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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 394.2 km/sec
density: 7.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2010 UT May19
24-hr: A0
1105 UT May19
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 19 May 08
These small sunspots pose no threat for solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 30
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 18 May 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals one possible, small high-latitude sunspot on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.5 nT
Bz: 1.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on May 20th or 21st. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 May 19 2203 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: 2008 May 19 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
15 %
15 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
What's up in Space
May 19, 2008
FLYBY ALERT! Space shuttle Discovery launches on May 31st. Get your flyby alerts from Space Weather PHONE  

FLOWER MOON: There's a full moon tonight and according to folklore it is the "Flower Moon," named after springtime flowers that bloom in the month of May. Gardeners, watch carefully and you could witness a beautiful transformation when the light of the Flower Moon strikes the petals of the Moon Flower. This video shows what to expect.

ISS MARATHON: The 2008 "ISS Marathon" gets underway this week when the International Space Station spends three days (May 21-23) in almost-constant sunlight. Sky watchers in Europe and North America can see the bright spaceship gliding overhead two to four times each night. Please try our new and improved Simple Satellite Tracker to find out when to look.

The station is not only bright and easy to see with the naked eye, but also it makes a fine target for backyard telescopes:

Click to the view the 0.9 MB movie

"I took these pictures during the early morning hours of May 12th using a 5-inch refractor." says amateur astronomer Dirk Ewers of Hofgeismar, Germany. For five minutes, he tracked the ISS across the sky and his movie of the entire 75o transit is a must see.

3D BONUS: Grab your 3D glasses. Spaceweather reader Sylvain Weiller of France has combined two frames of Dirk Ewer's movie to create a stereo view of the space station. If you don't have 3D glasses, try the cross-eyed version instead.

SOLAR CONJUNCTION: There's a nice sky show underway that would surely make news except for one thing: looking at it hurts! Venus and the Pleiades star cluster are converging on the Sun. (continued below)

The line through Venus is an artifact of digitally imaging the intensely-bright planet.

Humans eyes can't see the conjunction because of the sun's painful glare. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) has no such trouble; a coronagraph onboard the spacecraft blocks bright sunlight to reveal stars and planets on the verge of the sun itself. On May 22-23 the Sun-Pleiades-Venus triangle will shrink in width to only 5o. Join SOHO for a ringside seat.

Today's solar images: from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from Stephen Ames of Hodgenville, Kentucky; from Malcolm Park of London, England, UK; from Mike Strieber of Las Vegas, Nevada; from C. Miller, E. Signorelli and J. Stetson of South Portland, Maine; from Didier Favre of Br├ętigny sur Orge, France;

April 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-sky Cameras]

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. [comment]
On May 19, 2008 there were 953 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 HG
May 5
17 LD
90 m
2008 DE
May 9
17 LD
550 m
2008 HD2
May 9
6.5 LD
40 m
2008 JL24
May 10
0.4 LD
5 m
2008 HR3
May 11
3.1 LD
50 m
2008 HW1
May 14
72 LD
1.4 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 Links
NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
  The official U.S. government bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
Atmospheric Optics
  The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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