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OF FLARES: The sun is peppered with
spots: There are now more than a dozen numbered
active regions scattered around the solar disk.
As the sunspot count increases so does the chance
of flares. NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance
eruptions and a 5% chance of X-flares
during the next 24 hours. Solar
flare alerts: text,
To illustrate the growing spottiness
of the sun, each active region in this Jan. 5th
image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)
The most active sunspot so far is
emerging over the sun's northeastern limb. On Jan.
5th at 09:34 UT, the unnumbered region unleashed
an M1.7-class eruption that sent a wave
of ionization rippling through the upper atmosphere
over Europe. The flare was too brief, however, to
produce a significant CME. SDO recorded a movie
of the explosion's extreme ultraviolet flash:
More flares appear to be in the offing;
Space Weather Photo Gallery
TWO METEOR SHOWERS
IN PROGRESS: The annual Quadrantid
meteor shower, caused by debris from shattered comet
2003 EH1, peaked on Jan. 3rd and should be finished--but
maybe not. "The Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar
(CMOR) is still seeing strong Quadrantid activity,"
reports Prof. Peter Brown of the University of Western
Ontario. "The overnight results have just been
processed, and here is a skychart plot showing radiant
activity as it appeared around 5 am EST on the morning
of Jan. 4th."
"Notice also the relatively strong
shower coming right out of the head of Leo,"
points out Brown. "This is the fast (54 km/s)
January Leonids (JLE), first detected a few years
ago by CMOR, but usually overlooked as it peaks
the same day as the Quadrantids."
"The January Leonid shower is
unusual in that it is quite strong (10 meteors per
hour) and has an orbit which gets very close to
the Sun (perihelion about 0.05 AU). In fact, it
has the smallest perihelion of any major shower
detected by CMOR. It also has a nearly unbound orbit
and is almost certainly associated with an as yet
unidentified sungrazing comet. Very little is known
about the stream - optical observations would be
most helpful, particularly to define the orbit at
larger meteoroid sizes. The shower remains active
as seen by CMOR until Jan 7."
Meteor Photo Gallery
Aurora Photo Gallery
Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003,
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
all the time.
January 5, 2013 there were 1364
potentially hazardous asteroids.
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.
official U.S. government space weather bureau
first place to look for information about sundogs,
pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO
is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial
and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
the NOAA Space Environment Center
underlying science of space weather