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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 413.7 km/sec
density: 1.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B3
2231 UT Feb05
24-hr: B3
2231 UT Feb05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 05 Feb 12
All of the sunspots on the Earthside of the sun are quiet. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 43
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 Feb 2012

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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

Updated 04 Feb 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 107 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 04 Feb 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.4 nT
Bz: 0.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 05 Feb 12
Earth is entering a narrow stream of solar wind flowing from this coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Feb 05 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
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: 2012 Feb 05 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012
What's up in space

Turn your cell phone into a field-tested satellite tracker. Works for Android and iPhone.

Satellite flybys

QUIET SUN: All of the sunspots on the Earthside of the sun are magnetically simple and quiet, and the sun's X-ray output has consequently flatlined. NOAA forecasters estimate the chance of significant flares today to be no more than 1%. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

AURORA WATCH: Earth passed through a minor solar wind stream on Feb. 4-5. The weak impact of the solar wind was just enough to spark auroras around parts of the Arctic Circle. Frank Olsen sends this 20-second exposure from the waterfront outside Tromsø, Norway:

"Despite bright moonlight and low solar activity, there were some great auroras last night," says Olsen.

The effects of the solar wind are subsiding, and the auroras might disappear into the moonlight for the next few nights. Geomagnetic activity is expected to hover at low levels for the next 48 hours. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

more images: from Oivind Toien of Fairbanks, Alaska

BE ALERT FOR MOON HALOES: With the full Moon less than a week away, now is the time to be alert for Moon haloes. Tom Soetaert photographed this spooky specimen over Lawrence, Kansas, on Feb. 2nd:

Moon halos are formed by ice crystals in high clouds, which catch moonbeams and bend them as shown. The brighter the Moon, the brighter the Moon halo, so any halos this weekend should be very bright indeed. The Moon is full on Feb. 7th. Browse the links below for more examples of what's in store.

more images: from Chris Cook of Cape Cod, Massachusetts; from Joni Niemelä of Western Finland; from Mike Peters of Green Bay, Wisconsin; from Tamas Ladanyi of Veszprem (Hungary); from Schmaus Thomas of Oberbernbach, Bavaria, Germany; from Domenico Licchelli of Gagliano del Capo, Italy; from Primoz Kuk of Sempeter pri Gorici, Slovenia; from Dr. Salvador Aguirre of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico; from György Soponyai of Dunakeszi, Hungary

January 2012 Aurora Gallery
[previous Januaries: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004]

Comet Lovejoy Gallery
[previous comets: McNaught, Holmes, Lulin, Tuttle, Ikeya-Zhang]

  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 February 5, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2012 CU
Jan 31
2.4 LD
29 m
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
2.4 km
2011 YU62
Mar 16
73.3 LD
1.4 km
1996 SK
Apr 18
67.2 LD
1.6 km
2007 HV4
Apr 19
4.8 LD
8 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
Science Central
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
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