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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 372.3 km/sec
density: 2.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B2
2226 UT Jan22
24-hr: C2
0828 UT Jan22
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 22 Jan 11
New sunspot 1149 poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 42
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 21 Jan 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 1 day (5%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 21 Jan 2011


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 88 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 21 Jan 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.4 nT
Bz: 0.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 22 Jan 10
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Jan 22 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: 2011 Jan 22 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011
What's up in space
 

Turn your cell phone into a field-tested satellite tracker. Works for Android and iPhone.

 
Satellite flybys

SOLAR SAIL SIGHTINGS: It has been confirmed: NASA's NanoSail-D spacecraft successfully unfurled its solar sail on Jan. 20th. Ground-based satellite tracking assets (a.k.a. military radars) detected a significant increase in area at the nominal time of deployment. Veteran satellite watchers have failed, however, to spot the sail visually during predicted passes. That could be because the sail's orbit is not yet precisely known. The situation will likely improve in the nights ahead. You can join the search using Spaceweather.com's satellite tracking app as a guide.

SUNSPOT ACTIVITY: New sunspot 1149, circled below, is crackling with C-class solar flares. This spot didn't exist barely a day ago, but now it is a growing sprawl more than 100,000 km across. Click on the image to view an 8MB movie from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:

The magnetic field of sunspot 1149 is jumbled, with positive (+) polarity pressing against negative (-) polarity in many places. This could set the stage for magnetic reconnection and solar flares; NOAA forecasters estimate a 10% chance of strong M-class eruptions during the next 24 hours. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor the region for explosive developments.

more images: from John Stetson of South Portland, Maine; from Howard Eskildsen of Ocala, Florida; from Frank Ryan Jr of Shannon, Ireland; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from Gianfranco Meregalli of Milano Italy; from Ron Cottrell of Kitt Peak National Observatory; from Pavol Rapavy of Observatory Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia;

OMEGA SUNSET: "Last night's sunset was an amazing sight," reports Pete Lawrence from West Beach in Selsey, UK. "As the sun approached the horizon, the lower half of the solar disk extended downwards to touch an image of itself rising out of the waves." He took this picture of the phenomenon:

Jules Verne famously likened this kind of sunset to an Etruscan Vase. Others call it an "Omega sunset" because it resembles the Greek letter. Either way, it is caused by warm air overlying the sea surface, which refracts the rays of the setting sun to produce a mirage, as shown.

This is a good weekend to watch the sunset. Not only are mirages a possibility, but also you might observe a sunspot in the twilight. On Jan. 22nd, Martin McKenna witnessed this sunspot sunset from Maghera, Northern Ireland.


January 2011 Aurora Photo Gallery
[previous Januaries: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004]


Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[NASA: Hinode Observes Annular Solar Eclipse]

  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 22, 2011 there were 1184 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2011 AH5
Jan 13
3.3 LD
26
28 m
2011 AY22
Jan 14
4.1 LD
27.1
17 m
2011 AN52
Jan 17
0.8 LD
28.5
9 m
2011 AB37
Jan 19
9.5 LD
25.9
29 m
2011 AL37
Jan 26
2.2 LD
24.1
67 m
2003 YG118
Feb 20
67.7 LD
17
1.8 km
2000 PN9
Mar 10
45.5 LD
16.1
2.6 km
2002 DB4
Apr 15
62.5 LD
16.4
2.2 km
2008 UC202
Apr 27
8.9 LD
28.2
10 m
2009 UK20
May 2
8.6 LD
26.4
23 m
2008 FU6
May 5
75.5 LD
17.9
1.2 km
2003 YT1
May 5
65.3 LD
16.1
2.5 km
2002 JC
Jun 1
57.5 LD
17
1.6 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
Science Central
   
  more links...
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