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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 512.7 km/sec
density: 2.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2337 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2015 UT Jan13
24-hr: B3
0919 UT Jan13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 13 Jan 11
Sunspot 1146 is quiet, and solar activity remains low. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 23
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 12 Jan 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 0 days (0%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 819 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 12 Jan 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 80 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 12 Jan 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.3 nT
Bz: 1.9 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 13 Jan 10
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Jan. 14th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Jan 13 2200 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: 2011 Jan 13 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
30 %
15 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011
What's up in space

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

Metallic pictures of the Sun

SUNDIVING COMET STORM: 2010 ended with an unprecedented flurry of small comets diving into the Sun. Researchers say this could herald a much larger comet still to come. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

FARSIDE ERUPTION: An active region on the far side of the sun erupted this morning, hurling a bright CME into space. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) saw the cloud emerging over the sun's eastern limb:

Update: Click here to make the cloud expand

NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft happens to be stationed almost directly over the blast site. The spacecraft's extreme UV telescope caught the explosion from the beginning; this movie shows the eruption and the shadowy shock wave it propelled through the sun's atmosphere.

The source of this activity, probably a big sunspot, is on the farside of the sun now, but won't remain there. The sun's rotation is turning it toward Earth. Geoeffective solar activity could commence within days. Stay tuned.

AURORA WATCH: This week, auroras around the Arctic Circle have been so bright, even clouds and glaring moonlight could not spoil the show. Frank Olsen sends this picture, taken on Jan. 12th, from Skittenelv, Norway:

"The past few days have brought us some great auroras," says Olsen. "The lights were so bright, I was able to record them with shutter speeds as low as 1 second using my Canon EOS 7D set at ISO 1600." Polar photographers should take note of those settings. Another display is likely on Jan. 14-15 when an incoming solar wind stream hits Earth's magnetic field, and a great snapshot may be only 1 second away.

January 2011 Aurora Photo Gallery
[previous Januaries: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004]

Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[NASA: Hinode Observes Annular Solar Eclipse]

  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 January 13, 2011 there were 1179 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 AZ22
Jan 9
1.3 LD
8 m
2011 AN4
Jan 9
5.1 LD
23 m
2011 AN1
Jan 10
5.5 LD
12 m
2009 BS5
Jan 11
3.4 LD
14 m
2011 AH5
Jan 13
3.3 LD
28 m
2011 AY22
Jan 14
4.1 LD
17 m
2003 YG118
Feb 20
67.7 LD
1.8 km
2000 PN9
Mar 10
45.5 LD
2.6 km
2002 DB4
Apr 15
62.5 LD
2.2 km
2008 UC202
Apr 27
8.9 LD
10 m
2009 UK20
May 2
8.6 LD
23 m
2008 FU6
May 5
75.5 LD
1.2 km
2003 YT1
May 5
65.3 LD
2.5 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.
  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
  the underlying science of space weather
Science Central
  more links...
©2010 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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