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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 374.0 km/sec
density: 10.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A7
1707 UT Dec28
24-hr: A9
0012 UT Dec28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 28 Dec 10
New sunspot 1138 is growing rapidly, but does not yet pose a threat for strong flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 14
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 Dec 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 819 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 27 Dec 2010


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 80 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 27 Dec 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 5
storm
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.4 nT
Bz: 1.2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 28 Dec 10
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Jan. 1st or 2nd--the first solar wind stream of the New Year. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Dec 28 2200 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: 2010 Dec 28 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010
What's up in space
 

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

 
Metallic pictures of the Sun

GEOMAGNETIC STORM: High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. During the early hours of Dec. 28th, the sun's magnetic field near Earth tipped south, opening a crack in Earth's magnetosphere. Solar wind poured and sparked a G1-class (Kp=5) geomagnetic storm. Observers are reporting ground currents and intensifying Northern Lights in Scandinavia.

GIANT STORM ON SATURN: Got a telescope for Christmas? Point it at Saturn. A giant storm even brighter than Saturn's rings is raging through the planet's cloudtops. "I've never seen anything like this," says veteran planetary photographer Anthony Wesley. "It's possible that this is the biggest storm on Saturn in many decades." Here it is recorded by Wesley's 16-inch telescope on Dec. 22nd:

Instruments on NASA's Cassini spacecraft are picking up strong bursts of radio static. Apparently, lightning is being generated in multiple cells across the storm front. Cassini's cameras are also beaming back fantastic images of the tempest.

"At it's current size and brightness, the storm should be visible to anyone with a mid-size scope under steady seeing," continues Wesley. "This is a great time to be a planetary photographer." [Sky maps: Dec. 29, 30, 31]

more images: from Fredy Willems of Waipahu, Hawaii; from Glenn Jolly of Gilbert, Arizona; from Christopher Go of Cebu City, Philippines; from Sadegh Ghomizadeh of Tehran, Iran; from Vincent Lao of Pasig City, Philippines

SUN IN A BEER CAN: Last July, Jan Koeman of Middelburg, the Netherlands, poked a tiny hole in an empty beer can, inserted a piece of photographic paper, and pointed the pinhole toward the sun. Six months later (Dec. 23, 2010) he extracted the paper and beheld the result:

"This is called solargraphy," explains Koeman. "Every day the sun makes a track across the photographic paper--high in the summer and low in the winter. Daily tracks are interrupted by clouds and, occasionally, absent altogether because of rainy days." It's a low-tech but beautiful way to record the seasons; browse the links below for more examples.

more solargraphy: from Becky Ramotowski of Tijeras, New Mexico; from Rijk-Jan Koppejan of Middelburg, The Netherlands;


Lunar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[NASA: "Solstice Lunar Eclipse"] [astronomy alerts]


November 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Novembers: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000]

  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 December 28, 2010 there were 1167 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2010 TQ19
Oct 8
9.6 LD
18
37 m
2010 TS19
Oct 10
3.7 LD
18
31 m
2010 TD54
Oct 12
0.1 LD
14
7 m
2010 TB54
Oct 13
6.1 LD
20
19 m
1999 VO6
Oct 14
34.3 LD
16
1.8 km
2010 TK
Oct 16
4.5 LD
18
37 m
1998 TU3
Oct 17
69.1 LD
13
5.2 km
2010 TG19
Oct 22
1.1 LD
15
70 m
1998 MQ
Oct 23
77.7 LD
15
1.9 km
2007 RU17
Oct 29
39.2 LD
15
1.1 km
2003 UV11
Oct 30
5 LD
12
595 m
3838 Epona
Nov 7
76.8 LD
14
3.4 km
2005 QY151
Nov 16
77.7 LD
17
1.3 km
2008 KT
Nov 23
5.6 LD
21
10 m
2002 EZ16
Nov 30
73.9 LD
16
1.0 km
2000 JH5
Dec 7
47 LD
-
1.5 km
2010 JL33
Dec 9
16.6 LD
13
1.3 km
2008 EA32
Jan 7
76.5 LD
-
2.1 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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