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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 390.4 km/sec
density: 1.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: X1
1653 UT Jul12
24-hr: X1
1653 UT Jul12
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 12 Jul 12
Sunspot 1520 has a delta-class magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 94
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 12 Jul 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 12 Jul 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 162 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 12 Jul 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
unsettled
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.2 nT
Bz: 1.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 12 Jul 12
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Jul 12 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
80 %
80 %
CLASS X
35 %
35 %
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 Jul 12 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
40 %
MINOR
05 %
15 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
10 %
MINOR
25 %
30 %
SEVERE
25 %
55 %
 
Thursday, Jul. 12, 2012
What's up in space
 

They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store.

 
Own your own meteorite

X-FLARE! Big sunspot AR1520 unleashed an X1.4-class solar flare on July 12th at 1653 UT. Because this sunspot is directly facing Earth, everything about the blast was geoeffective. For one thing, it hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) directly toward our planet. According to a forecast track prepared by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the CME will hit Earth on July 14th around 10:20 UT (+/- 7 hours) and could spark strong geomagnetic storms. Sky watchers should be alert for auroras this weekend. Geomagnetic storm alerts: text, voice.

The explosion also strobed Earth with a pulse of extreme UV radiation, shown here in an image captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:

The UV pulse partially ionized Earth's upper atmosphere, disturbing the normal propagation of radio signals around the planet. Monitoring stations in Norway and Ireland recorded the sudden ionospheric disturbance.

Finally, solar protons accelerated by the blast are swarming around Earth. The radiation storm, in progress, ranks "S1" on NOAA space weather scales, which means it poses no serious threat to satellites or astronauts. This could change if the storm continues to intensify. Stay tuned.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

NOCTILUCENT CLOUDS: This morning a vast bank of electric-blue noctilucent clouds rippled across northern Europe. "It was like water in the sky," says Barbara Grudzinska, who photographed the display from Warsaw, Poland:

"These are the first noctilucent clouds this year so clearly visible at our latitude in Warsaw (52 N)," says Grudzinska.

When NLCs first appeared in the 19th century, the mysterious clouds were confined to the Arctic, most often seen in the same places as Northern Lights. In recent years, however, their "habitat" has been expanding, rippling as far south as Colorado, Virginia, Kansas, and Utah. (Here are some examples of sightings in the lower United States.) There is growing evidence that the expansion is a sign of climate change, although this remains controversial.

Whatever the reason, noctilucent clouds aren't just at high latitudes anymore, so sky watchers everywhere should be alert for them. Observing tips: Look west 30 to 60 minutes after sunset when the sun has dipped 6o to 16o below the horizon. If you see luminous blue-white tendrils spreading across the sky, you've probably spotted a noctilucent cloud.

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

SOLAR ARCHIPELAGO: Sunspots are magnetic islands on the sun. Sunspot AR1520 is a complete archipelago. Scroll down to scan more than 200,000 miles of island chain:

Amateur astronomer Alan Friedman took the picture on July 10th from his backyard observatory in Buffalo, New York. "AR1520 is a tremendous archipelago and a wonderful target for backyard solar telescopes," he says.

The tangled magnetic canopy of the sunspot group, shown here in an extreme UV image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, harbors energy for strong solar flares. NOAA forecasters estimate an 80% chance of M-class flares and a 15% chance of X-class flares during the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Sunspot Photo Gallery


Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery


Realtime Planets Photo Gallery
[NASA video: A Good Reason to Wake Up at Dawn]

  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 July 12, 2012 there were 1319 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2003 KU2
Jul 15
40.2 LD
--
1.3 km
2004 EW9
Jul 16
46.8 LD
--
2.1 km
2002 AM31
Jul 22
13.7 LD
--
1.0 km
37655 Illapa
Aug 12
37 LD
--
1.2 km
2000 ET70
Aug 21
58.5 LD
--
1.1 km
1998 TU3
Aug 25
49.2 LD
--
4.9 km
2009 AV
Aug 26
62.8 LD
--
1.1 km
1998 UO1
Oct 4
60.1 LD
--
2.1 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
Trade Show Displays
   
  more links...
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