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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: -9999.9 km/sec
density: 1.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C3
1740 UT Jun17
24-hr: C3
1740 UT Jun17
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 17 Jun 12
Sunspot 1504 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that poses a threat for strong M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 110
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 16 Jun 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

Updated 16 Jun 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 135 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 16 Jun 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 6
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 10.4 nT
Bz: 7.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 17 Jun 12
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Jun 17 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
40 %
05 %
05 %
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 Jun 17 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
20 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
25 %
25 %
40 %
30 %
Sunday, Jun. 17, 2012
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

TAIKONAUTS IN SPACE: China's march into space is quickening. On June 15th, the Chinese space agency launched the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft with three taikonauts on board. One of them, fighter pilot Liu Yang, is the first chinese woman in space. The Shenzhou 9 is scheduled to dock with China's Tiangong 1 space station tomorrow. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker or your smartphone for sighting opportunities.

GEOMAGNETIC STORM ALERT: A geomagnetic storm is in progress in the wake of a double CME impact on June 16th. The hit, which strongly compressed Earth's magnetic field, lit up both poles with bright auroras. Stephen Voss sends this photo from Southland, New Zealand:

"We enjoyed a beautiful display of the Southern Lights from the south of New Zealand," says Voss. "A dull arc hung around for a couple of hours before suddenly exploding with a mixture of rays and curtains."

Meanwhile, in the Americas, Northern Lights descended as far south as Oregon, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Washington, and the Dakotas.

Solar wind conditions in the wake of the CME favor continued disturbances. NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of more high-latitude geomagnetic storms during the next 24 hours. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

FIRE LIT BY THE TRANSIT OF VENUS: Around the world on June 5th and 6th, millions of people watched the Transit of Venus. Only one man used it to light a candle. Christopher Handler of Adelaide, South Australia, explains how it was done: "The flame that burns in this lantern was lit with photons of light, of which about 0.001% had skipped through the atmosphere of another planet." (continued below)

"While watching the transit with my wife and son, I began to write words on a piece of wood with a magnifying glass, while explaining to my son that some of the sunshine we where using had bounced off the clouds of Venus only minutes earlier. Before long, we had lit a small fire in some kindling and from that lit several candles around the house. The hours passed by and the transit was over, yet we still have the flame. Captivated by the thought that it will take another 105 years before it could be done on Earth again, I feel almost compelled to keep it alight, even now, many days later."

A thousand more unique photos of the event may be found in the Transit of Venus gallery. Note: When you're browsing the gallery, please vote for your favorite images. We'll be creating a gallery of the most popular shots--and your votes count.

  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 17, 2012 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2012 LJ
Jun 10
1.6 LD
33 m
2012 LT
Jun 11
5.2 LD
30 m
2002 AC
Jun 16
62.2 LD
1.2 km
1999 BJ8
Jun 16
68.8 LD
1.1 km
2005 GO21
Jun 21
17.1 LD
2.2 km
2012 LU
Jun 23
5.8 LD
40 m
2003 KU2
Jul 15
40.2 LD
1.3 km
2004 EW9
Jul 16
46.8 LD
2.1 km
2002 AM31
Jul 22
13.7 LD
1.0 km
37655 Illapa
Aug 12
37 LD
1.2 km
2000 ET70
Aug 21
58.5 LD
1.0 km
1998 TU3
Aug 25
49.2 LD
4.9 km
2009 AV
Aug 26
62.8 LD
1.1 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
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
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