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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 392.4 km/sec
density: 3.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2244 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1800 UT May16
24-hr: A4
1020 UT May16
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 16 May 08
Three new sunspots (encircled) are emerging. They are still small and pose no threat for solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 14 May 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the farside 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: 3.6 nT
Bz: 0.1 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the Sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 May 16 2203 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: 2008 May 16 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
May 16, 2008
FLYBY ALERT! Space shuttle Discovery launches on May 31st. Get your flyby alerts from Space Weather PHONE  

MISSING SUPERNOVAS: Astronomers have long believed that stars explode in the Milky Way about once every 50 years. Yet the last time anyone actually witnessed a supernova was in the year 1680. Where are all the missing supernovas? At long last, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has found one: full story.

LUNAR TRANSIT: Last night, the International Space Station flew over Slovakia--and right in front of the Moon. A team of astronomers led by Roman Piffl had their Nikon D200 ready and they caught the winged silhouette passing just south of the Sea of Tranquillity:

Photo Credit: Roman Piffl, Tomáš Maruška, Ivan Majchrovič, Miro Grnja

"It was really amazing!" says Piffl. "We were on the centerline of the transit 20 km southeast of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia."

Now is a good time for Europeans to see the International Space Station with their own eyes. For the next two weeks, the behemoth spacecraft will be making a series of bright flybys of Europe, sometimes three or four times a night. Try our new global Satellite Tracker to find out when to look.

SOLAR VORTEX: "In spite of solar minimum, there seems to be plenty of action on the sun," reports amateur astronomer Peter Schlatter of Wohlen, Switzerland, who yesterday witnessed a spectacular vortex swirling on the sun's eastern horizon. Click on the image to launch a movie he made using his backyard telescope and a Coronado solar filter:

movie formats: Quicktime, mp4, avi

Indeed, the limb of the sun is where the action is. "A huge prominence emerged today looking like a monster rising from a sea of fire," reports David Leong of Hong Kong: photo. None of this activity is explosive or threatening to cause geomagnetic storms on Earth--it's just a pretty show. If you have a solar telescope, take a look.

more images: from Pascal Paquereau of Mouzeuil-Saint-Martin, Vendée, France; from Mark Seibold of Oregon; from Maxim Usatov of Prague, Czech Republic; from C. Miller, C.Lyons, B. Atkins, J. Odong and J. Stetson of South Portland, Maine; from Dave Gradwell of Birr Ireland; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from Anthony Jennings of North Manchester UK; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from Patricia Cannaerts of Belgium;

April 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-sky Cameras]

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. [comment]
On May 16, 2008 there were 953 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 HG
May 5
17 LD
90 m
2008 DE
May 9
17 LD
550 m
2008 HD2
May 9
6.5 LD
40 m
2008 HR3
May 11
3.1 LD
50 m
2008 HW1
May 14
72 LD
1.4 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 Links
NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
  The official U.S. government bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
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.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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