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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: 493.3 km/sec
density: 1.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT May23
24-hr: A0
1135 UT May23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 23 May 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 23 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: 6.2 nT
Bz: 3.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 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 23 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 23 2203 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
20 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
30 %
30 %
MINOR
10 %
10 %
SEVERE
05 %
05 %
What's up in Space
May 23, 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 24 hours, more or less, 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 in a single night. When should you look? Click here.

sightings: from Amir Hossein Abolfath of Vana, Mazandaran, Iran; from Jayme Hanzak of Cedar Grove, North Carolina; from Phillip Chee of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

MARS IN THE HIVE: "Mars has entered the realm of Beehive star cluster," reports Babak Tafreshi from the Alborz Mountains of Iran. "The conjunction is a beautiful scene even with smallest binoculars and modest telescopes."

The photo above shows Tafreshi enjoying the show from Iran; inset is a close-up of Mars and stars taken by Ugur İkizler of Bursa, Turkey. To record the scene, he used optics no more powerful than a digital camera (a Canon Rebel XT) set at ISO 800 for 8x30 seconds.

"Mars crosses the heart of the cluster on Friday, May 23rd," adds Tafreshi. To find them, look west after sunset for the Red Planet glowing like a 1st magnitude star in the constellation Cancer: sky map. Scan the area with binoculars and voila!--Mars in the Hive.

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


UPDATED: May 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 23, 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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