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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 487.4 km/sec
density: 2.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A4
1745 UT May30
24-hr: A6
1735 UT May30
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 29 May 10
None of these new small sunspots pose a threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 43
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 29 May 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 33 days (22%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 801 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 29 May 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 74 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 29 May 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 5 storm
24-hr max: Kp= 5
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.5 nT
Bz: 2.6 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach our planet on or about May 31st or June 1st. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 May 30 2201 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: 2010 May 30 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
25 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
35 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
May 30, 2010

NEW AND IMPROVED: Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a field-tested global satellite tracker. The Satellite Flybys app now works in all countries.


SPACE PLANE X-37B: The US Air Force's X-37B space plane is making a series of passes over North America this weekend. It shines about as brightly as the stars of the Big Dipper as it glides across the night sky. You can find the X-37B on your iPhone or check our Simple Satellite Tracker for flyby times.

X-37B images: from Dan Bush of Albany, Missouri; from Farrell Germann of Jefferson City, Missouri; from Val Germann of Jefferson City, Missouri; from Gary of Fort Davis, Texas; from Jason Czech of Brimfield, Massachusetts;

AURORA SURPRISE: On May 29th, the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) tilted south and opened a crack in Earth's magnetosphere. Solar wind poured in and fueled a G1-class geomagnetic storm. Northern Lights were sighted as far south as Wisconsin:

"The auroras were amazing last night," says photographer Jason Exferd of Iron River, WI. "I took this 13-second exposure using my Canon Rebel XS."

The storm has subsided now. The next storm is due on May 31st or June 1st when a solar wind stream is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. Would you like a call when the action begins? Sign up for Spaceweather Phone.

May 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Mays: 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002] [aurora alerts]

JUPITER-ISS CONJUNCTION: Earlier today over Athens, Greece, the International Space Station (ISS) had a conjunction with Jupiter ... in broad daylight. Amateur astronomer Anthony Ayiomamitis recorded the flyby:

The trick, says Ayiomamitis, was focusing. "Focusing the telescope was very difficult against the mostly-blank blue sky. And there were no big sunspots I could use to fine-tune the focus by observing the sun. I got very lucky!"

His photo shows that with ISS construction now mostly complete the space station subtends an angle bigger than the biggest planet. "Jupiter has an apparent diameter of 37.5 arcseconds, which is second to the passing ISS at 42.1 arcseconds," he notes.

Last week he also photograpphed the space station transiting the sun. "Broad daylight is an interesting time for ISS photography," he says. Blue-sky transit forecasts may be found at

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 May 30, 2010 there were 1127 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 JR34
May 14
5.8 LD
12 m
2003 HR32
May 17
55.2 LD
1.0 km
2010 JN71
May 26
8.2 LD
245 m
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 space weather bureau
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.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.













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