You are viewing the page for May. 5, 2008
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 603.4 km/sec
density: 0.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1705 UT May05
24-hr: A0
1250 UT May05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 05 May 08
New sunspot 993 is a member of Solar Cycle 24; it poses no threat for solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 12
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 05 May 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the farside of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.2 nT
Bz: 0.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 May 05 2203 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: 2008 May 05 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
30 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
What's up in Space
May 5, 2008
MOTHER'S DAY: Give your mom a truly heavenly gift on May 11th--a subscription to Space Weather PHONE!  

LARRY, CURLY, AND MO: There are three entertaining little prominences on the sun's western limb today. Astrophotographer Alan Friedman of Buffalo, NY, calls them "Larry, Curly and Mo." Seriously! Train your solar telescope on the edge of the sun to catch the show.

more images: from Tom Hilger of Nashua, New Hampshire; from Hank Bartlett of Near Yarker, Ontario; from Patricia Cannaerts of Belgium; from E. Signorelli and J. Stetson of South Portland, Maine;

ETA AQUARID METEORS: If you see a meteor flit across the sky tonight, it's probably a piece of Halley's Comet. Earth is crossing through a stream of dusty debris from Halley and this is causing the annual eta Aquarid meteor shower. Sky watchers in the tropics and southern hemisphere (where the shower is most intense) could see as many as 70 meteors per hour during the dark hours before dawn on Monday, May 5th, and Tuesday, May 6th. Sky maps: north, south.

MERCURY RISING: Lately, have you noticed a bright star hanging in the western sky at sunset? That's no star--it's Mercury. The innermost planet is emerging from the glare of the sun and putting on its best show of 2008. Here is the view on May 4th from the Canary Islands:

"I took this picture about 30 minutes after sunset from a spot 2400 meters high on the Teide volcano in Tenerife," says photographer Dr. Fritz Helmut Hemmerich. "My Sony Alpha A700 was set to ASA 800 for the 8-second exposure."

Mercury will be visible every night for the next two weeks, but there is one night better than the others: May 6th when the crescent Moon glides by Mercury forming a beautiful and eye-catching duo. Mark your calendar and take a look: sky map.

more images: from Tamas Ladanyi of Lake Little-Balaton, Hungary; from Martin McKenna of Maghera, Co. Derry, N. Ireland; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from G√ľnther Strauch of Borken, NRW, Germany;

GEMINI TRIPLET: "After photographing Mercury and the Pleiades last night, my attention was drawn upward to the striking asterism of Castor, Pollux and Mars all in a line," reports Doug Zubenel of Flint Hills, Kansas:

This starry image is not a telescopic view, just the result of a 3 minute exposure at ISO 800 through Zubenel's Canon Rebel XTi digital camera. "Note the color contrasts between the three," he says. Mars is, of course, the red one.

Readers, tonight after spotting Mercury, pause and glance up. The Gemini Triplet awaits: sky map.

April 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-sky Cameras]

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. [comment]
On May 5, 2008 there were 949 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 HG
May 5
17 LD
90 m
2008 DE
May 9
17 LD
550 m
2008 HD2
May 9
6.5 LD
40 m
2008 HR3
May 11
3.1 LD
50 m
2008 HW1
May 14
72 LD
1.4 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 bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
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.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
©2019 All rights reserved.