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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: 443.1 km/sec
density: 1.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT May25
24-hr: A0
1500 UT May25
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 25 May 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 25 May 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 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: 0.9 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal should reach Earth on May 27th or 28th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 May 25 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 25 2203 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
20 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
May 25, 2008
FLYBY ALERT! Space shuttle Discovery launches on May 31st. Get your flyby alerts from Space Weather PHONE  

MARS LANDING--TODAY! Of all the spacecraft sent to Mars in the 50-year history of the Space Age, about half have crashed, skipped off the atmosphere, failed to enter a proper orbit or missed the planet entirely. The good news is, the other half succeeded. Will NASA's Phoenix lander join rovers Spirit and Opportunity intact on the martian surface? We'll find out later today when mission controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory guide Phoenix to its frosty landing site at Mars latitude 68o N. Confirmation of a successful touchdown could come as early as 4:53 pm PDT: updates.

HOT COMET: On May 23rd, a comet plunged toward the sun, overheated, and disintegrated. A coronagraph onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) saw the whole thing:


Click to view a 2 MB movie

The kamikaze comet was a member of the Kreutz sungrazer family. Named after a 19th century German astronomer who studied them in detail, Kreutz sungrazers are fragments from the breakup of a giant comet at least 2000 years ago. Several of these fragments pass by the sun and disintegrate every day. Most are too small to see, but occasionally a big one catches our attention.

Note: In the movie, the passage of the comet seems to trigger a coronal mass ejection (CME): diagram. This is almost certainly a coincidence. The comet was at least a million kilometers above the surface of the sun at the time and there is no known mechanism for a comet to trigger a magnetic explosion across such a gulf.

SPACE STATION FLYBYS: For North Americans, the ISS Marathon of May 2008 has ended, but it is still underway over Europe. Last night "I went down to a lake to photograph the space station and it was clearly visible in the twilit sky," says P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden. He snapped this picture using a Canon 450D:

To the unaided eye, the ISS appears as a bright but dimensionless point of light. In the eyepiece of a backyard telescope, however, it reveals itself as a bustling 3D spaceship. Here is the view through a 14-inch telescope, photographed on May 23rd by Iliyan Darganov and Borislav Petrov of Varna, Bulgaria.

European flybys will continue for another week. Readers, please try our Simple Satellite Tracker to find out when to look.


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 25, 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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