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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 287.9 km/sec
density: 0.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT May01
24-hr: B1
0855 UT May01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 01 May 09
Tiny, old-cycle sunspot 1016 is disappearing over the sun's western limb.. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 12
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 30 Apr 2009

NEW: Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2009 total: 104 days (88%)
Since 2004: 615 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 30 Apr 2009

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= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.9 nT
Bz: 0.3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2145 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about May 6th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 May 01 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
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: 2009 May 01 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
May 1, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you sleep through the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.


SPACE WEATHER ON MERCURY: Is it any surprise? The planet closest to the sun is experiencing space weather events at a rate 10 times greater than anything we ever see on Earth. This is just one of several new findings about Mercury announced in today's issue of Science magazine. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

DEPARTING SUNSPOT: Sunspot 1016 is rotating over the sun's western horizon today. It's going--"but not quietly," reports Pete Lawrence of Selsey UK. "The old-cycle active region is putting on quite a show." Here is the view through his SolarScope SF-70:

"It is a seething fury of plasma," he says. "My images captured a lovely, almost flower-like prominence ejected from the region."

Readers, if you have a solar telescope, train it on the sun's western limb. Sunspot 1016 will be rounding the bend for the next 24 hours or so. Parting shots are welcomed.

more images: from Didier Favre of Br├ętigny sur Orge, France; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from Matthias Juergens of Gnevsdorf, Germany;

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Our planet is spinning, and here is the proof:

Chris Kotsiopoulos took the picture on April 26th. He placed his camera (a Canon Rebel XTi) motionless on a tripod in front of St. John's church in Sounio, Greece, and opened the shutter for almost three hours. The slow spinning of the planet beneath his feet caused the stars above to trail in graceful arcs around the north star, Polaris.

"Note the meteor to the right of Polaris," says Kotsiopoulos. During the long exposure, a speck of space dust collided with Earth's atmosphere and disintegrated in a straight line across the arcs. The meteoroid was moving so quickly (~100,000 mph), it didn't have time to curve before it faded away. Turns out that stars trail, but shooting stars do not...

April 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Aprils: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002]

Explore the Sunspot Cycle

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 May 1, 2009 there were 1053 potentially hazardous asteroids.
April 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 FU30
Apr. 2
8.8 LD
44 m
2004 VC
Apr. 3
51.3 LD
785 m
2002 EB3
Apr. 10
41.3 LD
1.3 km
2003 SG170
Apr. 19
57.7 LD
1.2 km
2009 HF21
Apr. 21
7.4 LD
27 m
2009 HJ21
Apr. 23
1.3 LD
14 m
2009 FJ30
Apr. 24
9.7 LD
130 m
2001 VG5
Apr. 26
58.5 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 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 and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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