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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 319.4 km/sec
density: 2.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B9
2020 UT Feb24
24-hr: C2
1435 UT Feb24
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 24 Feb 13
With the departure of sunspot AR1678, solar activity has returned to low levels. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 56
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 24 Feb 2013

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2013 total: 0 days (0%)
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

24 Feb 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 100 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 24 Feb 2013

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: 4.4 nT
Bz: 0.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 24 Feb 13
Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole should reach Earth as early as March 2nd, Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Feb 24 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: 2013 Feb 24 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
15 %
15 %
10 %
10 %
Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013
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

QUIET WEEKEND: With the departure of sunspot AR1678, solar activity has returned to low levels. NOAA forecasters estimate a 5% chance of M-class solar flares and a scant 1% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

CORONAL HOLE: A dark gap in the sun's atmosphere--a "coronal hole"--has opened up, and it is spewing a stream of solar wind into space. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) photographed the opening during the early hours of Feb 24th:

Wondering about the colors in this image? This is how the sun looks through SDO's extreme UV filters.

Coronal holes are places where the sun's magnetic field opens up and allows the solar wind to escape. A stream of solar wind flowing from this particular coronal hole is expected to reach Earth on or about March 2nd. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on that date. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Bonus: The image also shows the magnetic canopy of a sunspot group approaching just beyond the sun's northeastern limb. The active region should emerge in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

MOON HALO ALERT: The Moon is waxing full, and that means now is the time to be alert for Moon halos. Photographer Steve Nilsen points out this specimen over the shore of Kvæfjord in Troms, northern Norway:

Moon halos are caused by ice crystals in high, thin clouds. The angled faces of the six-sided crystals bend moonlight into circles 22o in radius. (Sunlight can be bent in the same way.) Generally, the brighter the Moon, the better the halo, which is why tonight is a good time to look. The Moon will be full on Feb. 25th at 20:26 UTC.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

TWO COMETS AND THE SOUTHERN LIGHTS: Two comets are now visible in the skies of the southern hemisphere: "Comet Lemmon and Comet PanSTARRS got close enough together on the morning of Feb. 17th to fit into single image with a 35mm lens," reports Alex Cherney of Flinders, Victoria, Australia. "A brief but reasonably strong aurora was a welcome bonus." Click to set the scene in motion:

"Both comets were faint but visible to the naked eye, C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) slightly brighter than C/2012 F6 (Lemmon)," says Cherney. "I would guestimate the visual magnitude of Comet Lemmon at +5.5 and PanSTARRS at +5." Also visible in Cherney's images are the Small Magellanic Cloud and the 47 Tuc globular star cluster.

Comet Pan-STARRS is heading for a close encounter with the sun just inside the orbit of Mercury that could significantly boost its visibility in early March. At that time, the comet will be visible to northern-hemisphere observers as well. A video from NASA explores the possibilities.

More about Comet Lemmon: 3D orbit, ephemeris, light curves; and Comet Pan-STARRS: 3D orbit, ephemeris, light curves.

Realtime Comet 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 February 24, 2013 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2013 CE82
Feb 17
4.6 LD
53 m
2013 CW129
Feb 18
1.3 LD
12 m
2013 CZ87
Feb 19
7 LD
28 m
2013 DS9
Feb 24
8.7 LD
24 m
2009 AV
Feb 25
59.7 LD
1.0 km
2007 EO88
Mar 18
4.4 LD
23 m
1993 UC
Mar 20
49 LD
3.8 km
1997 AP10
Mar 28
45.9 LD
1.8 km
2010 GM23
Apr 13
3.9 LD
50 m
2005 NZ6
Apr 29
24.9 LD
1.3 km
2001 DQ8
Apr 30
74.3 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
Space Weather Alerts
  more links...
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