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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: 388.9 km/sec
density: 3.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Sep05
24-hr: A0
0045 UT Sep05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 05 Sept. 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots.. Photo credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 Sept 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 3 days
2009 total: 196 days (79%)
Since 2004: 707 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 04 Sept 2009

Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals a possible sunspot on the far side of the sun--but it is not real. It is a noisy artifact of the data processing. The sun remains blank. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.0 nT
Bz: 0.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Sep 05 2201 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: 2009 Sep 05 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
September 5, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you miss the Northern Lights? In July they descended as far south as Nebraska. Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.

 

ARE SUNSPOTS DISAPPEARING? The sun is in the pits of the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century. Weeks and sometimes whole months go by without even a single tiny sunspot. Are sunspots disappearing? Experts discuss the question in today's story from Science@NASA.

SOLAR MINIMUM VS. GLOBAL WARMING: From 2002 to 2008, decreasing solar irradiance has countered much anthropogenic warming of Earth's surface. That's the conclusion of researchers Judith Lean (NRL) and David Rind (NASA/GISS), who have just published a new analysis of global temperatures in the Geophysical Research Letters. Lean and Rind considered four drivers of climate change: solar activity, volcanic eruptions, ENSO (El Nino), and the accumulation of greenhouse gases. The following plot shows how much each has contributed to the changing temperature of Earth's surface since 1980:

Volcanic aerosols are a source of cooling; ENSO and greenhouse gases cause heating; the solar cycle can go either way. When added together, these factors can account for 76% of the variance in Earth's surface temperature over the past ~30 years, according to the analysis of Lean and Rind.

Several aspects of their model attract attention: "The warmest year on record, 1998, coincides with the 'super-El Nino' of 1997-98," points out Lean. "The ESNO is capable of producing significant spikes in the temperature record." Solar minimum has the opposite effect: "A 0.1% decrease in the sun's irradiance has counteracted some of the warming action of greenhouse gases from 2002 - 2008," she notes. "This is the reason for the well-known 'flat' temperature trend of recent years."

What's next? Ultimately, the authors say, temperatures will begin rising again as greenhouse gases accumulate and solar activity resumes with the coming of the next solar cycle. Of couse, the solar cycle could be out of whack; if solar minimum deepens and persists, no one is certain what will happen. Lean and Rind reveal their predictions for the future here.

Reference: Lean, J. L., and D. H. Rind (2009), How will Earth's surface temperature change in future decades?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L15708

FAITH FULL MOON: "I'm spending the Labor Day weekend up in Yellowstone National Park," reports astronomy professor Jimmy Westlake of Colorado Mountain College. "I took the opportunity to capture an eruption of the Old Faithful geyser in front of the beautiful full Moon." He calls this snapshot Faith Full Moon:

"The Moon is visible through the top of Old Faithful's steamy plume," he points out. "I took the picture using a Fuji Finepix S2 digital camera set at ISO 800 for a 4-second exposure."

Readers in Yellowstone should note that this scene will repeat itself about every two hours throughout the night. Grab your camera!


August 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Augusts: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001]


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 September 5, 2009 there were 1068 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Sept. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2009 QC35
Sept. 2
2.9 LD
17
35 m
2009 HD21
Sept. 29
22.9 LD
15
1.0 km
1998 FW4
Sept. 29
8.6 LD
14
550 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 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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