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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 431.2 km/sec
density: 1.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B5
1849 UT Dec12
24-hr: B5
1849 UT Dec12
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 12 Dec 10
A small sunspot is emerging at the circcled location. Credit: SDO/HMI 2-day movie: 9 MB mpg
Sunspot number: 25
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 11 Dec 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 45 days (13%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 813 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 11 Dec 2010


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 87 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 11 Dec 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.9 nT
Bz: 3.2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 12 Dec 10
Earth is entering a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Dec 12 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: 2010 Dec 12 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
10 %
MINOR
05 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010
What's up in space
 

ON SALE NOW: The David H. Levy Comet Hunter -- offering the clearest views of Comet Hartley 2.

 

GEMINID METEOR UPDATE: Spotters for the International Meteor Organization are now counting more than 30 meteors per hour as the Geminid meteor shower intensifies. On peak night, Dec. 13th-14th, forecasters expect rates to soar as high as 120 per hour for observers with dark rural skies: sky map. Got clouds? You can listen to Geminid radar echoes on Space Weather Radio.

SPIRAL ASTEROID: On Dec. 12th, the International Astronomical Union issued a telegram (CBET nr.2583) announcing the discovery of a spiral structure around main belt asteroid (596) Scheila. Steve Larson of the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) found the curious shape in images obtained Dec. 11th through the Catalina 0.68-m Schmidt telescope. Other observers have since confirmed the phenomenon. The following picture was taken on Dec. 12th by Italian astronomers Ernesto Guido and Giovanni Sostero using a remotely-controlled 0.25m telescope in New Mexico:

What's going on? There are at least two possibilities. (1) A small asteroid might have hit 596 Scheila, raising a cloud of dust which forms a nebula around larger space rock. A 1-meter class impactor could be large enough to do the trick. (2) 596 Scheila might be a rare main belt comet, a body with the orbital characteristics of an asteroid and the physical characteristics of a comet. If so, a pocket of volatile ice might be vaporizing to produce the spiraling tail.

How the nebula or tail evolves in the days ahead could provide important clues. Amateur astronomers with experience in asteroid imaging are encouraged to monitor developments. [3D orbit] [ephemeris (enter "Scheila" in the search box)]

more images: from Charles Bell of Vicksburg, Mississippi

TRIPLE ERUPTION: Solar activity surged on Sunday, Dec. 12th, when the sun erupted three times in quick succession, hurling a trio of bright coronal mass ejections (CMEs) into space. Coronagraphs onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory recorded the action:


Click here to play a 9 MB gif movie

A preliminary analysis suggests that none of the CMEs will be geoeffective. The expanding clouds should miss our planet.

Are these CMEs related? According to images from NASA's twin STEREO spacecraft and the Solar Dynamics Observatory, the clouds emerged from three distinct blast sites separated by great distances. In each case, a magnetic filament erupted--one near the sun's southeastern limb (CME#1), one near the north pole (CME#2), and one on the far side of the sun (CME#3). Because all three eruptions occcured within a matter of hours, the coronagraph images suggest a single 3-lobed cloud; in fact, they are distinct CMEs.

Stay tuned for more images and movies, in perparation.


November 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Novembers: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000]

  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 12, 2010 there were 1167 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2010 TQ19
Oct 8
9.6 LD
18
37 m
2010 TS19
Oct 10
3.7 LD
18
31 m
2010 TD54
Oct 12
0.1 LD
14
7 m
2010 TB54
Oct 13
6.1 LD
20
19 m
1999 VO6
Oct 14
34.3 LD
16
1.8 km
2010 TK
Oct 16
4.5 LD
18
37 m
1998 TU3
Oct 17
69.1 LD
13
5.2 km
2010 TG19
Oct 22
1.1 LD
15
70 m
1998 MQ
Oct 23
77.7 LD
15
1.9 km
2007 RU17
Oct 29
39.2 LD
15
1.1 km
2003 UV11
Oct 30
5 LD
12
595 m
3838 Epona
Nov 7
76.8 LD
14
3.4 km
2005 QY151
Nov 16
77.7 LD
17
1.3 km
2008 KT
Nov 23
5.6 LD
21
10 m
2002 EZ16
Nov 30
73.9 LD
16
1.0 km
2000 JH5
Dec 7
47 LD
-
1.5 km
2010 JL33
Dec 9
16.6 LD
13
1.3 km
2008 EA32
Jan 7
76.5 LD
-
2.1 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 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
   
  more links...
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