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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 321.9 km/sec
density: 0.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT May25
24-hr: A0
2340 UT May25
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 25 May 09
Yesterday's sunspot (number 1018) has faded away. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 24 May 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 1 days
2009 total: 117 days (81%)
Since 2004: 628 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 24 May 2009

Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.5 nT
Bz: 1.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 May 25 2201 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: 2009 May 25 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
May 25, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you sleep through the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.


ISS SIGHTINGS: Sky watchers in North America should be alert for the International Space Station. The mammoth spacecraft is making a series of bright, evening flybys over the USA and Canada this week. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker to find out when to look.

SKINNY CRESCENT MOON: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look west. If you have a clear view of the horizon, you could see a super-skinny crescent Moon shining through the rosy glow of sunset. Tamas Ladanyi sends this picture, taken just a few hours ago, from the Bakony mountains of Hungary:

Photo details: Canon 450D, Canon 2.8/200 L objective at f/4, iso 800, 1.6s

"The Moon was only 31 hours old when I took this picture using my Canon 450D," says Ladanyi. "The star near the top of the oak tree is Beta Tau."

more photos: from Catalin M. Timosca of Turda, Romania; from Ugur Ikizler of Mudanya, Turkey; from Ramon Lane of Torrevieja, Spain; from Abraham Tamas of Zsámbék, Hungary; from P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden; from Günther Strauch of Borken, NRW, Germany; from Stefano De Rosa of Turin, Italy;

HELICOPTER GLORY: When flying over a cloud-topped volcano on a sunny day, don't forget to look down at your shadow. This photo submitted by adventure photographer Mila Zinkova shows why:

"Last week we took a helicopter over Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii," says Zinkova. "On the clouds below, our shadow was surrounded by a colorful solar glory."

Glories are rings of light around your shadow. They are caused by sunlight reflected backwards from water droplets in the clouds. Exactly how backscattering produces the colorful rings is a mystery involving surface waves and multiple reflections within individual droplets. Each sighting is a puzzle--all the more reason to seek them out.

Helicopters and volcanoes are not required for glories. All you need is a high perch and moist clouds. Look for them on mountains and hillsides, from aircraft and in sea fog and even indoors.

more images: from Arnaudet Patrice high above the French Alps; from Valentin Grigore flying over Switzerland, Austria, Hungary and Romania;

April 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Aprils: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002]

Explore the Sunspot Cycle

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 25, 2009 there were 1060 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 JA
May 4
7.5 LD
37 m
2006 FG3
May 6
60.7 LD
1.1 km
2001 SG286
May 17
11.5 LD
280 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 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 and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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