You are viewing the page for Apr. 8, 2012
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 346.4 km/sec
density: 0.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B6
1853 UT Apr08
24-hr: B7
1547 UT Apr08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 08 Apr 12
Sunspot 1450 has developed a beta-gamma magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 38
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 07 Apr 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 07 Apr 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 99 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 07 Apr 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.8 nT
Bz: 0.3 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 08 Apr 12
A wide equatorial coronal hole is turning toward Earth. Solar wind flowing from the dark gash should arrive on April 12-13. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Apr 08 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 Apr 08 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
15 %
35 %
10 %
30 %
05 %
Sunday, Apr. 8, 2012
What's up in space

Thirty-five new items have just been added to our Meteorite Jewelry collection. Browse the Space Weather Store for something out of this world.

Meteorite jewelry

INCOMING CME: NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of strong geomagnetic storms around the poles on April 8-9 when a CME delivers a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field. The cloud was propelled in our direction by a solar filament, which erupted on April 5th (movie). High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text, phone.

MERCURY-DIRECTED ERUPTION: For the past few days, magnetic filaments have been rising and snapping all around the sun. The latest eruption occured during the late hours of April 7th, shown here in an extreme UV video from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:

The eruption hurled a CME into space. According to a forecast track prepared by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the cloud will not hit Earth, but it will hit Mercury on April 9th around 02:29 UT (+/- 7 hours). Mercury's planetary magnetic field is only ~10% as strong as Earth's, so Mercury is not well protected from CMEs. When the clouds hit, they can actually scour atoms off Mercury's surface, adding material to Mercury's super-thin atmosphere and comet-like tail.

ANTARCTIC MOON HALO: In the icy lands around the south pole, ordinary things take on an exotic quality. Count moon haloes among them. On April 5th, Sam Burrell photographed this specimen rising above the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica:

"Around midnight, the air on the Brunt Ice Shelf the air was filled with diamond dust," says Burrell. "As the moon rose, we caught this show."

Diamond dust is the atmospheric optics term for tiny, jewel-like crystals of ice. They form on cold days in the air near ground level. When they catch the rays of the low-hanging sun or moon, the results can be spectacular. "In this single display, we could see a moon halo, moondogs, and hints of a moon pillar," says Burrell.

You don't have to go to Antarctica, however, to see ice halos. Browse the links for more examples: from Mohamad Soltanolkotabi of Cameron high lands, Perak, Malaysia; from Pamm Reynolds of Deming, New Mexico; from Phil Loarie of Berkeley, California; from Grover Schrayer of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  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 April 8, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2012 FA57
Apr 4
1.1 LD
27 m
2012 GD
Apr 10
9.4 LD
18 m
1996 SK
Apr 18
67.2 LD
1.6 km
2007 HV4
Apr 19
4.8 LD
8 m
2011 WV134
Apr 28
38.6 LD
1.6 km
1992 JD
May 2
9.5 LD
43 m
2010 KK37
May 19
2.3 LD
31 m
4183 Cuno
May 20
47.4 LD
5.7 km
2002 VX94
May 26
72.8 LD
1.1 km
2002 AC
Jun 16
62.2 LD
1.2 km
1999 BJ8
Jun 16
68.8 LD
1.1 km
2005 GO21
Jun 21
17.1 LD
2.2 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.
  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
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
©2010 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
©2019 All rights reserved.