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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 437.4 km/sec
density: 3.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1726 UT Jan08
24-hr: C4
0227 UT Jan08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 08 Jan 12
Sunspot 1393 is growing rapidly while a new sunspot (circled) is emerging over the northeast limb. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 110
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 07 Jan 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 07 Jan 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 141 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 07 Jan 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.6 nT
Bz: 0.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 08 Jan 12
A minor solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Jan. 13-14. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Jan 08 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: 2012 Jan 08 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012
What's up in space

Don't just watch shooting stars. Wear them! Authentic meteorite jewelry for Christmas is now available in the SpaceWeather Store.

Meteorite jewelry

WOLF MOON: Can you hear the howls? According to folklore, tonight's full moon is the "Wolf Moon," named after the singing packs of wolves once heard by Native Americans during the winter month of January. Images: #1.

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY: Forecasters said a CME might deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 7th, and indeed it might have. There was no sharp change in the solar wind speed signaling a CME's passage. There was, however, a surge in ground currents in northern Norway during the late hours of Jan. 7th, which suggests that something did rattle Earth's magnetic field. Rob Stammes recorded the disturbance from his laboratory in Lofoten.

Ground currents often herald auroras, and true to form the skies turned vivid green:

"We witnessed a brief but beautiful outburst of auroras," says photographer Bjørn Jørgensen of Sommaroy, Norway. "Even the sea turned green from the bright colors overhead."

New: January 2012 Aurora Gallery
[previous Januaries: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004]

BE ALERT FOR MOON HALOES: Across much of the United States, there's not much snow on the ground. There is, however, ice in the air. You can see it around the Moon:

"There was a remarkable halo around the Moon this Friday evening," says photographer Dan Bush of Albany, Missouri. "It was the most vivid and long lasting one I've seen in 15+ years."

Moon haloes are caused by ice crystals in cirrus clouds 5 to 10 km above the ground. Crystals catch the light of the Moon and bend its rays into a luminous ring, as shown above. With the full Moon less than a day away, now is a good time to be alert for Moon haloes.

more images: from Francesc Pruneda of Palamós, Catalonia, Spain; from Chris Hetlage of Deerlick Astronomy Village, GA; from Eddie Ledbetter of Register, GA; from Tanner Schaaf of Kingston, Minnesota; from Jim Tegerdine of Marysville, Washington; from Guy of Masset, B.C., Canada;

New: Comet Lovejoy Gallery
[previous comets: McNaught, Holmes, Lulin, Tuttle, Ikeya-Zhang]

  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 January 8, 2012 there were 1272 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 YB63
Jan 2
0.6 LD
5 m
2011 YL28
Jan 4
3.7 LD
45 m
2011 YH40
Jan 16
5.4 LD
110 m
1991 VK
Jan 25
25.3 LD
1.9 km
433 Eros
Jan 31
69.5 LD
8.5 km
2009 AV
Feb 16
44.9 LD
1.2 km
2000 ET70
Feb 19
17.7 LD
1.0 km
2011 CP4
Feb 23
9.1 LD
255 m
2008 EJ85
Mar 6
9.1 LD
44 m
1999 RD32
Mar 14
57.9 LD
2.3 km
2011 YU62
Mar 16
73.3 LD
1.4 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
Science Central
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
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