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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
SPACE WEATHER
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 378.4 km/sec
density: 0.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2350 UT Nov30
24-hr: A0
0125 UT Nov30
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2350 UT
Daily Sun: 06 Dec. 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 05 Dec 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 13 days
2009 total: 256 days (76%)
Since 2004: 767 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 05 Dec 2009

Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.3 nT
Bz: 0.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Dec 06 2201 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: 2009 Dec 06 2201 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
December 6, 2009

SPACESHIP SIGHTINGS: Would you like a call when the space station is about to fly over your backyard? Sign up for Spaceweather PHONE.

 

GEMINID METEOR SHOWER: Mark your calendar. The Geminid meteor shower peaks on Dec. 13th and 14th when Earth passes through a stream of debris from extinct comet 3200 Phaethon. The Geminids have been intensifying in recent years, and 2009 could be the best year yet. Forecasters expect 140+ meteors per hour under the dark skies of a new Moon. [sky map]

NORTHERN LIGHTS: Last night, the skies over Iceland turned green:

"There were some clouds in the way, but I think they added to the charm of the display," says photographer Wioleta Zarzycka. "I took the picture using a Nikon D40."

The lights appeared when a solar wind stream reached Earth and rattled our planet's magnetic field. High latitude sky watchers should be alert for more auroras tonight as the solar wind continues to blow.

December Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Decembers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2001, 2000]

ORION AT THE BEACH: Last week, Grant Privett planted his camera and tripod in the sands of a beach on the Canary Islands. Off and on for 20 minutes, he opened the shutter to the eastern sky as moonlight washed over the waves and Orion rose into the night. Here is the result:

"The moon was waxing gibbous and produced flashes of light from breaking waves," says Privett. "All the features of the waves were evened out during the 20-minute shoot." Orion and Sirius show up as a series of broken star trails, each tiny arc corresponding to 60 seconds of open-shutter time. The sandy beach and moonlit waves combined with the stuttered constellations to produce an otherworldly ensemble.

It's that time of year. Orion the Hunter rises in the east just after sunset and seems to beckon to photographers to do something creative. Who's next?

more images: from Jan Koeman of Kloetinge, the Netherlands; from Tamás Ábrahám of Szomor, Hungary; from Lloyd Cross of Kennesaw, Georgia


Explore the Sunspot Cycle

       
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 December 6, 2009 there were 1085 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Dec. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2009 WV25
Dec. 1
2.9 LD
16
65 m
2009 WA52
Dec. 5
8.2 LD
20
23 m
2002 WP
Dec. 6
71.2 LD
16
950 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.
STEREO
  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, SpaceWeather.com -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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