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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 306.1 km/sec
density: 0.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M6
1738 UT Feb13
24-hr: M6
1738 UT Feb13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 13 Feb 11
SUnspot AR1158 is growing rapidly and poses a threat for Earth-directed C-flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 63
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 12 Feb 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 1 day (3%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 12 Feb 2011


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 96 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 12 Feb 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.6 nT
Bz: 3.3 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 12 Feb 11
Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal holes could brush past Earth's magnetic field between Feb. 13th and 15th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Feb 13 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
30 %
30 %
CLASS X
05 %
05 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2011 Feb 13 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
25 %
MINOR
05 %
10 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
30 %
MINOR
10 %
15 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011
What's up in space
 

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

 
Metallic pictures of the Sun

SDO SUNDOG MYSTERY: One year ago, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory amazed observers when it destroyed a sundog en route to orbit. A new analysis of the event is shedding light on the surprising way rocket shock-waves interact with clouds. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

EARTH-DIRECTED SOLAR FLARE: On Feb. 13th at 1738 UT, sunspot 1158 unleashed the strongest solar flare of the year so far, an M6.6-category blast. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded an intense flash of extreme ultraviolet radiation, circled below:

The eruption produced a loud blast of radio waves heard in shortwave receivers around the dayside of our planet. In New Mexico, amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft recorded these sounds at 19 to 21 MHz. "This was some of the strongest radio bursting of the new solar cycle," he says. "What a great solar day."

Preliminary coronagraph data from STEREO-A and SOHO agree that the explosion produced a fast but not particularly bright coronal mass ejection (CME). The cloud will likely hit Earth's magnetic field on or about Feb. 15th. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

The source of this activity, sunspot 1158 is growing rapidly (48 hour movie). The active region is now more than 100,000 km wide with at least a dozen Earth-sized dark cores scattered beneath its unstable magnetic canopy. More Earth-directed eruptions are likely in the hours ahead.

THE PERFECT VALENTINE'S GIFT: How about a plane ticket to Norway? A solar wind stream due to brush past Earth's magnetic field around Feb. 14th could spark romantic lights around the Arctic Circle. Gabi and Gunter Reichert send this preview from Henningsvaer, a fishing village in Norway's Lofoten islands:

Note the wildlife in the foreground. "We were taking pictures of the Northern Lights on Feb. 10th when this fox strolled right into our photo," say Gabi and Gunter. "He looked at us from a distance of 4 or 5 meters, yawned, and then laid down. We illuminated him with a little lamp to get this composite of green auroras with a red onlooker."

Aurora watchers red and otherwise should be alert for polar geomagnetic storms next week. Aurora alerts make a nice Valentine's Gift, too: text or voice!

more images: from Valentin Jiganov in the Murmansk region of Russia; from LeRoy Zimmerman of Ester, Alaska; from Øystein Ingvaldsen of Norway; from Maxim Letovaltsev in the Hibiny mountains of Russia; from Chad Blakley of Abisko National Park, Sweden; from Hinrich Baesemann of Tromsø, northern Norway;

February 2011 Aurora Photo Gallery
[previous Februaries: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]

  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 February 13, 2011 there were 1198 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2011 CA7
Feb 9
0.3 LD
--
4 m
2011 CZ3
Feb 10
2.5 LD
--
24 m
2003 YG118
Feb 20
67.7 LD
--
1.8 km
2000 PN9
Mar 10
45.5 LD
--
2.6 km
2002 DB4
Apr 15
62.5 LD
--
2.2 km
2008 UC202
Apr 27
8.9 LD
--
10 m
2009 UK20
May 2
8.6 LD
--
23 m
2008 FU6
May 5
75.5 LD
--
1.2 km
2003 YT1
May 5
65.3 LD
--
2.5 km
2002 JC
Jun 1
57.5 LD
--
1.6 km
2009 BD
Jun 2
0.9 LD
--
9 m
2002 JB9
Jun 11
71.5 LD
--
3.2 km
2001 VH75
Jun 12
42.2 LD
--
1.1 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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