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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 297.3 km/sec
density: 2.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B3
2142 UT Dec28
24-hr: B3
0222 UT Dec28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 28 Dec 12
None of these sunspots is actively flaring. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 78
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 28 Dec 2012

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2012 total: 0 days (0%)
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Update 28 Dec 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 107 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 28 Dec 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.5 nT
Bz: 1.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 28 Dec 12
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Dec 28 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: 2012 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
15 %
15 %
MINOR
10 %
10 %
SEVERE
05 %
05 %
 
Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
What's up in space
 

They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store.

 
Own your own meteorite

INCOMING SOLAR WIND: A relatively weak stream of solar wind is expected to brush against Earth's magnetic field on Dec. 28-29. NOAA forecasters estimate a 10% chance of polar geomagnetic storms during the next 24 hours. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

SOLAR CYCLE UPDATE: 2013 is only days away, and according to most forecasters, Solar Max should be approaching as well. But is it? Barely-increasing sunspot counts and anemic solar activity suggest an interesting possibility: Perhaps Solar Max is already here. This plot of measured vs. predicted sunspot numbers illustrates the idea:

The blue curve traces monthly sunspot numbers measured since 2000. The red curve is the prediction of the NOAA-led Solar Cycle Prediction Panel. So far, Solar Cycle 24 is underperforming even compared to the panel's low expectations.

There is still a strong chance that Cycle 24 will rebound and peak in 2013 as expected. It might even be a double-peaked cycle like the cycle before it. As 2013 nears only one thing is certain: we don't know what will happen. Stay tuned. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

VAN GOGH CLOUDS: On Christmas morning, Gene Hart of Jonesport, Maine, woke up early to enjoy the sunrise before opening presents. What he saw may have been the best gift of all. "There was a cloud formation showing a remarkable series of wave shapes," says Hart. "They were backlit by the rising sun over Moosabec Reach." He snapped this picture of the harbor using a 14-megapixel digital camera:

"I also took some 28x zoom images of the wave structure," says Hart. The close-ups are a must-see.

These clouds, sometimes called "billow clouds," are produced by the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability when horizontal layers of air brush by one another at different velocities. A better name might be van Gogh clouds: It is widely believed that these waves in the sky inspired the swirls in van Gogh's masterpiece The Starry Night.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

CHRISTMAS COVER-UP: When the sun went down on Christmas, a pair of bright lights rose in the east; Jupiter and the Moon were having a holiday conjunction. In Brazil, the pair were so close, the Moon completely covered Jupiter. Marcelo Domingues of Brasilia snapped this picture seconds before the occultation:

"It was a beautiful event," he says.

"What a perfect Christmas gift this was!" adds Gustavo Rojas of São Carlos. "I managed to capture the giant planet just as he started to disappear behind the lunar disk."

In case you missed it, there will be more lunar occultations of Jupiter in 2013. A complete list is available from the International Occultation Timing Association.

Realtime Jupiter Photo Gallery


Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery


Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]

  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, 2012 there were 1362 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2003 SD220
Dec 23
59.8 LD
1.8 km
1998 WT24
Dec 23
69.2 LD
1.1 km
2012 XM55
Dec 23
3 LD
12 m
2012 YS1
Dec 24
8.1 LD
44 m
2012 XP55
Dec 27
9.2 LD
72 m
1999 HA2
Feb 5
58 LD
1.3 km
3752 Camillo
Feb 12
57.5 LD
3.4 km
1999 YK5
Feb 15
49.1 LD
2.1 km
2012 DA14
Feb 15
0.09 LD
57 m
2009 AV
Feb 25
59.7 LD
1.0 km
2007 EO88
Mar 18
4.4 LD
23 m
1993 UC
Mar 20
49 LD
3.8 km
1997 AP10
Mar 28
45.9 LD
1.8 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
Space Weather Alerts
   
  more links...
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