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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 330.7 km/sec
density: 0.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B4
2123 UT Apr03
24-hr: B4
0408 UT Apr03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 03 Apr 12
Sunspot 1450 is growing and could soon post a threat for C-class flares. Otherwise, solar activity is low. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 67
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 02 Apr 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 02 Apr 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 106 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 02 Apr 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.2 nT
Bz: 0.5 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 02 Apr 12
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Apr 03 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
01 %
01 %
CLASS X
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 Apr 03 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
20 %
MINOR
25 %
25 %
SEVERE
15 %
15 %
 
Tuesday, Apr. 3, 2012
What's up in space
 

Listen to radar echoes from satellites and meteors, live on listener-supported Space Weather Radio.

 
Spaceweather Radio is on the air

INCOMING CME: A magnetic filament connected to sunspot AR1450 erupted on April 2nd, hurling a faint CME in the direction of Earth. A weak impact is expected sometime on April 4th. NOAA forecasters estimate a ~25% chance of polar geomagnetic storms when the cloud arrives. Aurora alerts: text, phone.

CATCH THE CONJUNCTION! When the sun sets tonight, go outside and look west. The planet Venus is in conjunction with the Pleiades star cluster. This only happened once every eight years, so don't miss it!

Last night in Puławy, Poland, photographer Kamila Mazurkiewicz was determined to catch the meeting:

"Venus and the Pleiades were like diamonds in the sky," says Mazurkiewicz. "It was a beautiful sight."

Although the conjunction may be seen with the unaided eye, it is even more beautiful through a small telescope, binoculars, or the lens of a camera. Regard this magnificent close-up from David A. Harvey of Tucson, Arizona. His camera settings are available for readers who wish to try a similar composition.

Connecting the dots, the brightest stars of the Pleiades resemble a tiny dipper. Tonight, April 3rd, Venus will brush the bottom of the dipper's bowl--a very close encounter indeed. Enjoy the show!

more images: from Alan Dyer of Gleichen, Alberta; from Gary A. Becker of Coopersburg, PA; from the Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project of Atlanta, GA; from Daniel J. Linek of Oneonta, NY; from Joe McBride of Grand Rapids, MI; from Aaron Top of Shallow Lake Ontario Canada; from Chris Pruzenski of Hemlock, NY; from John Stetson of Falmouth, Maine

SPRITE SEASON BEGINS: The first sprites of summer are starting to appear in the skies of North America. The strange thing is, summer is almost three months away. "Sprite season is beginning early this year," says Thomas Ashcraft, who photographed these specimens on March 30th from his observatory in New Mexico:

"At precisely two minutes and twenty-six seconds after midnight March 30, 2012 there was an incredibly powerful bolt of lightning in the vicinity of Woodward, Oklahoma that spawned these red sprites," says Ashcraft. "I could see them from two states away!" He also recorded VLF and shortwave radio emissions from the cluster, which you can hear as the soundtrack to this video.

Sprites are electrical discharges that come out of the top of thunderclouds, opposite ordinary lightning bolts which plunge toward Earth. Sprites can tower as high as 90 km above ground. That makes them a form of space weather as they overlap the zone of auroras, meteors, and noctilucent clouds.

Because they are associated with lightning, sprites are most often seen in summer months, "but in the past few days sprites have been reported in Texas (particularly near the Mexican border) as well as here in New Mexico," notes Ashcraft.

So if there's lightning where you live, be alert for sprites.


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 April 3, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2012 EG5
Apr 1
0.6 LD
--
59 m
2012 FW35
Apr 1
8.3 LD
--
23 m
2012 FQ62
Apr 2
5.6 LD
--
29 m
2012 FS52
Apr 2
8.9 LD
--
47 m
2012 FH58
Apr 3
3.6 LD
--
16 m
2012 FA57
Apr 4
1.1 LD
--
27 m
2012 GD
Apr 10
9.3 LD
--
16 m
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
--
1.6 km
1992 JD
May 2
9.5 LD
--
43 m
2010 KK37
May 19
2.3 LD
--
31 m
4183 Cuno
May 20
47.4 LD
--
5.7 km
2002 VX94
May 26
72.8 LD
--
1.1 km
2002 AC
Jun 16
62.2 LD
--
1.2 km
1999 BJ8
Jun 16
68.8 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.
STEREO
  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
Heliophysics
  the underlying science of space weather
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