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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 486.6 km/sec
density: 0.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A4
2030 UT May12
24-hr: B1
1405 UT May12
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 12 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 11 May 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 3 days
2010 total: 24 days (18%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 794 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 11 May 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 74 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 11 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: 5.0 nT
Bz: 1.1 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2205 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from this shallow coronal hole could reach Earth on or about May 15th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 May 12 2146 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 12 2146 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
25 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
30 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
May 12, 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.


70% FAVORABLE: Space shuttle Atlantis is on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center poised to begin a 12-day mission to the ISS. Forecasters say there is a 70% chance of favorable weather for an on-time launch at 2:20 pm on Friday, May 14th. NASA's shuttle program is coming to an end, and this will be the final flight of Atlantis.

BIG TWISTER: On May 1st, a magnetic filament on the sun wound itself into a twist and erupted. NASA's STEREO Ahead spacecraft was in the perfect position to observe the blast. Click on the image to set the scene in motion:

Movies: Quicktime Large (26MB), Small (4MB); MPEG Small (7MB)

The time-lapse movie spans three days, April 30th to May 2nd, and shows not only the big twister, but also many smaller filaments that twist and swirl without erupting. Such activity occurs every day and is part of the dynamism of the ever-changing sun.

More great movies from STEREO may be found here.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE SKYMASTER: Have you ever been to the carnival on a sunny day, and slipped into the shadow of a midway ride for a quick break from the heat? Next time, don't forget to look up at the sun:

Robb McCaghren took the picture May 9th from a carnival on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. "The sun was surrounded by a beautiful halo, and the shadow of the Skymaster ride was the perfect place to photograph it," he says. "I used a Canon 5D MKII with a fisheye lens."

The halo was caused by sunlight shining through ice crystals in the clouds. It might have been warm on the ground, but it was freezing cold 10 km overhead where icy wisps of cirrus were drifting by. High cirrus clouds remain icy even during the hottest days of summer--so find the shadows and be alert for sun halos.

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 12, 2010 there were 1116 potentially hazardous asteroids.
April 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 GV23
April 5
2.1 LD
12 m
2010 GF7
April 8
2.8 LD
30 m
2010 GA6
April 9
1.1 LD
27 m
2010 GM23
April 13
3.4 LD
47 m
2005 YU55
April 19
5.9 LD
185 m
2009 UY19
April 23
8.8 LD
87 m
2002 JR100
April 29
8.0 LD
65 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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