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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 365.8 km/sec
density: 3.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B7
2231 UT May19
24-hr: C2
0000 UT May19
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 19 May 12
None of the sunspots on the Earthside of the sun is actively flaring. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 118
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 18 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 18 May 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 132 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 18 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: 4.3 nT
Bz: 1.3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 19 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 19 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
15 %
15 %
CLASS X
05 %
05 %
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 19 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
15 %
MINOR
01 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
20 %
MINOR
05 %
15 %
SEVERE
01 %
05 %
 
Saturday, May. 19, 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

2012 TRANSIT OF VENUS: It won't happen again until December 2117: On June 5th, 2012, Venus will transit the face of the sun. The best places to watch are in the mid-Pacific, but travel is not required. The event is widely visible around the world, including at sunset from the USA. [full story] [video]

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:


Image credits (left to right): Hans Coeckelberghs, Fred Espenak, Dennis Mammana

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.

Solar eclipse resources:

VENUS TRANSFORMED: Something special is happening to Venus in the evening sky. The second planet is diving toward the sun for a much-anticipated transit on June 5-6. As Venus turns its night side toward Earth, the planet is transforming into a beautifully slender and colorful crescent:

John Chumack of Dayton, Ohio, took the picture on May 14th using a 10-inch telescope. "I was blown away by the sight of Venus," he says. "The planet was 14% illuminated, 47 arcseconds in diameter, and blazing at -4.43 magnitude."

The crescent shape of Venus is easy to see in good binoculars or small telescopes. No special observing experience is required. Just find Venus in the western sky after sunset (you can't miss it), point and look. A good tripod to hold the optics steady is recommended.

As the evening wears on and Venus sinks toward the horizon, the refractive effect of Earth's atmosphere splits the crescent into the colors of the rainbow. Kevin R. Witman of Cochranville, Pennsylvania, observed the phenomenon on May 11th: "Earth's atmospheric refraction of Venus's ample light made a beautiful image through my 10-inch telescope."

more images: from Mark Marquette of Boones Creek, Tennessee; from Philippe Vanden Doorn of Rixensart, Belgium; from Luis Argerich of Buenos Aires, Argentina; from Tomasz Gołombek of Tczew, Poland; from Francesc Pruneda of Palamós, Catalonia (Spain); from Sadegh Ghomizadeh of Tehran, Iran;

  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 19, 2012 there were 1293 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
--
9 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
--
70 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
37655 Illapa
Aug 12
37 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
Trade Show Displays
   
  more links...
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