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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 596.0 km/sec
density: 0.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B3
2219 UT May16
24-hr: B5
1040 UT May16
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 16 May 11
After decaying for days, sunspots 1208 and 1214 are growing again. Meanwhile, a new sunspot is emerging at the circled location. Increased solar activity might be in the offing. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 54
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 15 May 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 1 day (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 15 May 2011


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 95 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 15 May 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
unsettled
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.7 nT
Bz: 3.9 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 16 May 11
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 May 16 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: 2011 May 16 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
05 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
10 %
MINOR
05 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Monday, May. 16, 2011
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

ENDEAVOUR HAS LEFT THE PLANET: The space shuttle lifted off this morning at 8:56 am EDT on a two week mission to the International Space Station. There it will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer--a $1.5 billion cosmic ray detector that could reveal the nature of dark matter and find whole galaxies made of antimatter. This is Endeavour's final flight as the shuttle program winds down. During the mission, Endeavour will make numerous passes over North America, Australia, and other places. Would you like to see it one last time? Turn your cell phone into a field-tested shuttle tracker.

MOON HALO ALERT: According to folklore, tonight's waxing full Moon is the "Flower Moon." It gets its name from northern spring flowers, which bloom in abundance during the month of May. Watch the Moon rise in the east at sunset and you might notice something else in bloom--an icy moon halo. Peter Rosén sends this example from Stockholm, Sweden:

"The sky was very dramatic when this halo appeared on May 14th," says Rosén. He was so inspired that he took ten pictures and stitched them together into a beautiful panorama.

Moon haloes appear when moonlight shines through cirrus clouds filled with ice crystals even more abundant than spring flowers. The brighter the Moon, the brighter the halo, so any haloes around tonight's full Moon could be impressive indeed. Be alert!

MAMMATUS OVER MINNESOTA: On May 10th, a severe storm captured national attention when it dumped golf-ball-sized hail on a Minnesota Twins baseball game. "I missed the hail," reports John Rogers of New Hope, Minnesota, "but I got a nice view of the clouds that formed after the storm passed." He snapped this picture in waning twilight at 8:30 pm local time:

These are mammatus clouds. Named for their resemblance to a cow's underbelly, they sometimes appear at the end of severe thunderstorms when the thundercloud is breaking up. Researchers have called them an "intriguing enigma," because no one knows exactly how and why they form. The clouds are fairly common but often go unnoticed because potential observers have been chased indoors by the rain. If you are one of them, dash outside when the downpour stops; you could witness a beautiful mystery in the sky.

more images: from John A. Ey III of Tucson, Arizona; from Karla Dorman of Burleson, Texas;

NEW SATELLITE TRACKING TOOL: Have you ever wondered, what's orbiting over your head right now? A new satellite-tracking tool called WhatSat can answer that question for you. It's an app for Android phones that tells you what's overhead, helps you find satellites in the night sky, and "tags" satellites you've seen. Many satellite-tracking tools are available, but none is quite like this; view the demo video to learn what makes WhatSat unique.


April 2011 Aurora Gallery
[previous Aprils: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002]

  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 May 16, 2011 there were 1224 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2011 HC24
May 12
5.9 LD
--
58 m
2002 JC
Jun 1
57.5 LD
--
1.6 km
2009 BD
Jun 2
0.9 LD
--
10 m
2002 JB9
Jun 11
71.5 LD
--
3.2 km
2001 VH75
Jun 12
42.2 LD
--
1.1 km
2004 LO2
Jun 15
9.9 LD
--
48 m
2011 GA55
Jul 6
64.1 LD
--
1.0 km
2011 EZ78
Jul 10
37.3 LD
--
1.6 km
2003 YS117
Jul 14
73.9 LD
--
1.0 km
2007 DD
Jul 23
9.3 LD
--
31 m
2009 AV
Aug 22
49.7 LD
--
1.1 km
2003 QC10
Sep 18
50 LD
--
1.2 km
2004 SV55
Sep 19
67.5 LD
--
1.2 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
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