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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: 492.8 km/sec
density: 1.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT May07
24-hr: A0
2245 UT May07
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 07 May 08
New-cycle sunspot 993 has faded away and is no longer visible in white-light images of the sun. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 07 May 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the farside of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.5 nT
Bz: 0.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 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: 2008 May 07 2203 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: 2008 May 07 2203 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
May 7, 2008
MOTHER'S DAY: Give your mom a truly heavenly gift on May 11th--a subscription to Space Weather PHONE!  

AMAZING PROMINENCE: Today, a massive solar prominence is delighting amateur astronomers with its rapid mutations. "I've seen lots of prominences in my time, but this one is totally amazing," reports Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK. "Each half-hour shot I took of it recorded large structural changes." One photo, he insists, looks like a War of the Worlds martian. "That's the best part of solar astronomy, it's never the same," adds Greg Piepol of Rockville, Maryland. Readers, if you have a solar telescope, look now!

EARLY NOCTILUCENT CLOUDS: Just before daybreak on May 5th, experienced sky watchers in Northern Ireland were surprised by a sudden apparition of noctilucent clouds (NLCs). "I was outdoors looking for eta Aquarid meteors when I spotted an eerie glow between my neigbour's houses." reports Martin McKenna of Maghera, Co. Derry. "The strong blue color was unmistakable--it was an NLC." He took this picture at 4 a.m. local time:

Noctilucent clouds are mainly a summertime phenomenon and it is very unusual for them to appear so early in May. "In my long years of observing NLCs, this is the earliest I have ever seen them," says John C McConnell who photographed the same May 5th display from Maghaberry, Northern Ireland: image.

These sightings only add to the mystery of NLCs. High-latitude "night-shining clouds" were first reported in the 19th century after the eruption of super-volcano Krakatoa. At the time, the clouds were widely thought to be associated with the volcano. Long after the ash settled, however, NLCs persisted. In recent years they have intensified and spread with sightings as far south as Utah and Colorado. What causes the phenomenon? A NASA spacecraft named AIM is orbiting Earth on a mission to find out.

The early onset of NLCs could herald a spectacular season to come. Readers, browse our 2007 NLC Photo Gallery for observing tips.

Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
["Noctilucent Cloud"--the song] [NLC Basics]

SUNSET SKY SHOW: Last night, sky watchers around the world enjoyed a lovely conjunction of the crescent Moon and Mercury. As soon as the sun went down, the duo popped out of the darkening western twilight:

"I noticed the alert on SpaceWeather saying the Moon and Mercury would be close together," says photographer Daniel O'Malley of DeWitt, Michigan. "The sky was clear, I had my Nikon D40X handy and I took this 3-second exposure at ISO 200."

A similar (but less dramatic) scene repeats tonight. At sunset, look for the crescent Moon well above the tree tops; trace a line straight down to find Mercury: sky map.

more images: from Jerzy Rafalski of Piwnice near Torun, Poland; from David Joly of Trois-Rivières, Québec, Canada; from Donatas Tamonis near Kaunas, Lithuania; from Dr. Fritz Helmut Hemmerich atop the Teide volcano, Canary Islands; from Tamas Ladanyi of Lake Balaton, Hungary; from Thierry Demange of Ribeauvillé, Alsace, France; from Kevin Jung of Grand Rapids, Michigan; from P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden.


April 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-sky Cameras]

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. [comment]
On May 7, 2008 there were 951 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2008 HG
May 5
17 LD
18
90 m
2008 DE
May 9
17 LD
16
550 m
2008 HD2
May 9
6.5 LD
19
40 m
2008 HR3
May 11
3.1 LD
17
50 m
2008 HW1
May 14
72 LD
17
1.4 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 bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
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.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2008, SpaceWeather.com -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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