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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 366.0 km/sec
density: 5.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2343 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C3
1918 UT Dec23
24-hr: C3
1918 UT Dec23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 23 Dec 11
Solar activity is low. All the sunspots on the face of the sun are quiet. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 105
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 22 Dec 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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 22 Dec 2011


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 146 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 22 Dec 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 0
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.9 nT
Bz: 2.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 23 Dec 11
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Dec 23 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
10 %
05 %
CLASS X
01 %
01 %
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 Dec 23 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
10 %
10 %
SEVERE
05 %
05 %
 
Friday, Dec. 23, 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

NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS SKY SHOW: On Dec. 26th, Venus and the crescent Moon will gather together for a beautiful night-after-Christmas sky show. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

LAST MINUTE ASTRONOMY GIFT: Running out of time? In only a few minutes, you can give the gift of Northern Lights, space station flybys, and other heavenly sights to friends and loved ones. Our unique astronomy alert services, Spaceweather Text and Spaceweather Voice, come with a handy e-Card for instant gift-giving.

COMET LOVEJOY FROM ORBIT: Veteran astronaut Dan Burbank has seen many amazing things. Once, he even flew through the aurora borealis. So when Burbank says "[Comet Lovejoy] is the most amazing thing I have ever seen in space," it really means something. Currently serving onboard the International Space Station, Burbank photographed the sungrazing comet on Dec. 21st, an experience he describes in this NASA video:

Burbank describes the tail of Comet Lovejoy as a "green glowing arc at least 10 degrees long." He saw it just before orbital sunrise emerging from Earth's limb, which was "lit up as a bright sliver of blue and purple."

After plunging through the sun's atmosphere only 120,000 km above the stellar surface on Dec. 16th, and improbably surviving, Comet Lovejoy has become the finest comet since Comet McNaught in 2007. Its orbit is carrying it through the skies of the southern hemisphere where sunrise sky watchers are seeing the comet almost as clearly as Burbank did. Amateur astronomer Lester Barnes sends this Dec. 23rd picture from Port Lincoln, South Australia:

"Fantastic view--one to remember," says Barnes. "The comet was bright; this is 1 minute exposure I took using my Canon 20Da digital camera."

The visibility of Comet Lovejoy should continue to improve in the days ahead as the comet moves farther away from the sun. Early-rising sky watchers in the southern hemisphere should remain alert for this amazing apparition. [finder chart]

more images: from Yuri Beletsky of Santiago, Chile; from Shane Ocean of Whitsundays, Australia; from Hernán Stockebrand of Vicuña, Chile; from Giovanni of Paysandù Uruguay; from Andy Dodson of Huirangi, New Zealand; from Rodolfo Chiaramonte of Vera Cruz, São Paulo, Brazil; from James Tse of Christchurch, New Zealand; from Emilio Lepeley of Vicuna, Chile; from Rogerio Marcon of Campinas SP Brasil; from Stephen Chadwick of Himatangi Beach, New Zealand; from Kosma Coronaios of Louis Trichardt, Limpopo Province, South Africa; from Paulo Morales Valdebenito of San Francisco de Mostazal, Chile; from Willian Souza of Sao Paulo, Brazil; from Grahame Kelaher of Perth, Western Australia; from Minoru Yoneto of Queenstown, New Zealand;

  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 December 23, 2011 there were 1272 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2011 YQ1
Dec 14
1 LD
--
32 m
2000 YA
Dec 26
2.9 LD
--
80 m
2011 SL102
Dec 28
75.9 LD
--
1.0 km
2011 WS95
Dec 28
7.1 LD
--
48 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
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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