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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 437.4 km/sec
density: 2.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B4
2211 UT Feb25
24-hr: B5
1500 UT Feb25
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 25 Feb 12
These sunspots pose no threat for strong flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 47
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 24 Feb 2012

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2012 total: 0 days (0%)
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 24 Feb 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 105 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 24 Feb 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.5 nT
Bz: 3.2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 24 Feb 12
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Feb. 25-26. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Feb 25 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: 2012 Feb 25 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
25 %
01 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
30 %
10 %
25 %
05 %
15 %
Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012
What's up in space

Listen to radar echoes from satellites and meteors, live on listener-supported Space Weather Radio.

Spaceweather Radio is on the air

INCOMING CME: Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab say a coronal mass ejection (CME) will hit Earth's magnetic field on Feb. 26th at 13:30 UT (+/- 7 hr). The impact could spark a G2-class geomagnetic storm. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

WEEKEND SKY SHOW: The show is underway. Venus, Jupiter and the crescent Moon have gathered to form a bright scalene triangle in the sunset sky. Photographer Tamas Abraham sends this self-portrait from Zsambek, Hungary:

The Moon is shining beside Venus, while Jupiter hovers above. "It was a beautiful conjunction," says Abraham.

If you miss the arrangement on Saturday night, try Sunday. The triangle will appear again, just as bright but with vertices shifted: sky map. If possible, look before the sunset sky fades completely black. Venus, Jupiter and the Moon surrounded by twilight blue is an especially beautiful sight. This is such a nice event, NASA has issued a news release and video about it.

more images: from Carlos Eklund of Varberg, Sweden; from Valentin Grigore of Targoviste, Romania; from Tamas Ladanyi of Veszprem (Hungary); from Emmanuel Marchal of London, UK; from Monika Landy-Gyebnar of Veszprem, Hungary; from Pete Glastonbury of Devizes, Wiltshire, UK; from Marko Stahl of Bad Schönborn, Germany; from Gordon Crawford of Bolton, East Lothian, Scotland; from Vincenzo Pelusi of Rodi Garganico, Italy; from Diana Bodea of Ibiza, Spain; from Ian Griffin of Ludgershall, Bucks, UK;

VENUS IN BROAD DAYLIGHT: As the brightest planet in the heavens, Venus can be seen in broad daylight. The trick is knowing where to look. On Feb. 24th, the crescent Moon provided some guidance. "The Moon told us where Venus was in the sky, allowing us to see her in daylight with the naked eye," says Nerissa-Cesarina Urbani, who sends this picture from Serra San Quirico, Italy:

Even among veteran observers, it is always a bit of a surprise to see Venus pop out of the blue sky when you look straight at the planet. Many observers had this experience on Feb. 25th as the helpful Moon glided only 3o away from the goddess of love.

more images: from Thomas Faller of Newnan, GA; from Alan C Tough of Elgin, Moray, Scotland; from Sam Barricklow of Garland, Texas; from Pete Strasser of Tucson, AZ

CANYON OF FIRE: A magnetic filament snaking over the sun's northeastern limb rose up and erupted during the early hours of Feb. 24th. The eruption split the sun's atmosphere creating a "canyon of fire," shown here in a movie captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory:

The glowing walls of the canyon are formed in a process closely related to that of arcade loops, which appear after many solar flares. Stretching more than 400,000 km from end to end, the structure traces the original channel where the filament was suspended by magnetic forces above the stellar surface.

As erupting magnetic filaments often do, this one launched a coronal mass ejection (CME) into space. The Solar and Heliospheric Observary recorded the expanding cloud: movie. UPDATE: At first this CME did not appear heading for Earth. However, a new analysis by forecasters at the Goddard Space Weather Lab shows that the cloud will indeed hit Earth's magnetic field on Feb. 26th at 13:30 UT (+/- 7 hr): animated forecast track. Geomagnetic storms are possible when the CME arrives.

February 2012 Aurora Gallery
[previous Februaries: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]

  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 February 25, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2012 DJ14
Feb 19
7.2 LD
31 m
2012 DY13
Feb 20
0.3 LD
11 m
2012 DF4
Feb 21
3.4 LD
31 m
2012 DX
Feb 21
2 LD
17 m
2012 DZ
Feb 22
2.5 LD
26 m
2011 CP4
Feb 23
9.1 LD
255 m
2012 DY
Feb 24
9.2 LD
21 m
2012 DX13
Feb 25
4.9 LD
70 m
2012 CS46
Feb 25
2.7 LD
12 m
2008 EJ85
Mar 6
9.1 LD
44 m
1999 RD32
Mar 14
57.9 LD
2.4 km
2011 YU62
Mar 16
73.4 LD
1.3 km
1996 SK
Apr 18
67.2 LD
1.6 km
2007 HV4
Apr 19
4.8 LD
8 m
2011 WV134
Apr 28
38.6 LD
1.8 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
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
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