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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 364.0 km/sec
density: 0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
1840 UT May23
24-hr: B1
1840 UT May23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 23 May 10
Sunspot 1072 is growing and poses a slight threat for C-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 20
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 22 May 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 33 days (23%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 801 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 22 May 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 73 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 22 May 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.3 nT
Bz: 0.8 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: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 May 23 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
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 23 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
May 23, 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.


DOUBLE FLYBY ALERT: Space shutte Atlantis undocked from the International Space Station this morning at 11:22 am EDT. This sets the stage for double flybys: Atlantis and the ISS will appear as a pair of bright star-like objects sailing across the night sky. Sky watchers in Australia and New Zealand are favored for sightings tonight. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker or your iPhone for predictions.

AMAZING TRANSIT: Yesterday (May 22nd) in Switzerland, Thierry Legault photographed the International Space Station (ISS) and space shuttle Atlantis passing directly in front of the sun. The docked spacecraft were framed by "solar fire" as they raced by new sunspot 1072:

View the full-disk transit

"I have never had such good seeing conditions and this image surpasses any transit image I've done before," says Legault. "The sunspot area is also very sharp." He recorded the split-second transit using a solar-filtered 6" refracting telescope.

NASA's shuttle program is coming to an end later this year, and Atlantis is making her final scheduled visit to the ISS. For this reason, the STS-132 mission patch shows Atlantis heading into the sunset. There is, however, a possibility that Atlantis might fly again. If so, make that sunset a solar transit.

more transit photos: from Yvan Trembley of Chamalieres, France; from Emmanuel Rietsch of Switzerland; from Dirk Lucius of Leer, Germany; from Jerome Delpau of Moncé en Belin, France

ALIEN BEAUTY: Multiwavelength images of the sun beamed to Earth by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) have a beauty that can only be described as ... alien. We've never seen the sun quite like this before. Consider the following picture taken just hours ago by SDO's Atmospheric Imaging Assembly:

The image is a composite of three extreme ultraviolet wavelengths: 211 Å (false-color red) 193 Å (green) and 171 Å (blue), each tracing a different gas temperature ranging from 1 to more than 2 million degrees K. Highlights of today's sun include an enormous magnetic filament, a coronal hole, and a new sunspot: labels. And that's just for starters. The high-resolution copy of this image shows many more weird and interesting things. Go ahead and take a look; it really is your star.

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 23, 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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