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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 361.1 km/sec
density: 11.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A2
2230 UT May18
24-hr: A2
0010 UT May18
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 18 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 17 May 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 9 days
2010 total: 30 days (22%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 798 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 17 May 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 69 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 17 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: 7.7 nT
Bz: 4.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from this double-lobed coronal hole should reach Earth on or about May 20th, Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 May 18 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 18 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
20 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
25 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
May 18, 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.


AURORA WATCH: High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on May 20th. That's when a solar wind stream is due to hit Earth, possibly sparking geomagnetic storms. [gallery]

SOLAR FILAMENT: A long, dark magnetic filament is snaking over the sun's northeastern limb today, providing some relief to an otherwise blank solar disk. Pete Lawrence sends this picture from his backyard observatory in Selsey, UK:

Unlike many filaments, which soar up high in lovely arch- and twister-shapes, this one seems to be hugging the stellar surface. That doesn't mean the region is uninteresting, though. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory has been recording plenty of activity in the filament's vicinity: movie. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor developments.

more images: from Jo Dahlmans of the Netherlands; from Ingmar Glass of M√ľnchen, Germany; from Stephen Yeathermon of Santa Fe, Texas; from Matt Wastell of Paddington, Brisbane, Australia;

LIGHTNING BUGS AND SPACESHIPS: "Last night I witnessed a great pass of the ISS and Atlantis," reports Brian Emfinger of Ozark, Arkansas. "The docked spacecraft passed just a sliver below Venus and then passed by the Moon. I stacked 20 individual images to create this image."

"There were plenty of lightning bugs, too!" he adds. "It was a great night to be sandwiched between heavens and Earth."

Meanwhile, onboard the ISS, astronauts completed a seven hour, 25 minute spacewalk on Monday, installing a new space-to-ground antenna for improved two-way video communications and adding a new tool kit to the station's exoskeleton for the station's Dextre robot. Two more spacewalks are planned this week--as well as many more firefly-flybys. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker (or check your iPhone) for bright passes over your hometown.

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 18, 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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