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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 324.8 km/sec
density: 2.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2001 UT Jan31
24-hr: B1
1447 UT Jan31
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 31 Jan 11
Sunspot 1150 is growing, but does not yet pose a threat for strong flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 22
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 30 Jan 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 1 day (3%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 30 Jan 2011


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 83 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 30 Jan 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 9.6 nT
Bz: 0.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 31 Jan 10
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Feb. 3rd. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Jan 31 2200 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: 2011 Jan 31 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
15 %
MINOR
01 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
20 %
MINOR
01 %
10 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Monday, Jan. 31, 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

NO LEGS, NO PROBLEM: NASA's Robonaut 2 ("R2") doesn't have legs yet, but that isn't stopping the humanoid robot. R2 is set to leave Earth in February to join the crew of the International Space Station. Legs will follow R2's busy torso on a later flight. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

CORONAL HOLE: A dark croissant-shaped hole has opened up in the sun's atmosphere, and it is spewing a stream of solar wind into space. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory took this picture of the vast opening during the early hours of Jan. 31st:

Researchers call this a "coronal hole." Solar rotation is turning the coronal hole toward Earth. The stream of solar wind pouring from it will swing around and hit our planet in early February, possibly sparking polar magnetic storms. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras between Feb. 2nd and 4th.

UPDATED: January 2011 Aurora Photo Gallery
[previous Januaries: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004]

V-TOPPED LIGHT PILLARS: Light pillars are a common sight around cities in winter. Urban lights bounce off ice crystals in the air, producing tall luminous columns sometimes mistaken for auroras. But the light pillars Mike Hollingshead saw on Jan. 26th near a corn mill in Blair, Nebraska, were decidely uncommon. "They had V-shaped tops," he explains, "and some of the Vs were nested." Here is what he saw:

"These light pillars are not just rare, they are exceptional!" declares atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "Ordinary pillars are produced by plate-shaped ice crystals roughly half way between you and the light source. These are different. Their rarely seen flared tops show that they were made by column-shaped crystals drifting slowly downwards and aligned horizontal by air resistance."

"The flares are a form of the upper tangent arcs that we sometimes see in daytime halo displays," he continues. "But even more exotic, some flares have a second one nested within them! Some ice crystal columns do not rotate but instead keep two of their prism faces improbably horizontal to give us the very uncommon Parry arcs of solar halo displays. The nested flares here are amazing and probably the light halo equivalent of Parry arcs."


Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[NASA: Hinode Observes Annular Solar Eclipse]

  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 31, 2011 there were 1185 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2011 BZ11
Jan 22
4.8 LD
25.7
31 m
2011 BW11
Jan 25
0.3 LD
28.5
9 m
2011 AL37
Jan 26
2.2 LD
24.2
60 m
2011 BF10
Jan 30
9.1 LD
27.3
14 m
2011 BG24
Jan 30
5.9 LD
25.9
23 m
2011 BE24
Feb 3
9.3 LD
25.4
35 m
2003 YG118
Feb 20
67.7 LD
17.0
1.8 km
2000 PN9
Mar 10
45.5 LD
16.1
2.6 km
2002 DB4
Apr 15
62.5 LD
16.4
2.2 km
2008 UC202
Apr 27
8.9 LD
28.2
10 m
2009 UK20
May 2
8.6 LD
26.4
23 m
2008 FU6
May 5
75.5 LD
17.9
1.2 km
2003 YT1
May 5
65.3 LD
16.1
2.5 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
   
  more links...
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