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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 408.3 km/sec
density: 2.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2255 UT Jan15
24-hr: C2
0556 UT Jan15
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 15 Jan 13
Sunspot AR1654 has a beta-gamma magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 128
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 15 Jan 2013

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
15 Jan 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 154 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 15 Jan 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.5 nT
Bz: 1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 15 Jan 13
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Jan 15 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
45 %
45 %
CLASS X
05 %
05 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2013 Jan 15 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
35 %
MINOR
01 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
10 %
30 %
SEVERE
05 %
45 %
 
Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013
What's up in space
 

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CHANCE OF FLARES: NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of M-class solar flares, and a 5% chance of X-flares today. The probable source would be big sunspot AR1654, which is squarely facing Earth. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

AURORAS BY SATELLITE: A solar wind stream hit Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 13th, igniting bright auroras around the Arctic Circle. A US Department of Defense meteorological satellite photographed the luminous tendrils winding past Iceland:

Mark Conner of the Air Force Weather Agency prepared the image using data from a low-light camera onboard the DMSP-18 satellite. It shows not only the auroras, but also the city lights of northern Europe and the glow of gas flares from oil rigs in the North Sea. The auroras were every bit as bright as the manmade lights below. The view from the ground proves the comparison.

More auroras are in the offing. NOAA forecasters estimate a 15% chance of polar geomagnetic activity as the solar wind continues to blow. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

BIG SUNSPOTS IN THE MORNING: Sunspot AR1654 is so large, people are starting to notice it with their naked eyes when the sun is dimmed by clouds or mist. This morning, Jan. 14th, Göran Strand photographed the behemoth at sunrise over Frösön, Sweden:

"The weather was very cold, -20 degrees Celsius and there was a light mist that made it possible to shoot right at the Sun without any filters," says Strand. "In the foreground you can see the downpipes on my neighbor's house."

To take the picture, Strand set his Nikon D800E digital camera as follows: 510mm/f4.8, ISO 400, 1/6000 sec. Sky watchers who wish to photograph the spot should take note of those settings, but be careful. Even when the sun is dimmed, viewing it through unfiltered optics is every dangerous. One stray beam of magnified sunlight can blind you. Use the digital viewfinder to safely align the camera.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

COMET ISON APPROACHES: Later this year, Comet ISON could put on an unforgettable display as it plunges toward the sun for a fiery encounter likely to turn the "dirty snowball" into a naked-eye object in broad daylight. At the moment, however, it doesn't look like much. John Chumack sends this picture, taken Jan. 8th, from his private observatory in Yellow Springs, Ohio:

"Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) is currently in the constellation Gemini, moving between the heads of the twins Castor and Pollux," says Chumack. "It is still pretty faint, near 16th magnitude, but don't be fooled by that. This could become one of the best comets in many years."

Comet ISON is a sungrazer. On Nov. 28, 2013, it will fly through the sun's outer atmosphere only 1.2 million km from the stellar surface below. If the comet survives the encounter, it could emerge glowing as brightly as the Moon, visible near the sun in the blue daylight sky. The comet's dusty tail stretching into the night would create a worldwide sensation.

Comet ISON looks so puny now because it is so far away, currently near the orbit of Jupiter. As it falls toward the sun in the months ahead it will warm up and reveal more about its true character. By the summer of 2013, researchers should know whether optimistic predictions about Comet ISON are justified. Possibilities range from "Comet of the Century" to disintegrated dud. Stay tuned!

Realtime Comet 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 January 15, 2013 there were 1368 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2013 AF53
Jan 10
7.5 LD
21 m
2013 AB65
Jan 11
1.6 LD
13 m
2013 AB4
Jan 11
6.5 LD
15 m
2013 AP72
Jan 16
1.9 LD
21 m
2013 AT72
Jan 20
9.8 LD
73 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
58 m
2009 AV
Feb 25
59.7 LD
1.0 km
2007 EO88
Mar 18
4.4 LD
23 m
1993 UC
Mar 20
49 LD
3.8 km
1997 AP10
Mar 28
45.9 LD
1.8 km
2010 GM23
Apr 13
3.9 LD
50 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 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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