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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
SPACE WEATHER
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 362.6 km/sec
density: 1.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A6
1745 UT Dec27
24-hr: B7
1140 UT Dec27
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 27 Dec. 09
Sunspot 1039 is a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 13
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 26 Dec 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2009 total: 260 days (72%)
Since 2004: 771 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 26 Dec 2009


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 76 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 26 Dec 2009

Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no large sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.7 nT
Bz: 2.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes in the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Dec 27 2201 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
05 %
05 %
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: 2009 Dec 27 2201 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
December 27, 2009

ASTRONOMY ALERTS: Looking for a unique and affordable gift? Give the heavens for Christmas at Spaceweather PHONE.

 

BIG INTERSTELLAR DISCOVERY: The solar system is passing through an interstellar cloud that physics says should not exist. In the Dec. 24th issue of Nature, a team of scientists reveal how NASA's Voyager spacecraft have solved the mystery. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

SOLAR ACTIVITY INTENSIFIES: 2009 is ending with a flurry of sunspots. The latest is sunspot 1039, which formed yesterday and is now crackling with low-level solar flares. Cai-Uso Wohler sends this picture of a B-class eruption from his backyard observatory in Bispingen, Germany:

So far, 65% of the days in December have brought sunspots--a sharp increase in percentages compared to earlier months of 2009 when sunspots were surpassingly rare. All six of December's sunspot groups have been members of new Solar Cycle 24. These numbers could herald the sun's awakening from the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century and a livelier sun in 2010. Stay tuned.

more images: from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from Marco Vidovic of Stojnci, Slovenia; from Stephen Ames of Hodgenville, Kentucky

JACK FROST: Last night, Jack Frost paid a visit to Pennsylvania. "This morning when I went out to get my newspaper, I found my cars covered in a spectacular assortment of frost patterns," says Jeff Orner of Boiling Springs. "I had to hurry before the sun rose and rendered them gone forever."

The evening before there had been "a light rain and sub-freezing temperatures," says Orner. This set the stage for a great display of morning frost.

It works like this: When air is saturated with water, water molecules can crystalize on freezing surfaces, transforming directly from an amorphous vapor to a crystalline solid. This is called depositional frost or hoarfrost. Tiny manufacturing imperfections, scratches, and/or dust on car doors, windshields and hoods serve as nucleation points for the crystalization process. From such humble beginnings, spectacular frost patterns form.

Is it cold and wet where you live? Be alert for Jack Frost.

more images: from Charlie Flindt of Hinton Ampner, Hampshire, England.


December Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Decembers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2001, 2000]


Explore the Sunspot Cycle

       
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 December 27, 2009 there were 1091 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Dec. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2009 WV25
Dec. 1
2.9 LD
16
65 m
2009 WA52
Dec. 5
8.2 LD
20
23 m
2002 WP
Dec. 6
71.2 LD
16
950 m
2009 XO2
Dec. 23
8.6 LD
16
85 m
2009 YR
Dec. 25
4.3 LD
20
10 m
24761 Ahau
Jan. 11
70.8 LD
16
1.4 km
2000 YH66
Jan. 12
69.5 LD
17
1.1 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 space weather bureau
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.
STEREO
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
   
  more links...
   
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