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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
SPACE WEATHER
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 388.4 km/sec
density: 1.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A3
2000 UT Apr12
24-hr: A6
0105 UT Apr12
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 12 Apr. 10
A new sunspot is rapidly emerging at the circled location. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 11 Apr 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 1 days
2010 total: 7 days (7%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 777 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 11 Apr 2010


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 75 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 11 Apr 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 6
storm
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.1 nT
Bz: 2.6 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Apr 12 2201 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
01 %
01 %
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: 2010 Apr 12 2201 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
15 %
MINOR
10 %
05 %
SEVERE
05 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
25 %
20 %
MINOR
15 %
10 %
SEVERE
05 %
01 %
What's up in Space
April 12, 2010

NEW AND IMPROVED: Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a field-tested global satellite tracker. The Satellite Flybys app now works in all countries.

 

NEW SUNSPOT: A new sunspot (provisionally numbered AR1062) is rapidly emerging in the sun's southern hemisphere. Readers with solar telescopes, now is the time to watch sunspot genesis in action. Images: from Thomas Ashcraft of New Mexico;

GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A coronal mass ejection hit Earth's magnetic field at approximately 12:30 UT on April 11th. The impact sparked a G2-class geomagnetic storm with auroras over Scandinavia, Scotland, Canada and northern-tier US states such as Maine, Michigan and Wisconsin.

"It was great," says Martin McKenna of Maghera, Northern Ireland. "On Sunday night, my friend Conor McDonald and I watched the Northern Lights for 3 hours from the Glenshane Pass." They made this self-portrait using a Canon 450D:

"Vertical rays of green light shot as high as 20o above the horizon," says McKenna. "Quite a show!"

And it may not be over. The interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) near Earth is pointing south, an orientation that favors strong geomagnetic activity. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras tonight.

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

SUNGRAZING COMET: On Saturday morning, the sun had a comet for breakfast. The icy visitor from the outer solar system appeared with no warning on April 9th and plunged into the sun during the early hours of April 10th. One comet went in, none came out. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) had a good view of the encounter:


Click to launch a movie

The comet was probably a member of the Kreutz sungrazer family. Named after a 19th century German astronomer who studied them in detail, Kreutz sungrazers are fragments from the breakup of a giant comet at least 2000 years ago. Several of these fragments pass by the sun and disintegrate every day. Most are too small to see but occasionally a big fragment like today's attracts attention.

This has been an active year for big, bright sungrazers. There was one on Jan. 4th, another on March 12th, and the latest on April 10th. Normally we see no more than 3 or 4 bright ones in a whole year; now we're seeing them almost once a month. It could be a statistical fluctuation or, maybe, a swarm of Kreutz fragments is nearing perihelion (closest approach to the sun). Stay tuned for doomed comets!

 
       
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 April 12, 2010 there were 1117 potentially hazardous asteroids.
April 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2010 GV23
April 5
2.1 LD
19
12 m
2010 GF7
April 8
2.8 LD
18
30 m
2010 GA6
April 9
1.1 LD
16
27 m
2010 GM23
April 13
3.4 LD
17
47 m
2005 YU55
April 19
5.9 LD
15
185 m
2009 UY19
April 23
8.8 LD
18
87 m
2002 JR100
April 29
8.0 LD
19
65 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.
STEREO
  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...
   
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