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Solar wind
speed: 333.1 km/sec
density: 9.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C4
2204 UT May14
24-hr: X3
0111 UT May14
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 14 May 13
Sunspot AR1748 is crackling with X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 144
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 14 May 2013

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2013 total: 0 days (0%)
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
14 May 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 147 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 14 May 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.6 nT
Bz: 3.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1854 UT
Coronal Holes: 14 May 13
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 May 14 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
80 %
80 %
CLASS X
50 %
50 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2013 May 14 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
25 %
15 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
30 %
25 %
SEVERE
30 %
25 %
 
Tuesday, May. 14, 2013
What's up in space
 

When is the best time to see auroras? Where is the best place to go? And how do you photograph them? These questions and more are answered in a new book, Northern Lights - a Guide, by Pal Brekke & Fredrik Broms.

 
Northern Lights - a Guide

SOLAR ACTIVITY SURGES: A sunspot on the sun's eastern limb is crackling with powerful X-class solar flares. AR1748 announced itself during the early hours of May 13th with an X1.7-class eruption (0217 UT), quickly followed by an X2.8-class flare (1609 UT) and an X3.2-class flare (0117 UT on May 14). These are the strongest flares of the year so far, and they signal a significant increase in solar activity. NOAA forecasters estimate a 50% chance of more X-flares during the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

All of these flares have produced strong flashes of extreme ultraviolet radiation. Here is the view of the latest eruption, which registered X3.2 on the Richter Scale of Solar Flares, from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:

The explosions have also hurled coronal mass ejections (CMEs) into space. Coronagraphs onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory are tracking the clouds: movie. The planet in the CME movie is Mercury. Although the CMEs appear to hit Mercury, they do not. In fact, no planets were in the line of fire. However, the CMEs appear to be on course to hit NASA's Epoxi and Spitzer spacecraft on May 15-16.

Updated May 14th @ 7:30 PDT: When the action began on May 13th, the instigating sunspot was hidden behind the sun's eastern limb, but now solar rotation is bringing the active region into view. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory captured this view of AR1748 emerging on May 14th:

Sunspot AR1478 is not particularly large, but it is complex, with many dark core scattered through its zone of influence. This is a sign of a complicated overlying magnetic field. When tangled lines of magnetic force criss, cross, and reconnect--voila! A flare occurs. NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of more X-flares during the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

ION WAVES IN THE ATMOSPHERE: Although AR1748 is not directly facing Earth, its strong flares have nevertheless affected our atmosphere. UV and X-radiation hitting the top of the atmosphere ionizes atoms and molecules, creating ion waves over the dayside of the planet. Roberto Battaiola detected these waves on May 13th using a Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance monitor in Milan, Italy:

Sudden ionospheric disturbances--"SIDs" for short--make themselves known by the effect they have on low-frequency radio signals. When a SID passes by, the atmosphere overhead becomes an good reflector for radio waves, allowing signals to be received from distant transmitters. Battaiola monitored a faraway 21.75 kHz radio station to monitor the SIDs over his location.

More SIDS are in the offing as NOAA forecasters estimate an 80% chance of M-flares and a 50% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery


Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery


Realtime Comet 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 May 14, 2013 there were 1397 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2013 JV17
May 6
4.1 LD
12 m
2013 JR7
May 10
9.1 LD
18 m
2013 JM22
May 16
7.9 LD
110 m
2004 BV102
May 25
69.9 LD
1.4 km
1998 QE2
May 31
15.2 LD
2.1 km
2009 FE
Jun 4
9.6 LD
230 m
2000 FM10
Jun 5
50.3 LD
1.3 km
2002 KL3
Jun 6
66.4 LD
1.1 km
1999 WC2
Jun 12
39.2 LD
1.9 km
2006 RO36
Jun 18
70.9 LD
1.2 km
2001 PJ9
Jul 17
29.2 LD
1.1 km
2006 BL8
Jul 26
9.3 LD
48 m
2003 DZ15
Jul 29
7.6 LD
153 m
2005 WK4
Aug 9
8.1 LD
420 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 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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