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
Space Weather Alerts
   
  more links...
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