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Solar wind
speed: 485.3 km/sec
density: 2.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
1742 UT May09
24-hr: C3
0523 UT May09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 09 May 13
Sunspot AR1736 has a beta-gamma magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 112
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 09 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

09 May 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 127 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 09 May 2013

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: 3.7 nT
Bz: 0.1 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 09 May 13
Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole should reach Earth on May 13-14. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 May 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
20 %
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: 2013 May 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
15 %
15 %
10 %
10 %
Thursday, May. 9, 2013
What's up in space

Listen to radar echoes from satellites and meteors, live on listener-supported Space Weather Radio.

Spaceweather Radio is on the air

RING OF FIRE SOLAR ECLIPSE--TODAY! On May 9-10, the Moon will pass directly in front of the sun over the South Pacific, producing a "ring of fire" solar eclipse. At greatest eclipse, more than 95% of the sun's surface will be covered. The Coca-Cola Space Science Center is hosting a live webcast of the event from Australia! Tune in on May 9th beginning at 5 pm EDT. More: animation, map, details.

MAGNETIC ACTIVITY: A ragged, dynamic filament of magnetism is dancing along the sun's southwestern limb today. It is so large, more than 250,000 km from end to end, that amateur astronomers are able to see it in great detail using backyard solar telescopes. John Stetson sends this snapshot from Falmouth, Maine:

The magnetic underpinnings of this arching prominence may be connected to nearby sunspot AR1736, which is itself unstable and poses a threat for M-class solar flares. If the anchor is unstable, the overlying structure could collapse. Observers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor the southwestern limb for developments. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

ICE HALO AROUND THE SUN: On May 6th, Daryl Pederson went to Point Woronzof in Anchorage, Alaska, to see the USS Anchorage depart. "But," says Pederson, "the sun refused to be outshone." Instead of photographing the amphibious warship, he recorded this complex ice halo in the sky overhead:

The luminous arcs and rings around the sun are caused by sunlight shining through ice crystals in thin, high clouds. Usually only one or two of these ice halos appears at once, but Pederson caught at least 6 different varieties, identified and labeled above by atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley.

"It is sometimes hard to believe that tiny ice crystals floating in the air or clouds can make such precise and beautiful sky geometry," comments Cowley. "Two reasons:- One, the small crystals unlike their larger and more familiar snowflake cousins are near optically perfect. Two, they are set firmly in near perfect alignments by aerodynamic drag forces as they drift slowly down relative to local air currents. Only the circular 22o halo comes from tumbling crystals and they generate geometric perfection, too!"

More optical perfection may be found in the space weather photo gallery.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

GENTLE SOLAR WIND, DEEP-SKY AURORAS: A solar wind stream continues to buffet Earth's magnetic field. The force of the buffeting is not enough to cause a full-fledged geomagnetic storm, but it has ignited faint auroras at high latitudes. Practically invisible to the human eye, these "deep-sky" auroras are nevertheless a beautiful sight when properly exposed using a digital camera. On May 7th, Shawn Malone of Marquette, Michigan, took this picture overlooking Lake Superior:

"This is just a quick photo off the back deck," says Malone. "On May 7th, we had a beautiful starry moonless night and a nice auroral glow on the horizon. The colors were undetectable to the human eye, but the camera picked them up easily."

Malone is a veteran photographer of auroras, and her back deck is a great place to watch the northern sky. She recently compiled a time-lapse video of the Northern Light. "I've been working on it for more than a year," she says. "Watch the video here." Auroras alerts: text, voice.

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 9, 2013 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2013 JR7
May 10
9.1 LD
18 m
2004 BV102
May 25
69.9 LD
1.4 km
1998 QE2
May 31
15.2 LD
2.1 km
2009 FE
Jun 4
9.6 LD
230 m
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
2005 WK4
Aug 9
8.1 LD
420 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...
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