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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 412.8 km/sec
density: 2.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B6
1701 UT Aug22
24-hr: B6
1658 UT Aug22
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 22 Aug 12
None of these sunspots poses a threat for strong flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 64
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 22 Aug 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

Update 22 Aug 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 94 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 22 Aug 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.2 nT
Bz: 2.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 21 Aug 12
A stream of solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Aug. 26-27. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Aug 22 2200 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: 2012 Aug 22 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012
What's up in space

Thirty-five new items have just been added to our Meteorite Jewelry collection. Browse the Space Weather Store for something out of this world.

Meteorite jewelry

QUIET SUN: With no strong flares for more than 48 hours, the sun's x-ray output has nearly flatlined. Solar activity is low, and NOAA forecasters put the odds of an X-flare today at less than 1%. Solar flare alerts: text, phone.

MARTIAN TRIANGLE: The "Martian Triangle" is back. You can see it tonight beaming through the twilight in the southwestern sky after sunset. The triangle is a triple conjunction of Mars, Saturn, and blue-giant star Spica--last seen by most people on Aug. 5th when Curiosity landed on Mars. Sky maps: Aug. 21, 22.

Last night, John Chumack photographed the trio over Yellow Springs, Ohio:

"I saw the conjunction on August 21st just before a storm rolled in on me," says Chumack. "I was dodging lightning bolts around my observatory, but still got the shot."

More images of the triangle may be found in the realtime photo gallery:

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

SATELLITE THROWN OVERBOARD: On August 20th, more than 400 km above Earth, Russian cosmonauts spacewalking outside the International Space Station threw a 20-pound metal sphere into orbit. Some reporters have likened the launch to a game of Lacrosse because of the Lacrosse-style basket station commander Gennady Padalka used to propel the satellite overboard.

Last night in Brockville, Ontario, veteran satellite watcher Kevin Fetter video-recorded the "Spherical Satellite" as it passed by the 2nd-magnitude star gamma Cygnus:

"It looked to be between mag 7 and 8--too dim for the naked eye but bright enough to see in binoculars," says Fetter.

The 21-inch-wide satellite will serve as a target in space that Russian scientists will use to test space tracking techniques for monitoring space junk and to study how it re-enters Earth's atmosphere. The ball is expected to stay in orbit for about three months before falling back to Earth.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]

  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 August 22, 2012 there were 1327 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2012 PD20
Aug 18
9.7 LD
36 m
2000 ET70
Aug 21
58.5 LD
1.1 km
1998 TU3
Aug 25
49.2 LD
4.9 km
2009 AV
Aug 26
62.8 LD
1.0 km
2012 QC8
Sep 14
22.7 LD
1.1 km
1998 UO1
Oct 4
60.1 LD
2.1 km
2005 GQ21
Oct 12
77 LD
1.0 km
1998 ST49
Oct 18
28.7 LD
1.3 km
1991 VE
Oct 26
34 LD
1.1 km
2001 CV26
Oct 30
68 LD
2.4 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
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
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