You are viewing the page for May. 3, 2013
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids Internet Shopping Sites high quality binoculars excellent weather stations all-metal reflector telescopes rotatable microscopes
Solar wind
speed: 383.3 km/sec
density: 1.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M5
1732 UT May03
24-hr: M5
1732 UT May03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 03 May 13
Sunspot AR1731 has a delta-class magnetic field that habors energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 102
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 03 May 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

03 May 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 149 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 03 May 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: 3.8 nT
Bz: 0.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 03 May 13
Solar wind flowing from this minor coronal hole should reach Earth on ~May 6-8. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 May 03 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
55 %
55 %
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: 2013 May 03 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
15 %
20 %
25 %
10 %
25 %
Friday, May. 3, 2013
What's up in space

A "ring of fire" solar eclipse is coming to Australia on May 9th. Tune into the live webcast sponsored by the Coca-Cola Space Science Center.

Live Eclipse Webcast

ETA AQUARID METEOR SHOWER: Earth is entering a stream of debris from Halley's Comet, source of the annual eta Aquarid meteor shower. Forecasters expect the shower to peak on May 5th and 6th with as many as 55 meteors per hour in the southern hemisphere and half that number in the north. The best time to look is during the dark hours before local sunrise. [photo gallery]

STRONG FLARE: An active region just over the sun's eastern limb exploded today, May 3rd @ 1730 UT, producing a strong M5-class solar flare. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught a plume of hot plasma flying up from the blast site:

This is the second time in three days that this same farside active region has unleashed a strong flare. The sun's rotation is carrying the sunspot around the bend, and it should emerge into view from Earth during the weekend. After that, Earth-directed flares are possible. An uptick in geoeffective solar activity appears to be in the offing. Stay tuned for updates. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

MOOOO-VING UP--EDGE OF SPACE ADVERTISING: To fund space weather experiments in the stratosphere, science students in Bishop, California, have started a new business: Edge of Space Advertising. For a fee, they'll fly ad banners, shoes, US presidents--you name it!--to the edge of space. On April 22nd (Earth Day), they launched a cow:

This is EVA, the mascot of New Zealand Internet service provider EOL. Last month, she traveled from Tauranga, New Zealand, to an Edge-of-Space Port in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. There, students attached EVA to the payload of a helium balloon and launched her to the stratosphere 120,000 feet above Earth's surface. Along the way she experienced temperatures as low as -65o C and air pressures only 1% of sea level--much like conditions on the planet Mars. At the end of the 3-hour flight, the balloon popped and EVA parachuted back to Earth, touching down in a remote corner of Death Valley. GPS signals led the students to the landing site, where they recovered EVA covered with desert dust but still smiling.

The name of the student group is "Earth to Sky Calculus." Mentored by Dr. Tony Phillips of, they are actively exploring the stratosphere--measuring the effect of solar flares on the ozone layer, capturing high-altitude bacteria, and photographing meteor showers. The profits are going to a good cause.

EVA's flight to the stratosphere and the student's recovery expedition through Death Valley has generated a flurry of news coverage for EOL in New Zealand. In short, Edge of Space Advertising really works. Interested? Contact Dr. Tony Phillips for rates and details.

BIG SUNSPOTS: The Earthside of the sun is peppered with several large sunspots. One of them, AR1731, has an unstable delta-class magnetic field that harbors energy for strong Earth-directed flares. NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance of M-flares and a 5% chance of X-flares on May 3rd. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Flare-threat AR1731 is circled in this picture of the sun rising over the Philippines on May 3rd:

"At least 4 sunspot groups are visible in the image I took using an unfiltered Canon 7D DSLR digital camera," says Jett Aguilar of Quezon City. "The photo reminds me of an Escher print, with the sunspots transforming into birds!"

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

Realtime Comet 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 May 3, 2013 there were 1397 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2005 NZ6
Apr 29
24.9 LD
1.3 km
2001 DQ8
Apr 30
74.3 LD
1.1 km
2004 BV102
May 25
69.9 LD
1.4 km
1998 QE2
May 31
15.2 LD
2.1 km
2000 FM10
Jun 5
50.3 LD
1.3 km
2002 KL3
Jun 6
66.4 LD
1.1 km
1999 WC2
Jun 12
39.2 LD
1.9 km
2006 RO36
Jun 18
70.9 LD
1.2 km
2001 PJ9
Jul 17
29.2 LD
1.1 km
2006 BL8
Jul 26
9.3 LD
48 m
2003 DZ15
Jul 29
7.6 LD
153 m
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.
©2019 All rights reserved.