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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 426.5 km/sec
density: 3.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1959 UT May17
24-hr: M5
0147 UT May17
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 17 May 12
A new sunspot is emerging at the circled location. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 122
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 17 May 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 17 May 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 131 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 17 May 2012

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: 12.7 nT
Bz: 0.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 17 May 12
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 May 17 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
20 %
10 %
CLASS X
05 %
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 May 17 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
35 %
30 %
MINOR
25 %
15 %
SEVERE
10 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
35 %
35 %
MINOR
40 %
25 %
SEVERE
15 %
10 %
 
Thursday, May. 17, 2012
What's up in space
 

Listen to radar echoes from satellites and meteors, live on listener-supported Space Weather Radio.

 
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4700 DANGEROUS SPACE ROCKS: NASA has just released a new count of asteroids that come close to the orbit of Earth and could survive entry through our planet's atmosphere. Using an infrared space telescope to track even the darkest space rocks, researchers say there are 4700 +/- 1500 potentially hazardous asteroids. [full story]

RADIATION STORM: A radiation storm around Earth is subsiding. The storm began during the early hours of May 17th when a strong M5-class flre accelerated a fusillade of solar protons in our direction. At its peak, the S2-class storm was capable of confusing spacecraft imaging systems and causing 'single event upsets' in orbiting electronics. Radiation storm alerts: text, phone.

The explosion that caused the radiation storm also hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) into space. SOHO recorded the cloud racing away from the sun faster than 1500 km/s:

The speckles in the movie are caused by energetic protons hitting the observatory's detector. This kind of "snow" is a sign that a radiation storm is underway.

This CME is not heading for Earth. It will, however, deliver a glancing blow to Mercury. According to a forecast track prepared by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the cloud will reach the innermost planet on May 17th at 15:09 UT (+/- 7 hr).

SOLAR ECLIPSE THIS WEEKEND: On Sunday, May 20th, the Moon will pass in front of the Sun, producing an annular solar eclipse visible across the Pacific side of Earth. The path of annularity, where the sun will appear to be a "ring of fire," stretches from China and Japan to the middle of North America:

An animated eclipse map prepared by Larry Koehn of ShadowandSubstance.com shows the best times to look. In the United States, the eclipse begins at 5:30 pm PDT and lasts for two hours. Around 6:30 pm PDT, the afternoon sun will become a luminous ring in places such as Medford, Oregon; Chico, California; Reno, Nevada; St. George, Utah; Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Lubbock, Texas. Outside the narrow center line, the eclipse will be partial. Observers almost everywhere west of the Mississippi will see a crescent-shaped sun as the Moon passes by off-center.

Because this is not a total eclipse, some portion of the sun will always be exposed. To prevent eye damage, use eclipse glasses, a safely-filtered telescope, or a solar projector to observe the eclipse. You can make a handy solar projector by criss-crossing your fingers waffle-style. Rays of light beaming through the gaps will have the same shape as the eclipsed sun. Or look on the ground beneath leafy trees for crescent-shaped sunbeams and rings of light. [full story] [video]

  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 17, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2012 JU
May 13
0.5 LD
--
10 m
2012 KA
May 17
0.6 LD
--
8 m
2010 KK37
May 19
2.3 LD
--
31 m
4183 Cuno
May 20
47.4 LD
--
5.7 km
2012 KW
May 21
3.4 LD
--
21 m
2012 JV11
May 22
6.7 LD
--
67 m
2002 VX94
May 26
72.8 LD
--
1.1 km
2002 AC
Jun 16
62.2 LD
--
1.2 km
1999 BJ8
Jun 16
68.8 LD
--
1.1 km
2005 GO21
Jun 21
17.1 LD
--
2.2 km
2003 KU2
Jul 15
40.3 LD
--
1.3 km
2004 EW9
Jul 16
46.8 LD
--
2.1 km
2002 AM31
Jul 22
13.7 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
Trade Show Displays
   
  more links...
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