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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 396.5 km/sec
density: 4.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B7
1737 UT Jan20
24-hr: C1
1432 UT Jan20
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 20 Jan 13
Departing sunspot AR1654 no longer poses a threat for Earth-directed solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 46
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 20 Jan 2013

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2013 total: 0 days (0%)
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
20 Jan 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 107 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 20 Jan 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.8 nT
Bz: 1.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 20 Jan 13
Solar wind flowing from this southern coronal hole should read Earth approximately six days from now. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Jan 20 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
05 %
01 %
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: 2013 Jan 20 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
15 %
15 %
SEVERE
15 %
15 %
 
Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013
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

JUPITER-MOON CONJUNCTION: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look east. The Moon and Jupiter are converging for a tight conjunction on Monday evening, Jan. 21st. Most sky watchers will see the two bright bodies just a fraction of a degree apart. Observers in parts of South America will witness an even closer encounter--an occultation, in which the Moon passes directly in front of Jupiter. Sky maps: Jan. 20, 21.

CME IMPACT + MICROBIAL LIGHTS: A coronal mass ejection hit Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 19th at approximately 17:15 UT. The weak impact did not trigger a full-fledged geomagnetic storm, but it did illuminate the Arctic Circle with auroras. Frank Olsen photographed the display from a beach in Sortland, Norway; scroll past his picture to learn about the glittering lights in the sand:

The lights in the sand are bioluminescent dinoflagellates, a type of naturally glowing microbe. "To my surprise, I found these guys floating around on the beach tonight," says Olsen. "They looked great together with the auroras in the sky."

There is an interesting link between the auroras and the dinoflagellates. Both use oxygen to create their glow. In the case of the marine organism, a chemical pigment (luciferin) reacts with oxygen to create light. Meanwhile up in the sky, charged particles from the solar wind rain down on the atmosphere, colliding with oxygen molecules to create the telltale green hue of auroras.

More lights are possible tonight. NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of polar geomagnetic storms as Earth passes through the wake of the CME. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

COMET OF THE CENTURY? Later this year, Comet ISON could become bright enough to see in broad daylight when it passes through the atmosphere of the sun. At the moment, however, it is a cold and lonely speck barely visible through backyard telescopes. On Jan. 16th, Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK, photographed the potentially-great comet moving through space near the orbit of Jupiter:

"I created the animation using images taken through a 4-inch refractor, starting at 23h on the 15th of January and ending at 01h on the 16th," says Lawrence. "The comet is clearly visible moving among the stars of Gemini, in an area just to the south of Castor."

Comet ISON looks so puny now because it is more than 600 million km away. In late 2013, however, it will be much closer. A key date is Nov. 28th when Comet ISON flies through the solar corona only 1.2 million km from the surface of the sun. If the comet survives the encounter--a big IF--it could emerge glowing as brightly as the Moon with a sensational tail sure to create a worldwide sensation. Stay tuned!

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery


Realtime Space Weather 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 January 20, 2013 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2013 BM18
Jan 14
2.3 LD
17 m
2013 AP72
Jan 16
1.9 LD
20 m
2013 BQ18
Jan 18
8.8 LD
38 m
2013 AT72
Jan 20
9.9 LD
64 m
2013 BT15
Jan 20
4.6 LD
15 m
1999 HA2
Feb 5
58 LD
1.3 km
3752 Camillo
Feb 12
57.5 LD
3.4 km
1999 YK5
Feb 15
49.1 LD
2.1 km
2012 DA14
Feb 15
0.09 LD
58 m
2009 AV
Feb 25
59.7 LD
1.0 km
2007 EO88
Mar 18
4.4 LD
23 m
1993 UC
Mar 20
49 LD
3.8 km
1997 AP10
Mar 28
45.9 LD
1.8 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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