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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 431.5 km/sec
density: 3.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1939 UT May08
24-hr: M1
1308 UT May08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 08 May 12
Sunspot 1476 poses a threat for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 79
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 07 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 07 May 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 122 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 07 May 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 15.5 nT
Bz: 10.3 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 07 May 12
Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole should reach Earth on May 9-10. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 May 08 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
65 %
65 %
10 %
10 %
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 08 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
35 %
10 %
15 %
01 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
30 %
30 %
40 %
50 %
Tuesday, May. 8, 2012
What's up in space

Can you drop a probe on a comet? A new iPhone game from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory puts you in control of the Rosetta spacecraft as it prepares to intercept Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Download it now.

Comet Quest for iOS

TWO INCOMING CMEs: A pair of solar eruptions on May 7th hurled coronal masss ejections (CMEs) toward Earth. Forecast tracks prepared by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab suggests that clouds with arrive in succession on May 9th at 13:40 UT and May 10th at 07:54 UT (+/- 7 hours). The double impact could spark moderate geomagnetic storms. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Magnetic storm alerts: text, phone.

CORONAL HOLE: A dark hole in the sun's atmosphere (a 'coronal hole') is spewing a stream of solar wind toward Earth. The impact of the stream, expected on May 9-11, could add to the effect of the incoming CMEs, boosting the chances of strong geomagnetic activity later this week. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory took this picture of the opening on May 8th:

Coronal holes are places where the sun's global magnetic field opens up and allows some of the sun's atmosphere to escape. The outflow of gas is the solar wind. NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of geomagnetic activity on May 9-10 when the stream arrives (along with the CMEs of May 7th).

SUNSPOT SUNSET: Sunspot AR1476 is so large, people are noticed it without the aide of a solar telescope. The behemoth appears at sunrise and sunset when the light of the low-hanging sun is occasionally dimmed to human visibility. Alberto Lao sends this picture from Manila, the Phillippines:

"The sky was hazy and a bit cloudy today, [perfect for sunspot photography]," says Lao. "Hoping to get a glimpse of AR 1476, I waited until a few minutes before sunset to try to image the sun . My patience was rewarded."

With at least four dark cores larger than Earth, the sprawling active region is one of the largest sunspots in years. Moreover, it has a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Any eruptions in the days ahead could be Earth-directed as the sunspot turns to face our planet. Solar flare alerts: text, phone.

Caution: Even when the sun is dimmed by clouds and haze, looking into the glare can damage your eyes. Looking through unfiltered optics is even worse. If you chose to photograph the low sun, use the camera's LCD screen for viewfinding.

  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, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
1992 JD
May 2
9.5 LD
43 m
2012 HA34
May 2
2.9 LD
38 m
2010 KK37
May 19
2.3 LD
31 m
4183 Cuno
May 20
47.4 LD
5.7 km
2002 VX94
May 26
72.8 LD
1.1 km
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
40.3 LD
1.3 km
2004 EW9
Jul 16
46.8 LD
2.1 km
2002 AM31
Jul 22
13.7 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.
  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
  the underlying science of space weather
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
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