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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 353.9 km/sec
density: 1.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B4
2231 UT May21
24-hr: B6
1559 UT May21
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 21 May 12
None of the sunspots on the Earthside of the sun is actively flaring. Solar activity is low. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 124
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 20 May 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 20 May 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 131 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 20 May 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 4
unsettled
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.5 nT
Bz: 2.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 21 May 12
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 May 21 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
10 %
10 %
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 May 21 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
20 %
MINOR
10 %
10 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
25 %
25 %
MINOR
15 %
15 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Monday, May. 21, 2012
What's up in space
 

Listen to radar echoes from satellites and meteors, live on listener-supported Space Weather Radio.

 
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INTERPLANETARY SHOCK WAVE: An interpanetary shock wave possibly associated with the M5-class solar flare of May 17th swept past Earth on May 20th around 0200 UT. The shock's arrival caused geomagnetic activity around the poles, and several outbreaks of high-latitude auroras. Images: #1, #2.

FANTASTIC ECLIPSE: The Moon passed in front of the sun on Sunday, May 20th, producing a deep solar eclipse visible across the Pacific side of Earth. Sunlight dimmed, the air cooled, ordinary sunbeams turned into fat crescents and rings of light. Here is a sample view from Lake Waconia, Minnesota:

"I drove to the lake, and a couple of fishermen were kind enough to drop their lines in the glitter path of the eclipse," says photographer Tyler Burg. "It was a fantastic composition!"

NEW: Space Weather Real Time Image Gallery

more images: from Mike Theiss of New Mexico; from Sze-leung Cheung of Hong Kong; from Jimmy and Linda Westlake of Sundown, Texas; from Joe C. Olsen of South of Justiceberg, Texas; from Elon Gane of El Dorado Springs, MO; from Randy Shivak of Anthem, Arizona; from Phebe Pan of Xinfeng, Guangdong, China; from Bob Kelly of Story City, Iowa; from Tom Wagner of Waterloo, Iowa; from Jacob Silco of Finger Lakes, NY; from Dennis Mammana of Canyon de Chelly, Arizona; from Brett Nickeson of Walnut, Iowa; from Robert Ball of Albuquerque, NM; from Beth Kaeser of San Diego CA; from Elon Gane of El Dorado Springs, MO; from Raven Yu of Marikina City, Philippines;

VENUS TRANSFORMED: Something special is happening to Venus in the evening sky. The second planet is diving toward the sun for a much-anticipated transit on June 5-6. As Venus turns its night side toward Earth, the planet is transforming into a beautifully slender and colorful crescent:

John Chumack of Dayton, Ohio, took the picture on May 14th using a 10-inch telescope. "I was blown away by the sight of Venus," he says. "The planet was 14% illuminated, 47 arcseconds in diameter, and blazing at -4.43 magnitude."

The crescent shape of Venus is easy to see in good binoculars or small telescopes. No special observing experience is required. Just find Venus in the western sky after sunset (you can't miss it), point and look. A good tripod to hold the optics steady is recommended.

As the evening wears on and Venus sinks toward the horizon, the refractive effect of Earth's atmosphere splits the crescent into the colors of the rainbow. Kevin R. Witman of Cochranville, Pennsylvania, observed the phenomenon on May 11th: "Earth's atmospheric refraction of Venus's ample light made a beautiful image through my 10-inch telescope."

more images: from Mark Marquette of Boones Creek, Tennessee; from Philippe Vanden Doorn of Rixensart, Belgium; from Luis Argerich of Buenos Aires, Argentina; from Tomasz Gołombek of Tczew, Poland; from Francesc Pruneda of Palamós, Catalonia (Spain); from Sadegh Ghomizadeh of Tehran, Iran;

  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 May 21, 2012 there were 1293 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2012 KA
May 17
0.6 LD
--
9 m
2010 KK37
May 19
2.3 LD
--
31 m
4183 Cuno
May 20
47.4 LD
--
5.7 km
2012 KW
May 21
3.4 LD
--
19 m
2012 JV11
May 22
6.7 LD
--
68 m
2002 VX94
May 26
72.8 LD
--
1.1 km
2002 AC
Jun 16
62.2 LD
--
1.2 km
1999 BJ8
Jun 16
68.8 LD
--
1.1 km
2005 GO21
Jun 21
17.1 LD
--
2.2 km
2003 KU2
Jul 15
40.3 LD
--
1.3 km
2004 EW9
Jul 16
46.8 LD
--
2.1 km
2002 AM31
Jul 22
13.7 LD
--
1.0 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
Trade Show Displays
   
  more links...
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