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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
SPACE WEATHER
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 553.1 km/sec
density: 2.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT May30
24-hr: A0
0445 UT May30
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 30 May 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 29 May 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no large sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 4
unsettled
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.1 nT
Bz: 0.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole will reach Earth on or about June 1st. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 May 30 2203 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
01 %
01 %
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: 2008 May 30 2203 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
30 %
30 %
MINOR
10 %
10 %
SEVERE
05 %
05 %
What's up in Space
May 30, 2008
FLYBY ALERT! Space shuttle Discovery launches on May 31st. Get your flyby alerts from Space Weather PHONE  

SPACE STATION TOILET: Houston, we have a problem. The main toilet onboard the International Space Station is broken. "[It] works for solid waste disposal, but requires additional steps for liquid waste," says Kirk Shireman, deputy ISS program manager at NASA. The procedure for liquid waste "takes two crew members and 10 minutes of maintenance after three flushes." Fortunately, space shuttle Discovery is set to launch this Saturday with spare parts needed to restore normal operations: full story.

SPACE STATION MOVIE--THE SEQUEL: A new movie of the ISS by German amateur astronomer Dirk Ewers seemingly reveals every detail on the sprawling station down to the malfunctioning water closet. Well, not quite that much detail, but the video is still impressive. Click on the image to play:


Click to play a 2 MB movie

"This was the view through my 5-inch refracting telescope," says Ewers. "Seeing was good" on May 21st when the brilliantly shining space station passed almost directly over his observatory in Hofgeismar, Germany. "I worked on the video for nearly 12 hours and I believe it reaches the theoretical resolution of my 5-inch optics."

No telescope is required to enjoy the ISS, however. The 240-ft wide spacecraft is often brighter than Venus and easy to see with the unaided eye even from light-polluted cities. The trick is knowing when to look.

more images: from Ralf Vandebergh of the Netherlands; from P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden; from Stanislaw Rokita of Torun, Poland; from John C McConnell of Maghaberry Northern Ireland

BISHOP'S RING: This week, sky watchers across Euope are noticing a daily pale-blue aureole (fuzzy ring of light) surrounding the sun. "It lasted for hours as a cloud of dust from the Sahara desert drifted overhead," says Tamas Ladanyi of Veszprem, Hungary, who took this picture on May 28th using his Canon 300D:

This phenomenon is called a Bishop's Ring and it is caused, in this case, by wind-blown clouds of dust from the Sahara desert wafting over Europe.

"A Bishop's Ring is a large corona made by volcanic dust or other small particles such as fine Sahara sand," explains atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "Look out for a huge bluish aureole around the sun edged by pastel yellows and reds - that’s a Bishop's Ring. How can dust make a corona? Corona makers do not need to be transparent because light scattered by the particle edges make the diffraction pattern. Pollen, telescopes and even pond algae make them. Look for them everywhere!"

more images: from Gernot Lausen of Fleckeby, Schleswig- Holstein, Germany; from Martin Popek of Nýdek, Czech Republic; from Tomas Trzicky of Prague, Czech Republic;


May 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-sky Cameras]

       
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. [comment]
On May 30, 2008 there were 953 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2008 HG
May 5
17 LD
18
90 m
2008 DE
May 9
17 LD
16
550 m
2008 HD2
May 9
6.5 LD
19
40 m
2008 JL24
May 10
0.4 LD
18
5 m
2008 HR3
May 11
3.1 LD
17
50 m
2008 HW1
May 14
72 LD
17
1.4 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 Links
NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
  The official U.S. government bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
Atmospheric Optics
  The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2008, SpaceWeather.com -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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