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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 417.1 km/sec
density: 1.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B4
1702 UT Feb23
24-hr: B6
0850 UT Feb23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 23 Feb 12
A new sunspot is emerging at the circled location. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 31
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 22 Feb 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 22 Feb 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 104 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 22 Feb 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.6 nT
Bz: 3.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 23 Feb 12
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Feb. 25-26. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Feb 23 2200 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: 2012 Feb 23 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, Feb. 23, 2012
What's up in space

They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store.

Own your own meteorite

THE FIREBALLS OF FEBRUARY: A number of unusual fireballs observed around the USA this month have researchers wondering if Earth is passing through a special "February swarm" of meteoroids. [full story]

SUNSET SKY SHOW: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look west. Jupiter, Venus and the crescent Moon are forming a broad line in the sky. Daniele Gasparri photographed the arrangement from Bologna, Italy:

From upper left to lower right, the lights are Jupiter, Venus, and the Moon--all three bright enough to beam through thin clouds.

Soon, this line will collapse to form a triangle. The best nights to look are Feb. 25th and 26th when the crescent Moon glides by Venus, then Jupiter for a lovely display of celestial geometry. Get the full story and a video from Science@NASA.

more images: from Wienie van der Oord of Negev desert; from Ali Al-Hajari of Isa Town, Bahrain; from P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden; from Laurean of Tirgu Mures, Romania; from Piotr Potepa of Torun, Poland; from Juan Miguel González Polo of Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain; from Ian Griffin of Brill, Oxfordshire, England;

SOLAR TSUNAMI: Tangled magnetic fields on the sun's NW limb erupted today, February 23th, producing a solar tsunami. You can see the shadowy yet powerful wave rippling away from the blast site in this move from the Solar Dynamics Observatory:

The wave is subtle. If you didn't see it the first time, watch the movie again and look for regions on the solar surface that light up as the wave passes by. The nearly transparent ripple of plasma and magnetism was probably ~100,000 km high and, racing outward at a typical speed of 250 km/s, packed as much energy as 2.4 million megatons of TNT (1029 ergs). On the scale of the sun, it doesn't look like much, but you wouldn't want to run into one on Earth.

February 2012 Aurora Gallery
[previous Februaries: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]

  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 February 23, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2000 ET70
Feb 19
17.7 LD
1.0 km
2012 DF4
Feb 21
3.4 LD
31 m
2012 DX
Feb 21
2 LD
17 m
2012 DZ
Feb 22
2.5 LD
26 m
2011 CP4
Feb 23
9.1 LD
255 m
2012 DY
Feb 24
9.2 LD
21 m
2012 CS46
Feb 25
2.7 LD
12 m
2008 EJ85
Mar 6
9.1 LD
44 m
1999 RD32
Mar 14
57.9 LD
2.4 km
2011 YU62
Mar 16
73.4 LD
1.3 km
1996 SK
Apr 18
67.2 LD
1.6 km
2007 HV4
Apr 19
4.8 LD
8 m
2011 WV134
Apr 28
38.6 LD
1.8 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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