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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 417.4 km/sec
density: 4.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
1810 UT Nov17
24-hr: C2
1810 UT Nov17
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 17 Nov 12
Sunspot AR1614 poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 141
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 17 Nov 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 17 Nov 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 138 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 17 Nov 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.0 nT
Bz: 0.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 17 Nov 12
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Nov 17 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
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 Nov 17 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
20 %
10 %
20 %
05 %
Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012
What's up in space

Hang the Transit of Venus on your wall! Hubble-quality images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory are now available as metallic posters in the Space Weather Store.

Venus Transit metal posters

MILD LEONIDS: Earth is passing through a stream of debris from Comet Tempel-Tuttle, source of the annual Leonid meteor shower. The Leonids are famous because they sometimes come in storms of a thousand or more meteors per hour. This year's stream crossing is not a central one, however, so the display is expected to be mild. Forecasters predict no more than 15 meteors per hour when the shower peaks on Nov. 17th. [meteor gallery] [meteor radar]

HUMONGOUS ERUPTION: A truly gigantic explosion happened on the sun yesterday. On Nov. 16th, magnetic fields snaking halfway across the sun's southern hemisphere erupted in tandem, producing a prominence so big, it doesn't fit inside this image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO):

The blast hurled a CME into space, but the cloud does not appear to be heading for Earth.

A movie of the event, prepared by Steele Hill of the Goddard Space Flight Center, shows magnetic fields in concerted motion across an expanse of solar "terrain" more than 700,000 km wide. Observations by SDO have shown that such wide-ranging eruptions are not uncommon on the sun--the great Global Eruption of August 2010 being the iconic example. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

INSIDE THE SHADOW OF THE MOON: On Nov. 13/14, the Moon passed directly i front of the sun. This arrangement, which produced a total eclipse, cast the shadow of the Moon directly down on northeast Australia. Using a wide-field camera, eclipse-chaser Alan Dyer photographed the shadow as it raced across the sky over Lakeland Downs, Queensland. Scan the images, then read Dyer's account of the shadow-transit below:

"This collage of wide-angle shots shows the motion of the Moon's conical shadow," he explains. "At top, you can see the bottom edge of the shadow just touching the Sun. This was second contact and the diamond ring effect that begins totality. The middle frame was taken near mid-eclipse and shows the bright horizon beyond the Moons shadow. However, the Sun is not centered on the shadow because we were located well north of the eclipse's center-line, where we had gone to escape nearby clouds. The bottom frame was taken at the end of totality as the first bit of sunlight bursts out from behind the Moon. Notice the sun sitting at the well-defined left edge of the Moon's shadow. The shadow moved off to the right."

People who have experienced total eclipses first-hand say the Moon's shadow is one of the most amazing aspects of the experience. Its arrival causes many birds to stop singing; a hush descends on the landscape as the sky darkens and the air temperature suddenly drops. The Moon's shadow lances more than a quarter million miles across the silent vacuum of space, and when it lands on Earth, it seems to bring a bit of otherworldly cold with it.

For more otherworldly images of the eclipse, browse the gallery:

Realtime Eclipse 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 November 17, 2012 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2012 VC26
Nov 11
2.3 LD
8 m
2012 VH77
Nov 12
0.5 LD
15 m
2012 UY68
Nov 14
6.7 LD
44 m
2012 VJ38
Nov 14
0.6 LD
9 m
2012 VS76
Nov 16
2.4 LD
18 m
2012 VU76
Nov 16
8.1 LD
31 m
2012 VB26
Nov 17
9.7 LD
34 m
2012 VE77
Nov 18
4.5 LD
24 m
2012 VN76
Nov 20
7.3 LD
13 m
2010 JK1
Nov 25
9.3 LD
56 m
2009 LS
Nov 28
55.2 LD
1.1 km
2009 BS5
Dec 11
8.4 LD
15 m
4179 Toutatis
Dec 12
18 LD
2.7 km
2003 SD220
Dec 23
59.8 LD
1.8 km
1998 WT24
Dec 23
69.2 LD
1.1 km
2003 UC20
Dec 29
25.7 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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