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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 378.4 km/sec
density: 12.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B5
2031 UT Jan25
24-hr: B5
2031 UT Jan25
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 25 Jan 13
None of these sunspots is actively flaring. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 60
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 24 Jan 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

24 Jan 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 103 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 24 Jan 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 10.7 nT
Bz: 9.3 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 25 Jan 13
Solar wind flowing from this southern coronal hole should reach Earth on Jan. 26-27. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Jan 25 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
01 %
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: 2013 Jan 25 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
30 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
30 %
30 %
35 %
40 %
Friday, Jan. 25, 2013
What's up in space

Listen to radar echoes from satellites and meteors, live on listener-supported Space Weather Radio.

Spaceweather Radio is on the air

QUIET SUNSPOTS: There are four sunspots visible on the Earthside of the sun. None of them is actively flaring. NOAA forecasters put the odds of an M-class solar flare today at no more than 5%. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

INCOMING COMET: In little more than a month, Comet PanSTARRS will cross the orbit of Mercury and probably brighten to naked-eye visibility as it absorbs the heat of the nearby sun. Sky watchers around the world will be looking for it in the sunset skies of early March, when it passes closest to the sun and to Earth. Until then a telescope is required; here is the view last night through a 0.3-meter-diameter reflector in Argentina:

A team of astronomers led by Martin Masek took the picture using the remotely-controlled F(/Ph)otometric Robotic Atmospheric Monitor--"FRAM" for short. "The stars are trailed in this 9x120s exposure, which tracked the comet," explains Masel.

Currently, the comet ranks about 8th magnitude, dimmer than the human eye can see, but it could brighten 100-fold on March 10th when it makes its closest approach to the sun (0.3 AU). The latest curves suggest that PanSTARRS will emerge glowing about as brightly as a 3rd magnitude star, similar to the stars in the Big Dipper.

There might, however, be surprises in store. Comet PanSTARRS has never been to inner solar system before. It is falling in from the Oort cloud, a great swarm of comets beyond Neptune and Pluto unaltered by the warmth of the sun. When Comet PanSTARRS dips it toe inside the orbit of Mercury for the first time, almost anything could happen ranging from an anticlimatic "bake-out" to a spectacular disruption. Stay tuned for updates. [3D Orbit]

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

FALLING FOR AURORAS: A stream of solar wind flowing from a coronal hole is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 25-27. In response, NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% to 40% chance of polar geomagnetic storms. High-latitude aky watchers should be alert for auroras in the nights ahead. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Warning: Solar wind can affect your equilibrium. Photographer Göran Strand of Kall, Åre, Sweden, documented the effect in this composition he calls Falling for Auroras:

"I assembled this 360-degree image from photos I took during an aurora display on Jan. 17th," says Strand. "The joy of seeing an aurora dancing in the sky is the same joyful feeling as sledding down a slope."

Realtime Aurora 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 January 25, 2013 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2013 BQ18
Jan 18
8.8 LD
38 m
2013 AT72
Jan 20
9.9 LD
62 m
2013 BT15
Jan 20
4.6 LD
15 m
1999 HA2
Feb 5
58 LD
1.3 km
2013 BS45
Feb 12
4.9 LD
31 m
3752 Camillo
Feb 12
57.5 LD
3.4 km
2013 BV15
Feb 13
3.7 LD
62 m
1999 YK5
Feb 15
49.1 LD
2.1 km
2012 DA14
Feb 15
0.09 LD
58 m
2009 AV
Feb 25
59.7 LD
1.0 km
2007 EO88
Mar 18
4.4 LD
23 m
1993 UC
Mar 20
49 LD
3.8 km
1997 AP10
Mar 28
45.9 LD
1.8 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.
  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
  the underlying science of space weather
Space Weather Alerts
  more links...
©2010 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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