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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 399.5 km/sec
density: 13.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B9
2258 UT Jan15
24-hr: C2
0210 UT Jan15
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 15 Jan 12
New sunspots 1401 and 1402 pose a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 145
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 14 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 14 Jan 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 132 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 14 Jan 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.4 nT
Bz: 2.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 14 Jan 12
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Jan. 16-17. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Jan 15 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
20 %
20 %
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 Jan 15 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
20 %
MINOR
01 %
15 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Sunday, Jan. 15, 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

PHOBOS-GRUNT DESTROYED: According to the Russian space agency and the U.S. Space Command, the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft re-entered Earth's atmosphere on Jan. 15th shortly before 1 p.m. EST. So far, no photographs of the fireball or other debris have been submitted to spaceweather.com. Initial estimates of the final ground track suggest a re-entry in the south Pacific in the broad vicinity of Australia and New Zealand..

ACTIVE SUNSPOTS: Crackling with C-class solar flares, a pair of active sunspots is emerging over the sun's northeastern limb. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed the pair during the early hours of Jan. 15th:

These sunspots have the potential for strong eruptions. Sunspot 1401 produced an M1-flare on Jan. 14th. Two days earlier, while it was still on the farside of the sun, sunspot 1402 produced a partially-eclipsed flare of uncertain magnitude that created waves of ionization in the atmosphere over Europe.

NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance of more M-flares during the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

more images: from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from Stefano Sello of Pisa, Italy; from Jo Dahlmans of Ulestraten The Netherlands; from Alexandra Hart of Cheshire, UK; from John Chumack of Dayton, Ohio; from John Stetson of Falmouth, Maine

POLAR STRATOSPHERIC CLOUDS: An apparition of polar stratospheric clouds is underway around the Arctic Circle. "It is almost as good as the aurora borealis," says Göran Strand, who took this picture last night from Östersund, Sweden:

Eric Schandall of Oslo, Norway, adds this report: "We have seen them for three evenings over Oslo, with the ones on Jan. 13th being the most dramatic and beautiful so far."

Also known as "nacreous" or "mother of pearl" clouds, these icy clouds form in the lower stratosphere when temperatures drop to around minus 85ºC. Sunlight shining through tiny ice particles ~10µm across produce the characteristic bright iridescent colors by diffraction and interference.

"Nacreous clouds far outshine and have much more vivid colours than ordinary iridescent clouds, which are very much poor relations and seen frequently all over the world," writes atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "Once seen they are never forgotten."


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


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 15, 2012 there were 1272 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2012 AW10
Jan 9
3.4 LD
--
31 m
2012 AQ10
Jan 16
2.2 LD
--
22 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
73.4 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.
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
Science Central
Trade Show Displays
   
  more links...
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