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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 491.5 km/sec
density: 0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2342 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C3
2009 UT May24
24-hr: C3
2009 UT May24
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 24 May 12
None of the sunspots on the Earthside of the sun is actively flaring. Solar activity is low. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 91
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 23 May 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 23 May 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 117 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 23 May 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: 2.4 nT
Bz: 2.3 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 24 May 12
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 May 24 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
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 May 24 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
15 %
20 %
10 %
20 %
Thursday, May. 24, 2012
What's up in space

They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store.

Own your own meteorite

CONTINUED QUIET: For the fourth day in a row, solar activity remains low. None of the sunspots on the Earthside of the sun pose a threat for strong flares. NOAA forecasters put the chances of an X-class eruption at less than 1%. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

DRAGON RENDEZVOUS: SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft will rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday, May 25th, making it the first commercial spacecraft to dock with the ISS. Last night, Dave Blanchard photographed the Dragon chasing the space station across the night sky over Flagstaff, Arizona:

"While the ISS was very bright and clearly visible in this image, the Dragon was very dim," says Blanchard. "It can be seen as a faint streak just below the ISS."

The two streaks will soon be joined. During the early hours of May 25th, the Dragon will approach the docking port on the station's Harmony module. Because this is the Dragon's first visit to the ISS, mission controllers will proceed with caution. A detailed series of navigation and communication tests will be performed before the capsule is allowed to move close enough for astronauts to grab it with the robot arm and connect it to the station.

After docking, the Dragon will remain connected for about three weeks, giving astronauts plenty of time to unload its 1200 lb of supplies and re-load it with used scientific equipment for return to Earth. Reversing the process of connecting the spacecraft to the station, astronauts will use the robotic arm to remove the capsule. The Dragon will then de-orbit and return to Earth under parachutes, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off the California coast.

Readers, are you ready to see the Dragon? Check Space Weather's Simple Satellite Tracker or your cellphone for a schedule of flybys over your location.

more images: from Alan Thomas of Central Otago, New Zealand; from Stephen & Matthew Lindner of Ann Arbor, Michigan;

ECLIPSE SUNBEAMS: For many observers, the best part of the May 20th solar eclipse is not what the Moon did to the sun, but rather what it did to the sunbeams. Gaps in clouds, leafy trees, and window shades cast pinhole images of the smiling crescent sun onto all kinds of happy surfaces:

"My daughter Antonia was sitting in just the right place," says Tino Hammid of Los Angeles, California. "The crescent images are created by small holes in the closed window blinds that act as a series of pinhole cameras."

Many more pictures of the eclipse--from the sun to sunbeams--may be found in our new realtime photo gallery. It's an experimental service, so feel free to report problems. Click on the link below and start exploring:

Space Weather Real Time Image Gallery
[Submit your photos] [NASA video: Solar Eclipse over the USA]

  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 24, 2012 there were 1293 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2012 KA
May 17
0.6 LD
9 m
2010 KK37
May 19
2.3 LD
31 m
4183 Cuno
May 20
47.4 LD
5.7 km
2012 KW
May 21
3.4 LD
19 m
2012 JV11
May 22
6.7 LD
68 m
2012 KT12
May 23
1.4 LD
24 m
2002 VX94
May 26
72.8 LD
1.1 km
2012 KP24
May 28
0.1 LD
26 m
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
2003 KU2
Jul 15
40.2 LD
1.2 km
2004 EW9
Jul 16
46.8 LD
2.1 km
2002 AM31
Jul 22
13.7 LD
1.0 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...
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