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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
SPACE WEATHER
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 280.7 km/sec
density: 1.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B2
2320 UT Dec15
24-hr: B2
2320 UT Dec15
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 15 Dec. 09
New sunspot 1035 is growing rapidly. It is a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 28
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 14 Dec 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2009 total: 259 days (75%)
Since 2004: 770 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 14 Dec 2009

Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 0
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.9 nT
Bz: 5.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Dec 15 2201 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: 2009 Dec 15 2201 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
December 15, 2009

ASTRONOMY ALERTS: Looking for a unique and affordable gift? Give the heavens for Christmas at Spaceweather PHONE.

 

BIG NEW SUNSPOT: New sunspot 1035 is growing rapidly and it is now seven times wider than Earth itself: movie. The magnetic polarity of the spot identifies it as a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Readers with solar telescopes, train your optics on the sun to witness sunspot genesis in action.

sunspot photos: from Rogerio Marcon of Campinas, Brazil; from Etienne Lecoq of Normandy, France; from G.Harmon et al of South Portland, Maine; from John C McConnell of Maghaberry Northern Ireland

GEMINID METEOR UPDATE: On Dec. 13th, Earth passed through a stream of debris from extinct comet 3200 Phaethon. The encounter produced a surge of more than 160 Geminid meteors per hour. The timing of the peak favored observers in Europe and the Middle East, many of whom said it was the finest display of Geminids they had ever seen.

Optimistic forecasts of this year's Geminids called for 140 meteors per hour. The actual display exceeded expectations by some 20 percent. This strong showing continues a recent trend of intensifying Geminids that could lead to a regular "super-shower" in the years ahead. Reasons for the trend are discussed in a recent Science@NASA article. Check it out, but first browse the gallery:

2009 Geminid Meteor Gallery
[sky map] [meteor radar] [Geminid counts]

FALSE AURORAS: "On Sunday night, we drove to the country to watch the Geminids, and we saw a lot of them," reports M-P Markkanen of Kuusamo, Finland. "They were all over the sky, sometimes with multiple fireballs within just a few seconds."

"When I got back home I was treated to another kind of light show," he says. He photographed the display using a Nikon D80:

It was an apparition of light pillars, a.k.a. "false auroras," caused by urban lights reflected from ice crystals in the air. "They danced in the icy sky like auroras as a few Geminids flew past in the background. All in all, it was a lovely spaceweather day!"

December Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Decembers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2001, 2000]


Explore the Sunspot Cycle

       
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 15, 2009 there were 1089 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Dec. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2009 WV25
Dec. 1
2.9 LD
16
65 m
2009 WA52
Dec. 5
8.2 LD
20
23 m
2002 WP
Dec. 6
71.2 LD
16
950 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 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 and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
STEREO
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
   
  more links...
   
©2008, SpaceWeather.com -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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