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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 390.6 km/sec
density: 3.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2204 UT Nov16
24-hr: C8
1539 UT Nov16
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 16 Nov 12
Sunspots AR1610 and AR1614 pose a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 132
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 16 Nov 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 16 Nov 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 141 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 16 Nov 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.1 nT
Bz: 2.9 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 15 Nov 12
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Nov 16 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
25 %
25 %
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: 2012 Nov 16 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
10 %
MINOR
10 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
30 %
20 %
SEVERE
35 %
20 %
 
Friday, Nov. 16, 2012
What's up in space
 

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CHANCE OF FLARES: NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of M-class solar flares and a 5% chance of X-flares today. The most likely sources would be sunspots AR1610 and AR1614, which have unstable 'beta-gamma' magnetic fields. Eruptions from AR1614 would likely be Earth-directed. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

HUMONGOUS ERUPTION: A truly gigantic explosion happened on the sun today. Magnetic fields snaking halfway across the sun's southern hemisphere erupted in tandem, producing a prominence so big, it doesn't fit inside this image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO):

The blast hurled a CME into space, but the cloud does not appear to be heading for Earth.

A movie of the event, prepared by Steele Hill of the Goddard Space Flight Center, shows magnetic fields in concerted motion across an expanse of solar "terrain" more than 700,000 km wide. Observations by SDO have shown that such wide-ranging eruptions are not uncommon on the sun--the great Global Eruption of August 2010 being the iconic example.

RED AURORAS: Auroras are usually green, and sometimes purple, but seldom do sky watchers see much red. The geomagnetic storm of Nov. 13/14 was different. It produced auroras with a distinctly rosy hue. David E. Cartier, Sr. photographed the phenomenon near Marsh Lake, about 40 km east of Whitehorse in Canada's Yukon Territory:

"I was amazed by the deep scarlet color, which was immediately recognizable to the unaided eye," says Cartier. Similar splashes of candy-cane red were spotted over Norway, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

The apparition might be related to rare all-red auroras sometimes seen during intense geomagnetic storms. They occur some 300 to 500 km above Earth's surface and are not yet fully understood. Some researchers believe the red lights are linked to a large influx of low-energy electrons. When such electrons recombine with oxygen ions in the upper atmosphere, red photons are emitted. At present, space weather forecasters cannot predict when this will occur.

Could more reds be in the offing? NOAA estimates a 30% to 35% chance of polar geoagnetic storms on Nov. 16th and 17th. Sky watchers seeing red should submit their images here. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

SOLAR ECLIPSE FOR BREAKFAST: What do you do when the Moon covers the sun just after sunrise? Have a solar eclipse for breakfast! Janne Pyykkö sends these pictures of people "eating" this week's sunrise total eclipse over Queensland, Australia:


Credits: from top-left to bottom-right are Saul Lehtonen (model Johanna Hoffrén), Johanna Hoffrén (model Saul Lehtonen), Ville Nikula (model Mikael Holappa), Anna Snellman (model Otto Snellman).

"Our Finnish group of 45 eclipse chasers, organized by Tähdet ja avaruus magazine, watched the total solar eclipse on Nov. 14th from the dry desert 150 km north-west of Cairns, Australia," explains Pyykkö. "I coordinated a project to catch photos where people are eating the total solar eclipse; there was no strict guidance about the choice of camera or overall arrangements. Quite a few of us took the challenge. Here is a behind-the-scenes shot that describes the idea."

Browse the photo gallery for more images:

Realtime Eclipse Photo Gallery


Realtime Space Weather 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 November 16, 2012 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2012 VC26
Nov 11
2.3 LD
8 m
2012 VH77
Nov 12
0.5 LD
15 m
2012 UY68
Nov 14
6.7 LD
44 m
2012 VJ38
Nov 14
0.6 LD
9 m
2012 VS76
Nov 16
2.4 LD
18 m
2012 VU76
Nov 16
8.1 LD
31 m
2012 VB26
Nov 17
9.7 LD
34 m
2012 VE77
Nov 18
4.5 LD
24 m
2012 VN76
Nov 20
7.3 LD
13 m
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
2003 SD220
Dec 23
59.8 LD
1.8 km
1998 WT24
Dec 23
69.2 LD
1.1 km
2003 UC20
Dec 29
25.7 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
Space Weather Alerts
   
  more links...
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