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CHANCE OF FLARES: Sunspot AR1640 has developed a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. At the moment, however, the sunspot is mostly quiet, producing only a smattering of low-level C-class eruptions. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.
TWO METEOR SHOWERS IN PROGRESS: The annual Quadrantid meteor shower, caused by debris from shattered comet 2003 EH1, peaked on Jan. 3rd and should be finished--but maybe not. "The Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar (CMOR) is still seeing strong Quadrantid activity," reports Prof. Peter Brown of the University of Western Ontario. "The overnight results have just been processed, and here is a skychart plot showing radiant activity as it appeared around 5 am EST on the morning of Jan. 4th."
"Notice also the relatively strong shower coming right out of the head of Leo," points out Brown. "This is the fast (54 km/s) January Leonids (JLE), first detected a few years ago by CMOR, but usually overlooked as it peaks the same day as the Quadrantids."
"The January Leonid shower is unusual in that it is quite strong (10 meteors per hour) and has an orbit which gets very close to the Sun (perihelion about 0.05 AU). In fact, it has the smallest perihelion of any major shower detected by CMOR. It also has a nearly unbound orbit and is almost certainly associated with an as yet unidentified sungrazing comet. Very little is known about the stream - optical observations would be most helpful, particularly to define the orbit at larger meteoroid sizes. The shower remains active as seen by CMOR until Jan 7."
Realtime Meteor Photo Gallery
QUIET, NOT DEAD: Solar activity is low, but not utterly absent. On Dec. 31st, magnetic fields winding around the sun's northeastern limb un-twisted explosively. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the action:
The movie spans four hours with a rapid-fire cadence of only 30 seconds. It hows a mass of hot plasma flying upward. Unable to break the bonds of the sun's gravity, however, most of the material fell back to the stellar surface.
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]
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 January 4, 2013 there were potentially hazardous asteroids. 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.
| ||The official U.S. government space weather bureau |
| ||The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena. |
| ||Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever. |
| ||3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory |
| ||Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO. |
| ||from the NOAA Space Environment Center |
| ||the underlying science of space weather |