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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 643.2 km/sec
density: 0.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M1
2026 UT May10
24-hr: M5
0418 UT May10
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 10 May 12
Sunspot 1476 poses a threat for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 79
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 09 May 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 09 May 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 127 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 09 May 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.6 nT
Bz: 3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 10 May 12
Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole is buffeting Earth's magnetic field. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 May 10 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
75 %
75 %
CLASS X
20 %
20 %
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 May 10 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
20 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
40 %
40 %
MINOR
10 %
10 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Thursday, May. 10, 2012
What's up in space
 

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SOLAR ACTIVITY INTENSIFIES: Huge sunspot AR1476 is crackling with M-class solar flares and appears to be on the verge of producing something even stronger. The sunspot's 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field harbors energy for X-class flares, the most powerful kind. Earth is entering the line of fire as the sunspot rotates across the face of the sun.

This morning, May 10th around 0418 UT, sunspot 1476 unleashed an impulsive M5-class solar flare. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash:

Apparently, the almost-X class explosion did not hurl a significant CME toward Earth. NOAA forecasters estimate a 65% chance of more M-class flares and a 10% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours. X-flare alerts: text, phone.

WHAT DOES A SUNSPOT SOUND LIKE? On May 9th, amateur astronomer Thomas Ashcraft of New Mexico detected strong shortwave radio bursts coming from the sunspot. Click to hear the "solar static" that roared out of his loudspeaker:


Dynamic spectrum courtesy of Wes Greenman, Alachua Radio Observatory

"The strongest burst so far occured around 1631 UT on May 9th," reports Ashcraft. "I am observing at 28 MHz and 21.1 MHz. As I send this note I am hearing more bursting, indicating powerful magnetic dynamism within active region 1476."

Solar radio bursts are caused by plasma instabilities that ripple through the sun's atmosphere in the aftermath of powerful flares. With AR1476 poised for more eruptions, this 'radio activity' is likely to continue for days. Stay tuned.

SUNSPOT SUNRISE: Sunspot AR1476 is so large, people are noticing it without the aide of a solar telescope. The behemoth appears at sunrise and sunset when the light of the low-hanging sun is occasionally dimmed to human visibility. Stefano De Rosa sends this picture from Turin, Italy:


Photo details: Canon Eos 5D Mark II; Focal length:700mm; Exp: 1/8000 sec; F/40; ISO:50

"This morning the sight of the majestic sunspot AR 1476 was great as the sun was rising alongside the Basilica of Superga!" says De Rosa.

The sunspot looks a lot like Hawaii, but it is much bigger than any island on Earth. From end to end the sprawling active region stretches ~160,000 km, or a dozen times wider than our entire planet. If you have a sunspot telescope, take a look. The view is magnificent.

more images: from William Parker of Port Angeles, WA; from Alberto Lao of Binondo, Manila, Philippines; from Tom Murdic of Franklin, Tennessee; from Jett Aguilar of Quezon City, Philippines;

Caution: Even when the sun is dimmed by clouds and haze, looking into the glare can damage your eyes. Looking through unfiltered optics is even worse. If you chose to photograph the low sun with a digital camera, please use the camera's LCD screen for pointing. Do not peer through the optical viewfinder.

  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 May 10, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
1992 JD
May 2
9.5 LD
--
43 m
2012 HA34
May 2
2.9 LD
--
38 m
2010 KK37
May 19
2.3 LD
--
31 m
4183 Cuno
May 20
47.4 LD
--
5.7 km
2002 VX94
May 26
72.8 LD
--
1.1 km
2002 AC
Jun 16
62.2 LD
--
1.2 km
1999 BJ8
Jun 16
68.8 LD
--
1.1 km
2005 GO21
Jun 21
17.1 LD
--
2.2 km
2003 KU2
Jul 15
40.3 LD
--
1.3 km
2004 EW9
Jul 16
46.8 LD
--
2.1 km
2002 AM31
Jul 22
13.7 LD
--
1.0 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
Trade Show Displays
   
  more links...
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