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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 289.1 km/sec
density: 3.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2350 UT Nov30
24-hr: A0
0125 UT Nov30
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2350 UT
Daily Sun: 14 Dec. 09
New-cycle sunspot 1034 has reversed its decline and is growing again. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 14
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 Dec 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2009 total: 259 days (75%)
Since 2004: 770 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 13 Dec 2009

Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.7 nT
Bz: 2.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Dec 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: 2009 Dec 14 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
December 14, 2009

SPACESHIP SIGHTINGS: Would you like a call when the space station is about to fly over your backyard? Sign up for Spaceweather PHONE.


NEW SUNSPOT: A sunspot is growing rapidly in the sun's northern hemisphere: image. It appears to be a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Readers with solar telescopes should train their optics on the sun to witness sunspot genesis in action.

GREAT GEMINIDS: According to the International Meteor Organization, dark-sky Geminid meteor rates peaked last night at more than 160 per hour (update). During the period of maximum activity, Bjørnar G. Hansen photographed this fireball streaking through the Northern Lights over Kvaløya, Norway:

"I took the picture using a Nikon D3," says Hansen. "It is a 30 second exposure."

In some places, rates briefly surged even higher. Robin Busscher reports from the Netherlands: "Between midnight and 2 am, we saw a big show of Geminids with as many as 5 meteors in only 10 seconds. That's even more than the predicted maximum of 140 per hour!"

UPDATED: Geminid Meteor Gallery
[sky map] [meteor radar] [Geminid counts]

AURORA MASQUERADE: "Last night we drove to the country to watch the Geminids, and we saw a lot of them," reports
M-P Markkanen of Kuusamo, Finland. "They were all over the sky, sometimes with multiple fireballs within just a few seconds."

"When I got back home I was treated to another kind of light show," he says. He photographed the display using a Nikon D80:

It was an apparition of light pillars, caused by urban lights reflected from ice crystals in the air. "They danced in the icy sky like auroras as a few Geminids flew past in the background. All in all, it was a lovely spaceweather day!"

December Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Decembers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2001, 2000]

Explore the Sunspot Cycle

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 December 14, 2009 there were 1086 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Dec. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 WV25
Dec. 1
2.9 LD
65 m
2009 WA52
Dec. 5
8.2 LD
23 m
2002 WP
Dec. 6
71.2 LD
950 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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