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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 394.0 km/sec
density: 0.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2343 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B3
1701 UT Jan29
24-hr: B7
0604 UT Jan29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Jan 12
None of the spots on the Earthside of the sun pose a threat for strong flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 34
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 28 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 28 Jan 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 115 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 28 Jan 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.9 nT
Bz: 2.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 29 Jan 12
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Jan 29 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
01 %
01 %
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 29 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
25 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
05 %
SEVERE
05 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
30 %
20 %
MINOR
30 %
10 %
SEVERE
10 %
05 %
 
Sunday, Jan. 29, 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

JUPITER AND THE MOON: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look up. Jupiter and the nearly-half Moon are gathered together less than 10o apart. It's a beautiful sight, and a nice way to end the day.

On Jan. 28th, pilot Brian Whittaker was flying 34,000 feet over Greenland when he saw the Moon approaching Jupiter above a vibrant blanket of auroras:

"The bright green aurora made the proximity of Jupiter, the Moon, and Venus very pretty," says Whittaker. "I can hardly wait for the closer conjunctions in late February and mid-March!"

more images: from Vesa Vauhkonen of Rautalampi, Finland; from Peter Rosen of Abisko, Sweden; from Daryl Pederson of Kihei, Maui, Hawaii; from Manfred Molkenthin of Osterholz-Scharmbeck, Lower Saxony, Germany; from Luis Argerich of Mercedes, Buenos Aires, Argentina;

RADIATION STORM: Accelerated by Friday's X-flare, energetic protons from the sun are still swarming around Earth on Jan. 29th. The radiation storm ranks S2 on NOAA scales, which means it is not a severe storm. Nevertheless, it can still affect spacecraft and satellites at the nuisance level. Click on the image for an animated demonstration:

That was a coronagraph image from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). The many speckles and streaks are energetic protons striking SOHO's onboard digital camera. Stronger radiation storms (S4 to S5) can fill images like these with "snow," rendering them useless for normal operations. The current storm will probably subside later today and restore SOHO's clear view of the sun.

FRIDAY X-FLARE: Departing sunspot 1402 unleashed an X2-class solar flare on Jan. 27th at 18:37 UT. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash:

Sunspot 1402 is rotating onto the far side of the sun, so the blast site was not facing Earth at the time of the explosion. Nevertheless, energetic protons accelerated by the blast are now surrounding our planet, and an S2-class radiation storm is in progress.

The explosion also produced a spectacular coronal mass ejection (CME). A movie from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory shows the cloud racing away from the sun at 2500 km/s or 5.6 million mph. Work by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab shows that the CME will just miss Earth when its edge passes by our planet on Jan. 30-31. Click to view an animated forecast track:

The cloud will deliver a glancing blow to Mars on Feb 1st and a nearly-direct hit to NASA's STEREO-Ahead spacecraft on Jan. 29th. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.


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 29, 2012 there were 1272 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2012 BS1
Jan 23
3.1 LD
--
10 m
2012 BY1
Jan 24
2 LD
--
30 m
1991 VK
Jan 25
25.3 LD
--
1.9 km
2012 BW13
Jan 26
1.7 LD
--
16 m
2012 BX34
Jan 27
0.2 LD
--
13 m
2012 BD14
Jan 30
5.8 LD
--
20 m
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
1996 SK
Apr 18
67.2 LD
--
1.6 km
2007 HV4
Apr 19
4.8 LD
--
8 m
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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