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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 343.3 km/sec
density: 0.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B2
2034 UT Feb15
24-hr: B4
0745 UT Feb15
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 15 Feb 12
With no sunspots actively flaring, the sun's x-ray output has flatlined. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 64
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 14 Feb 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 14 Feb 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 107 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 14 Feb 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 5
storm
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.7 nT
Bz: 1.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 15 Feb 12
Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole could reach Earth on Feb. 17-18. However, the solar wind stream is likely to sail south of our planet, making little impact. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Feb 15 2200 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: 2012 Feb 15 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
40 %
10 %
MINOR
10 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
50 %
10 %
MINOR
30 %
01 %
SEVERE
10 %
01 %
 
Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012
What's up in space
 

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SUBSIDING STORM: A geomagnetic storm (Kp=5) that began during the early hours of Feb. 15th when the IMF tipped south is subsiding. Nevertheless, solar wind conditions remain favorable for high-latitude auroras. During the storm, Northern Lights descended as far south as Minnesota in the United States. Solar storm alerts: text, voice.

SWEET LIGHTS: For reasons not fully understood by forecasters, a disturbance rippled through Earth's magnetic field on Feb. 14th. Perhaps it was Cupid's arrow. The impact sparked some sweet lights around the Arctic Circle:

"On several occasions the sky was full of auroras from horizon to horizon," says photographer and aurora tour guide Chad Blakley of Abisko National Park, Sweden. "We had many happy couples celebrating with us tonight. Most of our guests agreed that it was the best Valentine's day that they had ever shared together."

There has been some speculation that the display was caused by a CME, launched from the sun on Feb. 10th and reaching Earth on Feb. 14th. However, there is no clear signature of a CME impact in local solar wind data.

Update: Geomagnetic activity intensified even more on Feb. 15th when the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) near Earth tilted south, opening a crack in Earth's magnetic field. Solar wind poured in and fueled a G1-class geomagnetic storm, now subsiding.

more images: from Matt Melnyk flying 25,000 feet over Alberta, Canada; from Claus Vogel of Pelly Crossing, Yukon; from Roger Schneider of Tromso, Norway; from Tim of Trysil, Norway; from Beate Kiil Karlsen of Norway; from Ashton Seth Reimer of Kjell Henriksen Observatory in Svalbard, Norway; from Mike Criss near Coldfoot, Alaska

EVENING SKY SHOW: As February reaches its mid-point, the evening sky is full of lights: Venus, Jupiter, and lately the International Space Station as well. Xiang Zhan sends this report from Beijing, China: "On Feb 14th, my wife and I spent a romantic Valentine's Day. We embraced each other under the starry night, and watched the ISS glide between the two bright planets." (continued below)

"The space station was very bright, almost like Venus," he adds. "The Chinese characters on the top left mean ISS in Valentine's Day."

Sky watchers around the world are enjoying nightly conjunctions of the ISS, Venus, and Jupiter. Some of these encounters are very close indeed. Check SpaceWeather's Simple Satellite Tracker and Flybys App for local flyby times.

more images: from Josep Julia G. of Gandia, Spain; from Bob S Matzen of Blair, Nebraska; from Luis Argerich of Mercedes, Buenos Aires, Argentina; from Mike McCabe of Bridgewater, Massachusetts


January 2012 Aurora Gallery
[previous Januaries: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004]


Comet Lovejoy Gallery
[previous comets: McNaught, Holmes, Lulin, Tuttle, Ikeya-Zhang]

  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 February 15, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2009 AV
Feb 16
44.9 LD
--
1.2 km
2000 ET70
Feb 19
17.7 LD
--
1.0 km
2011 CP4
Feb 23
9.1 LD
--
255 m
2008 EJ85
Mar 6
9.1 LD
--
44 m
1999 RD32
Mar 14
57.9 LD
--
2.4 km
2011 YU62
Mar 16
73.4 LD
--
1.3 km
1996 SK
Apr 18
67.2 LD
--
1.6 km
2007 HV4
Apr 19
4.8 LD
--
8 m
2011 WV134
Apr 28
38.6 LD
--
1.8 km
1992 JD
May 2
9.5 LD
--
43 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.
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