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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 432.3 km/sec
density: 1.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A2
1945 UT May09
24-hr: B1
0130 UT May09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 09 May 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 09 May 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 9 days
2009 total: 111 days (86%)
Since 2004: 622 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 09 May 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= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.4 nT
Bz: 1.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2337 UT
Coronal Holes:
A minor solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on May 12th or 13th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 May 09 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 May 09 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
May 9, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you sleep through the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.


NOAA PREDICTS SOLAR CYCLE 24: Today, an international panel of experts led by NOAA issued a new prediction for Solar Cycle 24: It will peak, they say, in May of 2013 with a below-average sunspot number of 90: full story.

SUNSPOT CORPSES: The farside sunspot that unleashed a powerful CME on May 5th is finally rotating into view. Except it is not a sunspot. The blast site appears to be in a state of decay with only some patches of bright magnetic froth marking where a sunspot group might have been:

Lars Zielke took this picture on May 9th from his backyard observatory in Tvis, Denmark. "I was lucky to get some images of the new active region just as it appeared over the sun's limb," he says. "In the background there were some very nice prominences, so the scene was set for a grand entrance."

Zielka used a Lunt Ca-K solar telescope. "Ca-K" means the telescope is tuned to the purple glow of singly-ionized calcium. Such telescopes are sensitive to the magnetic froth that often surrounds sunspots and sunspot corpses. According to NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft, which is stationed over the sun's eastern limb, another active region should emerge today. Will it be a genuine sunspot--or another corpse? Stay tuned.

photos: from Stefano Sello of Pisa, Italy; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Mogens Nissen of Denmark; from Matthias Juergens of Gnevsdorf, Germany; from Howard Eskildsen of Ocala, Florida; from Jesper Sorensen of Kastrup, Denmark; from Tom King of Watauga, Texas;

SHADOWS IN THE SKY: Last night when the Moon rose over Key Biscayne, Florida, "a strange phenomenon happened," reports onlooker Emanuele Colognato. "A number of dark beams seemed to be converging on the Moon's location in the east." He quickly photographed the scene through his apartment window:

"I call the photo Shadows in the Sky," says Colognato. That's a good name because the dark beams are shadows. As the Moon was rising in the east, the sun was setting in the west. Low-hanging clouds behind Colognato's back blocked the light of the setting sun and cast their shadows all the way across the sky. Perspective effects made the shadows appear to converge on the Moon. Experts call the dark beams anti-crepuscular rays; "Shadows in the Sky" works, too.

more images: from Néstor Camino of Esquel, Chubut, Patagonia, Argentina; from Lenny Kovlak of San Francisco, California; from P-M Hedén of Tänndalen, Sweden;

April 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Aprils: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002]

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 May 9, 2009 there were 1054 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 JA
May 4
7.5 LD
37 m
2006 FG3
May 6
60.7 LD
1.1 km
2001 SG286
May 17
11.5 LD
280 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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