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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 356.2 km/sec
density: 0.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT May13
24-hr: A4
1105 UT May13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 13 May 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 11 May 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the farside of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.1 nT
Bz: 2.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the Sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 May 13 2203 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: 2008 May 13 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
May 13, 2008
FLYBY ALERT! Space shuttle Discovery launches on May 31st. Get your flyby alerts from Space Weather PHONE  

NEW MEXICO FIREBALL: On May 12th, a brilliant green fireball (probably meteoritic) flew over eastern New Mexico and lit up the ground like a full Moon. Using a Sandia Labs all-sky camera and a 60-80 MHz radio receiver, Thomas Ashcraft not only photographed the fireball but also recorded distant radio stations echoing eerily from the fireball's ionized tail. Click here and enjoy the show.

SOLAR ACTIVITY: Yesterday's solar "fire fountain" has subsided and the source has revealed itself. "It's a crackling, energetic region on the sun's surface," reports Pete Lawrence, who sends this picture from Selsey, UK:

The core of the region has not coelesced into an actual sunspot, but it is nevertheless lively and interesting to watch: "A few bright flares have been occurring this morning," says Lawrence. "If you've got clear skies and a solar telescope, don't forget to keep a look out as anything can happen!"

more images: from Greg Piepol of Rockville, Maryland; from Stephen Ames of Hodgenville, Kentucky; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland

WHAT WOULD GALILEO SAY? Before you read any further, click here. That's what Galileo saw in 1610 when he turned his small telescope toward Jupiter: a fuzzy disk surrounded by four point-like moons. It wasn't much to look at, but his pioneering observations upended 17th century cosmology.

Times have changed. Fast forward 398 years to the backyard of amateur astronomer Paul Haese in Blackwood, South Australia: "I took this picture of Jupiter on May 10th using my peltier cooled 14-inch Celestron telescope."

"The seeing was great," he says. Jupiter's moon Io appears in the foreground not as a dimensionless point of light, but a true 3D orb. The Great Red Spot, an anti-cyclone twice as wide as Earth, reveals its inner swirls while two companion red spots turn nearby: labels. The overall detail is breathtaking.

"I'm a happy camper, says Haese. "This is my best picture of Jupiter yet." And it didn't even upend cosmology. What would Galileo say to that?

[Galileo replies: "If I had used a 14-inch Celestron back in 1610, I would have undoubtedly observed that the Medicean planet has more than four moons, and I would have needed to name them not only for Prince Cosimo, but for his entire extended family!"]

Readers, Jupiter is a wonderful target for any backyard telescope and it's easy to find. Before dawn, look south for a bright light in the constellation Sagittarius: sky map.

April 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-sky Cameras]

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. [comment]
On May 13, 2008 there were 952 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 HG
May 5
17 LD
90 m
2008 DE
May 9
17 LD
550 m
2008 HD2
May 9
6.5 LD
40 m
2008 HR3
May 11
3.1 LD
50 m
2008 HW1
May 14
72 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 Links
NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
  The official U.S. government bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
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.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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