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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 424.5 km/sec
density: 1.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2228 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
2243 UT Nov12
24-hr: C2
0751 UT Nov12
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 12 Nov 11
The decay of sunspot 1339 is accelerating, but it still poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 127
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 12 Nov 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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 Nov 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 174 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 12 Nov 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.6 nT
Bz: 0.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2231 UT
Coronal Holes: 12 Nov 11
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Nov 12 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
20 %
05 %
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: 2011 Nov 12 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
02 %
02 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
14 %
14 %
12 %
12 %
08 %
08 %
Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011
What's up in space

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

Metallic pictures of the Sun

CME IMPACT: As predicted, a coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth's magnetic field on Nov. 12th at approximately 0600 UT. The impact caused ground currents in Norway and a brief flurry of auroras around the Arctic Circle, but otherwise had little effect. No big geomagnetic storms are in tthe offing. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

GRAND FILAMENT: A filament of magnetism more than 700,000 km long is curling around the sun's northeastern limb. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed the vast structure during the early hours of Nov. 12th:

The filament is weighted down by solar plasma. If it erupts--as such filaments are prone to do--it could fall to the stellar surface below, setting off an explosion called a Hyder flare. Or it might fly upward, hurling fragments of itself into space. Amateur astronomers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor the region for developments. The only challenge will be fitting the whole thing into a single field of view. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

more images: from Lyrics Some of Shiqi, Panyu, Guangzhou, China; from John Nassr of Baguio, Philippines; from Alan Friedman of Buffalo, NY; from Ted Adachi of Montreal, Quebec, Canada

SKY COLORS: Auroras in Nebraska are rare, but who needs auroras when you've got iridescence? University of Nebraska freshman Evan Ludes took this picture of cloud-colors over Omaha on the morning of Nov. 10th:

"I walked out of class this morning and was greeted by one of the best iridescence displays I've ever seen!" says Ludes. "The colors formed on the leading edge of a long stretch of cirrocumulus clouds."

Iridescent colors appear when sunlight shines through water droplets in the edges of clouds. The mechanism is diffraction. The colors are at their brightest and most distinct when the droplets are small and uniformly-sized.

"I'm no optics expert," says Ludes, "but I'm guessing the colors were particularly vivid since these clouds were newly formed and therefore likely had water droplets of similar shape and size. It was incredible how distinct the bands of colors were even when zoomed in at 300mm!"

  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 November 12, 2011 there were 1256 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 FZ2
Nov 7
75.9 LD
1.6 km
2005 YU55
Nov 8
0.8 LD
400 m
2011 UT91
Nov 15
9.9 LD
109 m
1994 CK1
Nov 16
68.8 LD
1.5 km
1996 FG3
Nov 23
39.5 LD
1.1 km
2003 WM7
Dec 9
47.6 LD
1.6 km
1999 XP35
Dec 20
77.5 LD
1.0 km
2000 YA
Dec 26
2.9 LD
80 m
2011 SL102
Dec 28
75.9 LD
1.1 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.
  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
Science Central
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
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