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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 467.1 km/sec
density: 0.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1912 UT Oct17
24-hr: C7
0802 UT Oct17
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2259 UT
Daily Sun: 17 Oct 12
Sunspot 1589 is decaying and no longer poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 107
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 17 Oct 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

Update 17 Oct 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 137 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 17 Oct 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.6 nT
Bz: 0.5 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 16 Oct 12
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Oct 17 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
10 %
10 %
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 Oct 17 2200 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
15 %
15 %
MINOR
15 %
15 %
SEVERE
05 %
10 %
 
Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012
What's up in space
 

Thirty-five new items have just been added to our Meteorite Jewelry collection. Browse the Space Weather Store for something out of this world.

 
Meteorite jewelry

ORIONID METEOR SHOWER: Next weekend, Earth will pass through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet, source of the annual Orionid meteor shower. Forecasters expect ~25 meteors per hour when the shower peaks on Oct. 21st. [video] [full story] [NASA Chat]

AURORAS FROM ORBIT: Orbiting high above Earth, low-light cameras onboard the US military's fleet of DMSP satellites have captured some magnificant auroras lately. On Oct. 12th, a band of lights cutting across the Hudson Bay in Canada were nearly as bright as the city lights on the continent below:

"This image came from DMSP's F18 satellite," says Paul McCrone who processed the data at the US Navy's Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center in Monterey, CA. "It shows auroras, some wispy clouds, and the brightly-lit urban areas of the northeastern United States."

One can only imagine what sky watchers would have seen if this bright band had descended over the populated regions of the United States. We won't find out this week. NOAA forecasters say the chances of a geomagnetic storm at mid-latitudes during the next three days is no more than 1%. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

SUN HALOS: As the northern hemisphere heads deeper into autumn, and ultimately winter, icy clouds become more commonplace. In other words, 'tis the season for sun halos. Charles Yeager photographed this specimen over Cleveland, Minnesota on Oct. 15th:

"This halo looked extremely large over the farm land of southern Minnesota," says Yeager.

In fact, it was 22 degrees in radius. That's how much hexagonal ice crystals in cirrus clouds bend the light of the sun overhead. Related crystals can also create sun pillars, sundogs, and a variety of other luminous halos. Look around the sun; you never know what you might see.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

RADIO STORM ON JUPITER: On Oct. 12th, there was a storm on Jupiter--a radio storm. Amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft recorded the event using a shortwave radio telescope located in New Mexico. Click on the dynamic spectrum (a plot of intensity vs. frequency vs. time) to hear the whooshing, crackling, popping sounds that emerged from his telescope's loudspeaker:


Dynamic spectrum courtesy of Wes Greenman, Radio Alachua Observatory

"Listen to the recording in stereo," advises Ashcraft. "I recorded the audio from two separate radios at 21.1 MHz and 20.9 MHz, so there is a stereo spatial effect from the frequency drift of the emissions."

Jupiter's radio storms are caused by natural radio lasers in the planet's magnetosphere that sweep past Earth as Jupiter rotates. Electrical currents flowing between Jupiter's upper atmosphere and the volcanic moon Io can boost these emissions to power levels easily detected by ham radio antennas on Earth. Jovian "S-bursts" and "L-bursts" mimic the sounds of woodpeckers, whales, and waves crashing on the beach. Here are a few audio samples: S-bursts, S-bursts (slowed down 128:1), L-Bursts

Now is a good time to listen to Jupiter's radio storms. The distance between Earth and Jupiter is decreasing as the giant planet approaches opposition on Dec. 3rd; the closer we come to Jupiter, the louder it gets. NASA's Radio Jove Project explains how to build your own receiver.


Realtime Aurora 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 October 17, 2012 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2012 TQ146
Oct 16
3 LD
--
23 m
2012 UF
Oct 17
6.6 LD
--
23 m
2012 TE79
Oct 17
5.7 LD
--
20 m
1998 ST49
Oct 18
28.7 LD
--
1.3 km
2012 TD79
Oct 18
7.2 LD
--
56 m
2012 UE
Oct 19
2 LD
--
9 m
2012 TP231
Oct 22
5.8 LD
--
46 m
1991 VE
Oct 26
34 LD
--
1.1 km
2001 CV26
Oct 30
68 LD
--
2.4 km
2007 PA8
Nov 5
16.8 LD
--
2.4 km
2010 JK1
Nov 25
9.3 LD
--
56 m
2009 LS
Nov 28
55.2 LD
--
1.1 km
2009 BS5
Dec 11
8.4 LD
--
15 m
4179 Toutatis
Dec 12
18 LD
--
2.7 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
Space Weather Alerts
   
  more links...
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