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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 533.9 km/sec
density: 0.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M1
2104 UT Feb18
24-hr: M6
1011 UT Feb18
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 18 Feb 11
Sunspot 1158 poses a continued threat for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 51
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 17 Feb 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 1 day (2%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 17 Feb 2011


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 111 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 17 Feb 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 5
storm
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 13.2 nT
Bz: 0.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 18 Feb 11
There are no large equatorial coronal holes on the Earth-side of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Feb 18 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
75 %
75 %
CLASS X
15 %
15 %
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 18 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
25 %
15 %
MINOR
10 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
25 %
20 %
MINOR
10 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Friday, Feb. 18, 2011
What's up in space
 

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Satellite flybys

ANOTHER X-FLARE--ALMOST: Fast-growing active region 1161 erupted this morning, producing an M6.6-class solar flare at 1011 UT. The almost-X category blast was one of the strongest flares in years and continued the week-long trend of high solar activity. SOHO coronagraph images show no accompanying CME, so Earth effects should be minimal.

CME SPARKS AURORAS: One and possibly two CMEs hit Earth during the early hours of Feb. 18th, creating a gusty solar wind environment around our planet and fueling a minor G1-class geomagnetic storm. During the storm-peak, auroras were visible over Canada despite interference from the full moon:

"The auroras were very colorful," reports photographer Sylvain Serre from Salluit, an Inuit village in Nunavik, Canada. "It was worth going out in the cold weather (-30 C) to see the show."

Although the storm has subsided, it could flare up again as the solar wind continues to swirl around Earth. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras.

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

SOLAR PROMINENCE: A gigantic tendril of hot plasma is whipping and dancing along the sun's northeastern limb. "Wow, what a monster!" says amateur astronomer Pete Lawrence, who sends this picture from his backyard observatory in Selsey UK:

The plasma is barely contained by unstable loops of magnetism, and the whole structure could fly off into space later today. If it does erupt, Earth will not be in the line of fire. This solar activity is not geoeffective, merely photogenic. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor the action.

more images: from the Solar Dynamics Observatory in Earth orbit


  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 18, 2011 there were 1198 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2011 BV59
Feb 11
6.9 LD
--
18 m
2011 CD66
Feb 13
7.2 LD
--
18 m
2011 CL50
Feb 19
6.2 LD
--
12 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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