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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 295.5 km/sec
density: 3.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B7
1847 UT Dec12
24-hr: C5
0727 UT Dec12
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 12 Dec 12
AR1629 produced an impulsive C6 flare on Dec. 12th. Otherwise, solar activity is very low. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 55
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 12 Dec 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

Update 12 Dec 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 104 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 12 Dec 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.7 nT
Bz: 4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 12 Dec 12
Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Dec. 16-17. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Dec 12 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
05 %
05 %
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: 2012 Dec 12 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
10 %
SEVERE
10 %
05 %
 
Wednesday, Dec. 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

ASTEROID FLYBY: Potentially hazardous asteroid 4179 Toutatis is sailing past Earth today. There's no danger of a collision, say astronomers, but the asteroid is close enough for unusually clear radar images of the tumbling space rock. [full story]

GEMINID METEOR SHOWER--THIS WEEK! Earth is entering a stream of debris from rock comet 3200 Phaethon, source of the annual Geminid meteor shower. Forecasters expect as many as 120 Geminids per hour to appear when the shower peaks on Dec. 13th and 14th. The best time to look is during the dark hours before dawn this Thursday and Friday. [sky map] [meteor radar] [video]

"I photographed my first spectacular Geminid this morning, Dec. 12th," reports Antonio Finazzi of Chiuduno (BG), Italy. The fireball was visible even through the trees:

According to the International Meteor Organization, Geminid rates are now at 20 per hour and climbing. Monitor the Spaceweather.com's realtime photo gallery for more images as the shower intensifies.

Extra meteors? NASA says that another meteor shower, appearing for the first time this year, could add to the count of Geminids on Dec. 13th. Veteran sky watcher Doug Zubenel of Kansas sends this report of a possible sighting: "I believe this shower is real, because at ~ 19:30 hrs, CST on Dec. 10th, I saw a very slow-moving meteor nearly as bright as Jupiter enter the frame of my windshield as I was driving east, and it was in Taurus moving toward the Orion/Gemini border. It's path led back through the radiant in Pisces. While this obviously does not prove it was from Wirtanen, it certainly seems likely."

ARCTIC LIGHTS: There was no geomagnetic storm last night, but around the Arctic Circle a geomagnetic storm is not required to produce auroras. Last night, photographer Mike Theiss was traveling along the Dempster Highway just north of Eagle Plains, Canada, when the sky erupted in color. The sign in the foreground marks the latitude of the Arctic Circle:

"It was insane," he says. "Lights danced all over the sky for 3 hours! I've never seen anything like it."

Theiss was located beneath Earth's auroral oval, a doughnut of light circling the North Pole where auroras sputter on and off even when geomagnetic storms are at low ebb. Displays like this could occur on any night of northern winter. Such auroras are all we can expect for the next few days as NOAA forecasters estimate a mere 5% chance of geomagnetic storms. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery


Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery


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

  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 December 12, 2012 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2012 XE54
Dec 11
0.6 LD
32 m
2012 XL55
Dec 11
4.2 LD
17 m
2009 BS5
Dec 11
8.4 LD
15 m
4179 Toutatis
Dec 12
18 LD
2.7 km
2012 XM16
Dec 16
3.1 LD
31 m
2003 SD220
Dec 23
59.8 LD
1.8 km
1998 WT24
Dec 23
69.2 LD
1.1 km
2012 XM55
Dec 23
3.1 LD
12 m
2012 XP55
Dec 27
9.1 LD
67 m
1999 HA2
Feb 5
58 LD
1.3 km
3752 Camillo
Feb 12
57.5 LD
3.4 km
1999 YK5
Feb 15
49.1 LD
2.1 km
2012 DA14
Feb 15
0.09 LD
57 m
2009 AV
Feb 25
59.7 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.
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
Space Weather Alerts
   
  more links...
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