You are viewing the page for Jan. 9, 2012
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 441.3 km/sec
density: 1.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
2013 UT Jan09
24-hr: C2
2013 UT Jan09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Jan 12
Solar activity is low despite the presence of several large spots on the solar disk. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 90
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 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 08 Jan 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 136 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 08 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: 6.3 nT
Bz: 2.6 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 09 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 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
25 %
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 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
Monday, Jan. 9, 2012
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

WEEKEND SUNSPOT: Over the weekend, sunspot AR1393 tripled in size, swelling into an active region more than five times as wide as Earth. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the two-day expansion:

Despite the sunspot's rapid growth, solar activity remains low. Like all the other "active" regions on the solar disk, AR1393 has a simple, stable magnetic field that poses little threat for strong eruptions. NOAA forecasters say the chance of an X-class flare in the next 24 hours is no more than 1%. Stay tuned for quiet.

CANIS LUNUS? According to folklore, this week's full Moon is the Wolf Moon. Native Americans named it after packs of wolves they once heard singing in the deep snows of January. Folklore, however, doesn't always translate:

"Last night in Sweden, we heard no wolves," reports photographer P-M Hedén, "but we heard something else totally amazing - the song of the ice in the Dalriver!" He and his children enjoyed the Dalälven Moon around a campfire in Sweden's Färnebofjärdens National Park:

In Italy, the Wolf Moon reminded onlookers of a street lamp, while in Spain bright moonlight banished the night altogether. Even in New York, the Moon seemed more akin to waterfowl than to the wolf.

Which moon did you see? Browse the links for more options: from Nenne Åman of Arjeplog, Sweden; from Stefano De Rosa of Serralunga d'Alba, Italy; from Jim Saueressig II of Burlington, Kansas; from Göran Strand of Frösön, Sweden; from Rodney Hale of Houghton Conquest UK; from Sérgio Paulino of Alcochete, Portugal; from Timothy Boocock of Trysil,Norway; from Lyrics Some of Shiqi, Panyu, Guangzhou, China; from Ronny Tertnes of Bergen, Norway; from Kevin Witman of Cochranville, Pennsylvania; from Kevin Jung of Lowell Township, Michigan; from Lyle Anderson of Duluth, MN; from Paul Beebe of Upsala, Ontario, Canada; from Geoff Chester of Alexandria, Virginia;

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." Aurora alerts: text, voice.

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

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 9, 2012 there were 1272 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 YL28
Jan 4
3.7 LD
45 m
2011 YH40
Jan 16
5.4 LD
109 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...
©2010 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
©2013 All rights reserved.