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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 360.9 km/sec
density: 3.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M2
1652 UT Jan19
24-hr: M3
1608 UT Jan19
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 19 Jan 12
Sunspot 1401 poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 122
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 18 Jan 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

Updated 18 Jan 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 148 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 18 Jan 2012

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: 4.6 nT
Bz: 0.3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 19 Jan 12
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Jan 19 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
50 %
50 %
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 Jan 19 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
15 %
MINOR
01 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
25 %
MINOR
01 %
10 %
SEVERE
01 %
05 %
 
Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012
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

EARTH-DIRECTED SOLAR FLARE: Active sunspot 1401 erupted today, Jan. 19th, between 15:15 and 16:30 UT. The long-duration blast produced an M3-class solar flare and a CME that appears to be heading toward Earth. This movie from the Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the extreme UV flash:

NASA's twin STEREO spacecraft recorded an impressive CME emerging from the blast site: movie #1, movie #2. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab confirm that the CME is heading for Earth, and they say strong geomagnetic storms are possible (although not guaranteed) when the cloud arrives this weekend. Their animated forecast track predicts an impact on Jan. 21st at 22:30 UT (+/- 7 hrs). Aurora alerts: text, voice.

INCREASING SOLAR ACTIVITY CLEANS UP SAT-DEBRIS: Earth's atmosphere has been puffing up in response to increasing levels of UV radiation from sunspots. This is good news for satellite operators, because a puffed up atmosphere helps clean up low-Earth orbit. "The number of cataloged debris in Earth orbit actually decreased during 2011," reports Nick Johnson in NASA's Orbital Debris Quarterly newsletter. "[The figure below] illustrates how the rate of debris reentries from the Fengyun-1C anti-satellite test of January 2007 increased during the past year."

"Even though only 6% of the total 3218 cataloged debris from the ill-advised engagement had reentered by the end of 2011, half of these debris fell out of orbit in the past 12 months," he points out. "Likewise, many debris from the 2009 accidental collision of Cosmos 2251 and Iridium 33 are accelerating their departure from Earth orbit. In the absence of a new major satellite breakup, the overall orbital debris population should continue to decrease during 2012 and 2013."

ADVANCING SUNSPOTS: A phalanx of sunspots is turning toward Earth. Their advance is documented in this two-day movie from the Solar Dynamics Observatory:

The large one in the middle, AR1401, has a "beta-gamma" magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. At the moment it is unleashing one such flare every day, such as this flash recorded during the late hours of Jan. 19th. Eruptions from AR1401 will become increasingly geoeffective in the days ahead as the sun's rotation aligns the active region with our planet.


Comet Lovejoy Gallery
[previous comets: McNaught, Holmes, Lulin, Tuttle, Ikeya-Zhang]


January 2012 Aurora Gallery
[previous Januaries: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004]

  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 January 19, 2012 there were 1272 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2012 AQ10
Jan 16
2.2 LD
--
20 m
2011 YH40
Jan 16
5.4 LD
--
109 m
1991 VK
Jan 25
25.3 LD
--
1.9 km
433 Eros
Jan 31
69.5 LD
--
8.5 km
2009 AV
Feb 16
44.9 LD
--
1.2 km
2000 ET70
Feb 19
17.7 LD
--
1.0 km
2011 CP4
Feb 23
9.1 LD
--
255 m
2008 EJ85
Mar 6
9.1 LD
--
44 m
1999 RD32
Mar 14
57.9 LD
--
2.3 km
2011 YU62
Mar 16
73.4 LD
--
1.4 km
1996 SK
Apr 18
67.2 LD
--
1.6 km
2007 HV4
Apr 19
4.8 LD
--
8 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
Science Central
Trade Show Displays
   
  more links...
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