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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 258.0 km/sec
density: 0.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M2
2030 UT Dec26
24-hr: M2
2030 UT Dec26
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 26 Dec 11
New sunspot 1387 is crackling with M-class flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 66
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 25 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 25 Dec 2011


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 143 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 25 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: 2.0 nT
Bz: 0.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 26 Dec 11
A solar wind stream flowing from this coronal hole could reach Earth between Dec. 28th and 30th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Dec 26 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
70 %
70 %
CLASS X
10 %
10 %
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 26 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
01 %
40 %
MINOR
01 %
25 %
SEVERE
01 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
40 %
MINOR
05 %
30 %
SEVERE
01 %
15 %
 
Monday, Dec. 26, 2011
What's up in space
 

Don't just watch shooting stars. Wear them! Authentic meteorite jewelry for Christmas is now available in the SpaceWeather Store.

 
Meteorite jewelry

NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS SKY SHOW: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look west. Venus and the crescent Moon have gathered together for a lovely night-after-Christmas conjunction in the sunset sky. Science@NASA has the full story.

CMEs TARGET EARTH, MARS: The odds of a geomagnetic storm on Dec. 28th are improving with the launch of two CMEs toward Earth in less than 24 hours. NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft photographed this one on Dec. 26th:

According to a forecast track prepared by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the cloud should squarely strike Earth's magnetic field on Dec. 28th at 20:22 UT (+/- 7 hours). Another CME could deliver a glancing blow a few hours earlier on the same date. The double impact is expected to spark mild-to-moderate geomagnetic storms at high latitudes. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Mars is also in the line of fire. The first of the two CMEs is squarely directed toward the Red Planet--estimated time of arrival: Dec. 30th at 1800 UT. Using onboard radiation sensors, NASA's Curiosity rover might be able to sense the CME when it passes the rover's spacecraft en route to Mars.

BEAUTIFUL BLAST: After three years of deep quiet, the sun woke up in 2011. Sunspots and solar flares became commonplace again as long-awaited Solar Cycle 24 got underway. One of the most beautiful eruptions of the young solar cycle occured just this past weekend. Rogerio Marcon of Campinas SP Brasil photographed the blast on Christmas Eve:

"I made a time-lapse video of the eruption," says Marcon. "What a wonderful Christmas present." While Marcon was recording the event from Earth, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory was doing the same from Earth-orbit. It was beautiful up there, too.

This explosion was not Earth-directed. Next time, however, could be different. The source of the blast, sunspot 1386, is turning toward Earth, increasing the chances of a geoeffective flare in the days ahead. Solar Flare alerts: text, voice.

more images: from Philippe Roucheux of Joigny, Bourgogne, France

  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 26, 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
--
46 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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