You are viewing the page for May. 8, 2009
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 493.5 km/sec
density: 1.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2125 UT May08
24-hr: B1
2125 UT May08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 06 May 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI

NOTE: SOHO is passing through a telemetry keyhole and this is delaying transmission of Daily Sun images. Updates will be posted as soon as they are available.
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 07 May 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 7 days
2009 total: 109 days (86%)
Since 2004: 620 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 07 May 2009

Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 1.9 nT
Bz: 0.2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: Hinode X-ray Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 May 08 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
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: 2009 May 08 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
May 8, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you sleep through the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.


NOAA PREDICTS SOLAR CYCLE 24: Today, an international panel of experts led by NOAA issued a new prediction for Solar Cycle 24: It will peak, they say, in May of 2013 with a below-average sunspot number of 90: full story.

HERE THEY COME: The first of two new active regions, described below, is emerging over the sun's northeastern limb. Click on the links for photos: from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from from Jesper Sorensen of Kastrup, Denmark.

AROUND THE BEND: NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft is monitoring a pair of active regions hidden behind the sun's eastern limb. They are the bright "hot spots" in this photo taken by STEREO-B's extreme ultraviolet telescope just a few hours ago:

On May 5th and 6th, magnetic fields in the vicinity of these regions erupted, hurling at least three coronal mass ejections (CMEs) into space. Since then, no explosions have been observed. The sunspots probably located at the base of these active regions might be in decay--or they might be regrouping for a new round of CMEs. We'll find out when the sun's rotation turns the active zone toward Earth for a better view in the days ahead. Readers with solar telescopes should train their optics on the eastern limb.

ISS COMPANION: Shortly before dawn on May 7th, the International Space Station flew directly over the Netherlands. Astronomer Ralf Vandebergh was watching and noticed, about 90 seconds later, another spacecraft following the ISS. He photographed the pair using his backyard 10-inch telescope:

"The second spacecraft was the Progress 32 rocket, which undocked from the ISS on May 6th," he says. The Russian rocket delivered a load of supplies to the ISS in February and now it is taking away a load of trash. The Progress and its contents are scheduled to re-enter Earth's atmosphere and disintegrate over the Pacific Ocean on May 18th. Meanwhile, the rocket can be seen tagging along behind the ISS; check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flyby times.

April 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Aprils: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002]

Explore the Sunspot Cycle

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 8, 2009 there were 1054 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 JA
May 4
7.5 LD
37 m
2006 FG3
May 6
60.7 LD
1.1 km
2001 SG286
May 17
11.5 LD
280 m
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 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 and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
©2013 All rights reserved.