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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 523.3 km/sec
density: 0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1949 UT Oct12
24-hr: C9
0820 UT Oct12
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2259 UT
Daily Sun: 12 Oct 12
Sunspot 1589 poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 82
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 12 Oct 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

Update 12 Oct 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 117 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 12 Oct 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= 4
unsettled
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 10.1 nT
Bz: 7.2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 12 Oct 12
Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Oct. 14-15. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Oct 12 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
35 %
35 %
CLASS X
10 %
10 %
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 Oct 12 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
30 %
MINOR
05 %
10 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
30 %
SEVERE
20 %
40 %
 
Friday, Oct. 12, 2012
What's up in space
 

They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store.

 
Own your own meteorite

ASTEROID FLYBY--TODAY: Newly-discovered asteroid 2012 TC4 will fly past Earth on Oct. 12th only 96,000 km (0.25 LD) away. There is no danger of a collision, but the 16 meter-wide space rock will be close enough to photograph through backyard telescopes as it brightens to approximately 14th magnitude. NASA hopes to ping this this object with radar, refining its orbit and possibly measuring its shape. Stay tuned for updates. [3D Orbit] [ephemeris] [more] [Images: #1, #2]

RADIO STORM ON JUPITER: Last night there was a storm on Jupiter--a radio storm. Amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft recorded the event using a shortwave radio telescope located in New Mexico. Click on the dynamic spectrum (a plot of intensity vs. frequency vs. time) to hear the whooshing, crackling, popping sounds that emerged from his telescope's loudspeaker:


Dynamic spectrum courtesy of Wes Greenman, Radio Alachua Observatory

"Listen to the recording in stereo," advises Ashcraft. "I recorded the audio from two separate radios at 21.1 MHz and 20.9 MHz, so there is a stereo spatial effect from the frequency drift of the emissions."

Jupiter's radio storms are caused by natural radio lasers in the planet's magnetosphere that sweep past Earth as Jupiter rotates. Electrical currents flowing between Jupiter's upper atmosphere and the volcanic moon Io can boost these emissions to power levels easily detected by ham radio antennas on Earth. Jovian "S-bursts" and "L-bursts" mimic the sounds of woodpeckers, whales, and waves crashing on the beach. Here are a few audio samples: S-bursts, S-bursts (slowed down 128:1), L-Bursts

Now is a good time to listen to Jupiter's radio storms. The distance between Earth and Jupiter is decreasing as the giant planet approches opposition on Dec. 3rd; the closer Jupiter gets, the louder it gets. NASA's Radio Jove Project explains how to build your own receiver.

DRACONID METEOR OUTBURST: On Oct. 8th, more than 2000 meteors per hour exploded across the skies of North America and Europe. Radars in Canada and Germany detected the outburst of Draconids, yet sky watchers saw almost nothing. The meteors were too dim for human vision. Nevertheless, a meteor camera in Serbia captured visual evidence that an outburst was underway:

These seven Draconids appeared over the Petnica Science Center at the Institute of Physics in Belgrade. They were the bright "tip of the iceberg" marking the presence of an underlying stream of much dimmer and more numerous meteoroids. Researchers believe the outburst happened when Earth passed through a stream of dusty debris from Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, parent of the annual Draconid meteor shower. This particular stream was laid down by the comet when it passed by Earth's orbit in 1959.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

SATISFACTORY LIGHTS: A coronal mass ejection hit Earth's magnetic field on Oct. 8th, sparking a dramatic display of Arctic lights that is only slowly subsiding three days later. Hugo Løhre photographed the auroras over Lekangsund, Norway, on Oct. 10th:

"I was testing my new Nikon digital camera when these auroras appeared," says Løhre. "I am satisfied."

More lights like these could appear on Oct. 14-15. That's when a stream of solar wind spewing from a hole in the suns atmosphere (a "coronal hole") is expected to reach Earth, possibly sparking geomagnetic storms when it arrives. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery


Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]

  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 October 12, 2012 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2012 TJ53
Oct 6
3.1 LD
--
24 m
2012 TV
Oct 7
0.7 LD
--
39 m
2012 TM79
Oct 9
0.2 LD
--
21 m
2012 TC4
Oct 12
0.2 LD
--
21 m
2005 GQ21
Oct 12
77 LD
--
1.0 km
2012 TE79
Oct 17
5.7 LD
--
19 m
1998 ST49
Oct 18
28.7 LD
--
1.3 km
2012 TD79
Oct 18
7.2 LD
--
55 m
1991 VE
Oct 26
34 LD
--
1.1 km
2001 CV26
Oct 30
68 LD
--
2.4 km
2007 PA8
Nov 5
16.8 LD
--
2.4 km
2010 JK1
Nov 25
9.3 LD
--
56 m
2009 LS
Nov 28
55.2 LD
--
1.1 km
2009 BS5
Dec 11
8.4 LD
--
15 m
4179 Toutatis
Dec 12
18 LD
--
2.7 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
Space Weather Alerts
   
  more links...
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