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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 483.2 km/sec
density: 1.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B3
2049 UT Jun05
24-hr: B3
0214 UT Jun05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 05 Jun 11
None of the sunspots on the solar disk pose a threat for strong flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 116
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 Jun 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 1 day (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 04 Jun 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 103 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 04 Jun 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 6
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.9 nT
Bz: 2.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 05 Jun 11
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Jun 05 2200 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: 2011 Jun 05 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Sunday, Jun. 5, 2011
What's up in space

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

Metallic pictures of the Sun

GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A coronal mass ejection hit Earth's magnetic field on June 4th, sparking a G2-class geomagnetic storm and Northern Lights as far south as Wisconsin and Minnesota in the United States. NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of more storming today as the disturbance subsides. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

aurora images: from Salllie Carlson of Lutsen, Minnesota, USA; from Boutin Gilles of St-Michel de Bellechasse Québec Canada; from Dirk Miller of Rice Lake, Wisconsin; from Noah Weston of Madison, Maine, USA; from Dominic Cantin of Québec city, Québec, Canada;. from Brian Larmay of Pembine Wisconsin; from Rodrigo Roesch of Green Bay, WI;

NOCTILUCENT CLOUDS: The 2011 season for noctilucent clouds (NLCs) is underway, and it is intensifying. Observers are now reporting electric-blue waves and filaments in the sunset skies of both Europe and North America. Last night, Bob Conzemius photographed a vivid display over Trout Lake, Minnesota, and--bonus--he caught some Northern Lights, too. Click on the image to set the scene in motion:

NLCs are a summertime phenomenon. In the upper atmosphere, 80+ km high at the edge of space itself, tiny ice crystals nucleate around microscopic meteoroids and other aerosols; when the crystals catch the rays of the setting sun, they glow electric blue. Ironically, these highest and coldest of clouds form during the warmest months on the ground.

Noctilucent clouds first appeared in the 19th century after the eruption of super-volcano Krakatoa. At the time, people thought the clouds were caused by the eruption, but the clouds persisted long after Krakatoa's ash settled. In those early days, NLCs were a polar phenomenon, mainly seen in far-northern places such as Scandinavia or Alaska. In recent years they have intensified and spread with sightings as far south as Utah and Colorado. A NASA spacecraft named AIM is in orbit to investigate.

Readers, especially you at high latitudes, be alert for NLCs in the evenings ahead. Observing tips may be found in our 2009 Noctilucent Cloud Gallery.

more images: from Mikael Johannesen of Hvidovre, Denmark; from Rance Ball of La Ronge Sk Canada; from Emil Harritz of Kjeldbjerg, Denmark; from Jesper Grønne of Silkeborg Denmark; from Sallie Carlson of Lutsen, Minnesota; from Martin McKenna of Maghera, Co. Derry, N. Ireland;

ON THE EDGE: Amateur astronomers around the world are reporting strong activity on the limb of the sun. "The prominences on June 4th were gigantic," says Mike Borman, who photographed this specimen from his backyard observatory in Evansville, Indiana:

Prominences are clouds of hot plasma held above the stellar surface by unstable magnetic fields. They can shift, subside, surge, and sometimes even explode--almost anything is possible. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor developmemnts.

more images: from Eric Roel of Valle de Bravo, Estado de México; from John Stetson of Falmouth, Maine; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from Jesus Carmona de Argila of Madrid (SPAIN); from Didier Favre of Brétigny-sur-Orge, France; from Greg Piepol of Rockville, Maryland; from Michael Buxton of Ocean Beach, California; from Monty Leventhal OAM of Sydney. Australia; from Theo Ramakers of Social Circle GA; from Michael Boschat of Halifax,Nova Scotia, Canada; from Peter Desypris of Syros,Greece; from Raymond Lalonde of Cornwall, ON, Canada;

Midnight Solar Eclipse Gallery
[NASA: A Rare Eclipse of the Midnight Sun]

April 2011 Aurora Gallery
[previous Aprils: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 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 June 5, 2011 there were 1224 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2002 JC
Jun 1
57.5 LD
1.6 km
2009 BD
Jun 2
0.9 LD
10 m
2011 KE15
Jun 3
3.7 LD
16 m
2011 KV15
Jun 5
8.3 LD
25 m
2002 JB9
Jun 11
71.5 LD
3.2 km
2001 VH75
Jun 12
42.2 LD
1.1 km
2004 LO2
Jun 15
9.9 LD
48 m
2011 GA55
Jul 6
64.1 LD
1.0 km
2011 EZ78
Jul 10
37.3 LD
1.5 km
2003 YS117
Jul 14
73.9 LD
1.0 km
2007 DD
Jul 23
9.3 LD
31 m
2009 AV
Aug 22
49.7 LD
1.1 km
2003 QC10
Sep 18
50 LD
1.2 km
2004 SV55
Sep 19
67.5 LD
1.2 km
2007 TD
Sep 23
3.8 LD
58 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 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
Conquest Graphics
  for out-of-this-world printing and graphics
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Science Central sponsor
  more links...
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