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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 275.3 km/sec
density: 2.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1923 UT Dec13
24-hr: C1
1923 UT Dec13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 13 Dec 12
New sunspots AR1631 and AR1632 are growing rapidly, but not yet producing any significant flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 82
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 Dec 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

Update 13 Dec 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 112 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 13 Dec 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.9 nT
Bz: 6.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 13 Dec 12
Solar wind flowing from this southern coronal hole should reach Earth on Dec. 16-17. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Dec 13 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
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 Dec 13 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012
What's up in space

Thirty-five new items have just been added to our Meteorite Jewelry collection. Browse the Space Weather Store for something out of this world.

Meteorite jewelry

THE GEMINID METEOR SHOWER IS UNDERWAY: International observers are counting as many as 50 meteors per hour as Earth plunges into a stream of debris from rock comet 3200 Phaethon. Rates could double, or more, when the shower peaks on Dec. 13th and 14th. The best time to look is during the dark hours before dawn on Thursday and Friday. [sky map] [meteor radar] [video]

This morning, Dec. 13th, Bill Metallinos caught a shadow-casting Geminid fireball streaking over Corfu, Greece:

"I was setting up my telescope when suddenly there appeared a fireball so bright it made my heart beat like crazy," says Metallinos. "Spectacular moment!"

Last night, NASA's network of all-sky meteor cameras detected 56 Geminid fireballs streaking over the southern United States. The multi-camera system automatically triangulates to find the orbits of any meteoroids it detects. Here is last night's orbit diagram:

Orbits in the diagram are color-coded by velocity. Yellow orbits correspond to the Geminids; they are a good match to the orbit of parent rock-comet 3200 Phaethon. The other orbits are mostly random meteoroids not associated with the Geminids. The red splat marks the location of Earth.

NASA says that another meteor shower, appearing for the first time this year, could add to the count of Geminids on Dec. 13th. The source of the new shower is Comet 46P/Wirtanen. Veteran sky watcher Doug Zubenel of Kansas sends this report of a possible sighting: "I believe this shower is real, because at ~ 19:30 hrs, CST on Dec. 10th, I saw a very slow-moving meteor nearly as bright as Jupiter enter the frame of my windshield as I was driving east, and it was in Taurus moving toward the Orion/Gemini border. It's path led back through the radiant in Pisces. While this obviously does not prove it was from Wirtanen, it certainly seems likely."

Realtime Geminid Photo Gallery

LITTLE PLANET TOTAL ECLIPSE: One month ago today, observers stationed along the cost of Queensland, Australia, witnessed a total eclipse of the sun. Eclipse chaser Dennis Mammana was there, and during the brief minutes of totality he snapped eight panoramic images of his surroundings. Stitching them together, he has created the first-ever "little planet" view of a total eclipse:

"Early in the morning of November 14, 2012, the resort island of Green Island, Australia fell dark as Moon's shadow drifted across its spectacular scenery," he recalls. Take a close look at the full-sized image, he advises. "Above the eclipse shines the planet Venus; on the other side of the scene--behind the trees--appears the bright star Sirius."

Total Eclipse Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]

  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 December 13, 2012 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2012 XE54
Dec 11
0.6 LD
36 m
2012 XL55
Dec 11
4.2 LD
17 m
2009 BS5
Dec 11
8.4 LD
15 m
4179 Toutatis
Dec 12
18 LD
2.7 km
2012 XB112
Dec 14
0.8 LD
5 m
2012 XM16
Dec 16
3.1 LD
31 m
2003 SD220
Dec 23
59.8 LD
1.8 km
1998 WT24
Dec 23
69.2 LD
1.1 km
2012 XM55
Dec 23
3 LD
12 m
2012 XP55
Dec 27
9.1 LD
67 m
1999 HA2
Feb 5
58 LD
1.3 km
3752 Camillo
Feb 12
57.5 LD
3.4 km
1999 YK5
Feb 15
49.1 LD
2.1 km
2012 DA14
Feb 15
0.09 LD
57 m
2009 AV
Feb 25
59.7 LD
1.0 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
Space Weather Alerts
  more links...
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