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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 395.2 km/sec
density: 0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2343 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A2
2015 UT May14
24-hr: A2
2015 UT May14
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 14 May 10
There are no sunspots on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 May 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 5 days
2010 total: 26 days (19%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 795 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 13 May 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 69 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 13 May 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.9 nT
Bz: 2.5 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on or about May 16th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 May 14 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: 2010 May 14 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
25 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
May 14, 2010

NEW AND IMPROVED: Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a field-tested global satellite tracker. The Satellite Flybys app now works in all countries.


INCREDIBLE SKY SHOW: This afternooon, space shuttle Atlantis left Earth on its final voyage to the ISS. This sets the stage for an incredible sky show this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday evenings, many observers will be able to see the ISS and Atlantis flying past Venus and the crescent Moon. Get the full story from Science@NASA. [sky maps: May 15, 16] [flyby predictions: web, iPhone]

3D SPACE STATION: Imagine a giant spaceship, a 750,000-lb behemoth as wide as a football field with solar wings that dwarf a modern airliner. Robotic arms are busy working around its exterior, careful to avoid a number of smaller spacecraft attached to docking ports. This amazing ship glides across the night sky--and suddenly jumps toward you in startling 3D!

Brace yourself, it's about to happen. First, look at the image below and cross your eyes; merge the two space stations into a single 3D object. Next, click on the image to set the scene in motion (DivX required):

Click to view a 4 MB avi movie. (DivX required)

"I made the movie on April 24th when the International Space Station passed over my home in France," says Theirry Legault. Setting adjacent video frames side by side provided the 3D effect. "All you have to do is squint."

Legault, who is legendary among astrophotographers for his extraordinary shots of spacecraft and other things, recorded the flyby through a 10" Meade ACF telescope on a modified Takahashi EM-400 mount. The trick, he says, was using a green laser to pinpoint the ISS and a custom-made double joystick to track the spacecraft as it glided across the sky. Click here for the full story.

SPACE STATION RAINBOW: On May 12th, the International Space Station passed high over Queensbury, New York, where John E Cordiale was waiting ... with a prism. When the bright light of the streaking spacecraft passed through the glass, it spread into all the colors of a rainbow:

"This is an 18 sec exposure on my Nikon D200," says Cordiale. "For the objective prism, I used a Takahashi Meteor Spectrograph."

The ISS shines by reflected sunlight--just like the raindrops that reflect sunlight in the aftermath of a terrestrial thunderstorm. That's why the "space station rainbow" looks so familar. Same sun, same colors.

Ready to make your own space station rainbow? Grab a prism and check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flybys.

May 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Mays: 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002] [aurora alerts]

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 14, 2010 there were 1127 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 JR34
May 14
5.8 LD
12 m
2003 HR32
May 17
55.2 LD
1.0 km
2010 JN71
May 26
8.2 LD
245 m
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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