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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
SPACE WEATHER
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 514.1 km/sec
density: 0.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT May22
24-hr: A0
1515 UT May22
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 22 May 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 22 May 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals one possible, small high-latitude sunspot on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.5 nT
Bz: 0.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 May 22 2203 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
01 %
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: 2008 May 22 2203 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
25 %
25 %
MINOR
10 %
10 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
40 %
40 %
MINOR
20 %
20 %
SEVERE
10 %
10 %
What's up in Space
May 22, 2008
FLYBY ALERT! Space shuttle Discovery launches on May 31st. Get your flyby alerts from Space Weather PHONE  

ISS MARATHON: The 2008 "ISS Marathon" is underway . For the next two days, the International Space Station will be in almost constant sunlight. This means sky watchers in Europe and North America can see the spaceship gliding overhead as many as four times each night. When should you look? Click here.

MAGNETIC RAIN: There's a rainstorm underway on the sun's eastern limb. You'd better bring your asbestos umbrella, though, because the "droplets" are Texas-sized blobs of hot plasma:

"This is prominence finery at its best," says photographer Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK. "Small bright points within the prominence that were seen on the capture screen have been recorded as blurs due to the rapid motion of material in just a few seconds!"

Prominences are clouds of hydrogen held above the surface of the sun by magnetic fields. While this particular cloud appears to be raining like a summer shower on Earth, the true situation is more complicated. Look carefully: Some of the plasma raindrops are falling "up." That's because the motions are controlled by not only gravity but also magnetism, a force of little importance in terrestrial rainstorms. The solar magnetic field is rooted below the sun's visible surface; roiling motions in the body of the sun itself cause magnetic fields high overhead to shift, wriggle, and "rain" in all directions. No wonder prominences are so much fun to watch.

more images: from Greg Piepol of Rockville, Maryland; from Stephen Ames of Hodgenville, KY; from Didier Favre of Brétigny sur Orge, France; from Malcolm Park of London, England, UK; from Les Cowley of England;

PARHELIC CIRCLE: While most ice haloes we see go around the sun, there is one that goes right through it: the parhelic circle. "For a few minutes on the afternoon of May 19th, cloud conditions were right to form both a 22° halo around the sun and a perfectly-defined parhelic circle," reports Alan Dyer who took the photo, below, from Alberta Canada. "This produced a sky filled with two intersecting halos--a rare sight."

"Now is a good time of year to see parhelic circles because they appear high in the sky," notes atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "The altitude of the circle always matches the altitude of the sun, hugging the horizon in winter and rising high overhead in summer. The higher the sun, the smaller is the circle, and it can even shrink smaller than the 22o halo seen crossing it in Dyer's photo. Almost all types of ice crystal carve the parhelic circle, it looks very simple but it is made in more ways than any other halo."

Parhelic circles are pale white like the icy clouds that make them. "Look carefully to distinguish it from white clouds," urges Cowley. "With luck you will see a complete circle."

more images: from Aymen Ibrahem at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt; from Enzo De Bernardini of Martínez, Buenos Aires, Argentina; from Stanislaw Rokita of Torun, Poland; from Marco Candotti of Palmanova, Friuli, Italy;


April 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-sky Cameras]

       
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. [comment]
On May 22, 2008 there were 953 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2008 HG
May 5
17 LD
18
90 m
2008 DE
May 9
17 LD
16
550 m
2008 HD2
May 9
6.5 LD
19
40 m
2008 JL24
May 10
0.4 LD
18
5 m
2008 HR3
May 11
3.1 LD
17
50 m
2008 HW1
May 14
72 LD
17
1.4 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 Links
NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
  The official U.S. government bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
Atmospheric Optics
  The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2008, SpaceWeather.com -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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