Hang the Transit of Venus on your wall! Hubble-quality images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory are now available as metallic posters in the Space Weather Store.
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FLATLINED: Solar activity is very low. With no sunspots actively flaring, the sun's x-ray output has flatlined. NOAA forecasters say there is no more than a 5% chance of M-flares and a 1% chance of X-flares today. Solar flare alerts: text, voice
SUNSPOTS: Earth-facing sunspots 1579 and 1582 are so large, sky watchers are noticing them without the assistance of a solar telescope. When the low-hanging sun is dimmed by clouds and haze, the two spots can be seen punctuating the sunset:
Lauri Kangas took this picture on the evening of October 2nd from Fort Frances, Ontario. " The sun was easy to photograph safely without any protective filters due to the clouds and smoke from forest fires in northwestern Ontario," says Kangas.
Although these sunspots are large (each one is wider than Earth) they are not very active. Their magnetic canopies contain are simply organized, containing no unstable structures that pose a threat for flares. NOAA forecasters say there is less than a 5% chance of M-flares and a 1% chance of X-flares today.
Caution: Do not look at the sun through unfiltered optics. Even when the sun is low and dim, focused sunlight can damage human eyes. When photographing sunsets, use your camera's LCD screen, not the optical viewfinder.
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
ISS CROSSING THE HARVEST MOON: Two nights ago, Bill Reyna of Sussex County, New Jersey, went outside to see the Harvest Moon (the full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox) when a winged shadow flitted across the lunar landscape. It was the International Space Station:
Reyna captured the station's silhouette backlit by the Sea of Clouds (Mare Nubium) using a Canon 7D digital camera snapping pictures in HD video mode. "With the ISS moving at 4.6 miles per second at a range of 321 miles, it crossed the lunar disk in only .45 seconds," he says. "I knew exactly when to video-record the transit thanks to predictions from Calsky." ISS flyby alerts: text, voice
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 October 4, 2012 there were 1332 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 |