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Solar wind
speed: 479.1 km/sec
density: 3.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2039 UT May24
24-hr: C2
0124 UT May24
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 24 May 13
Sunspots AR1755 and AR1756 have 'beta-gamma' magnetic fields that harbor energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 117
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 24 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

24 May 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 135 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 24 May 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 5 storm
24-hr max: Kp= 5
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.3 nT
Bz: 4.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 24 May 13
Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole could brush past Earth's magnetic field on May 27-28. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 May 24 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
25 %
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 24 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
20 %
20 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
30 %
25 %
55 %
25 %
Friday, May. 24, 2013
What's up in space

When is the best time to see auroras? Where is the best place to go? And how do you photograph them? These questions and more are answered in a new book, Northern Lights - a Guide, by Pal Brekke & Fredrik Broms.

Northern Lights - a Guide

CME STRIKE, GEOMAGNETIC STORM: As expected, a CME propelled into space by the M5-class explosion of May 22nd delivered a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on May 24th around 1800 UT. A polar geomagnetic storm is in pregress as a result of the strike. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras shining through bright moonlight. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

BACTERIA FLY INTO RADIATION STORM: Two days ago, high school students in Bishop, California, using a suborbital helium balloon launched a petri dish full of extreme-loving halobacteria into the strongest radiation storm of the year. They wanted to know how the extremophiles would fare when peppered with protons at the edge of space. Here is a picture of the sample 108,000 feet above Earth's surface:

The radiation storm was sparked by an M5-class solar flare on May 22nd. Students launched their microbes in the immediate aftermath of the flare when the highest energy protons (E > 100 MeV) were peaking in intensity. In addition to solar protons, the bacteria experienced air pressures only 1% that of sea level on the Earth below, temperatures as low as -65 C, and 70 mph winds. A student recovery team collected the payload from a remote desert in Nevada on May 23rd. Now they are culturing the bacteria to see if they survived.

The students, who call themselves Earth to Sky Calculus, have been launching research balloons for more than two years. Their projects include studies of high-altitude biology, measurements of the effects of solar flares on the ozone layer, and stratospheric photography of meteor showers.

How do they afford all this? To fund their activities, they have started a business called "Edge of Space Advertising." For a fee, they'll fly your banner, card, cow, running shoes, president or other object to the edge of space and send you the video. Contact Earth to Sky Calculus mentor Dr. Tony Phillips for details.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

SUNSET PLANET SHOW: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look west. Venus, Jupiter and Mercury are converging to form a bright triangle in the sunset sky. The best evening to look is May 26th, when the planets will fit within a circle less than 3o wide. Petr Horálek photographed the convergence over the Czech republic on May 24th:

There won't be another triple conjunction of planets until October 2015, so don't miss this one! Science@NASA has the full story.

Realtime Planet Photo Gallery

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 24, 2013 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2013 KT1
May 21
3.2 LD
22 m
2013 KB
May 22
3.2 LD
16 m
2013 KS1
May 22
4.8 LD
19 m
2004 BV102
May 25
69.9 LD
1.4 km
1998 QE2
May 31
15.2 LD
1.6 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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