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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: 285.0 km/sec
density: 1.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2333 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
1905 UT Dec31
24-hr: B2
0110 UT Dec31
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 31 Dec. 09
Growing sunspot 1039 is a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 15
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 30 Dec 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 771 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 30 Dec 2009


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 77 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 30 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= 0
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.8 nT
Bz: 0.9 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 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 31 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 31 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 31, 2009

SATELLITE FLYBYS APP: Turn your iPhone or iPod into a field-tested satellite tracker! Spaceweather.com presents the Satellite Flybys app.

 

BLUE MOON ON NEW YEAR'S EVE: Believe it or not, tonight's full Moon is a "Blue Moon." It's the second full Moon this month and the first Blue Moon to fall on New Year's Eve in nearly 20 years. Sounds like a rare excuse for a party...

There's more. In Europe, Africa and Asia, the Blue Moon will dip into Earth's shadow for a partial lunar eclipse. At maximum eclipse, around 19:24 Universal Time, approximately 8% of the Moon will be darkly shadowed: animated preview.


Above: A similar eclipse in 2006. Credit: John Stetson. [more]

Blue Moons are rare (once every 2.5 years). Blue Moons on New Year's Eve are rarer still (once every 19 years). How rare is a lunar eclipse of a Blue Moon on New Year's Eve?

A search of NASA's Five Millennium Catalogue of Lunar Eclipses provides an approximate answer. In the next 1000 years, Blue Moons on New Year's Eve will be eclipsed only 11 times (once every 91 years). A year of special note is 2848 when there will be two lunar eclipses in December--on Dec. 1st and Dec. 31st. Such a double-Blue Moon-lunar eclipse ending on New Year's Eve appears to be a millennium-level event. That's rare.

Go outside and enjoy the moonlight!

SUNSPOT SURGE: 2009 is ending with a flurry of sunspots. Indeed, if sunspot 1039 holds together for the rest of today (prediction: it will), the month of December will accumulate a total of 22 spotted days and the final tally for the year will look like this:

The dark line is a linear least-squares fit to the data. If the trend continues exactly as shown (prediction: it won't), sunspots will become a non-stop daily occurance no later than February 2011. Blank suns would cease and solar minimum would be over.

If the past two years have taught us anything, however, it is that the sun can be tricky and unpredictable. Stay tuned for surprises.


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 31, 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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