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Solar wind
speed: 438.3 km/sec
density: 2.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C4
2032 UT May01
24-hr: C9
0126 UT May01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 01 May 13
Sunspots AR1730 and AR1731 have delta-class magnetic fields that habor energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 165
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 01 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

01 May 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 154 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 01 May 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.5 nT
Bz: 2.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 01 May 13
Solar wind flowing from this minor coronal hole should reach Earth on ~May 3rd. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 May 01 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
45 %
45 %
05 %
05 %
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 01 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
25 %
15 %
25 %
05 %
Wednesday, May. 1, 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

CHANCE OF FLARES: Will May begin with a solar flare? Two sunspots (AR1730 and AR1731) have 'delta-class' magnetic fields that harbor energy for strong eruptions. NOAA forecasters put the odds of an M-class solar flare today at 40%. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

FARSIDE ERUPTION: Actually, May did begin with a solar flare--on the farside of the sun. An active region located behind the sun's eastern limb erupted during the early hours of May 1st, hurling a plume of red-hot debris into space:

Coronagraph images from NASA's twin STEREO probes confirm that a CME emerged from the blast site. Earth was not in the line of fire. Next week, however, we might be as the sun's rotation turns the active region toward our planet. Stay tuned for updates. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Note: iPhone and iPad users can track events on the farside of the sun using NASA's 3D Sun app. Download it now!

SPACE WEATHER BALLOON POPS: Last week, we reported on a group of high school students in Bishop, CA, who are launching "space weather balloons" to the edge of space to study the effect of solar flares on Earth's ozone layer. This is what it looks like when a space weather balloon pops:

A camera atop the balloon's payload recorded the explosion at 60 frames per second, allowing the student researchers to create a slow-motion movie of the balloon tearing itself to ribbons. This was their 22nd flight to the stratosphere since 2010, so they've seen this happen many times: another movie highlights some of the best explosions so far.

The popping of the balloon is an intentional part of the mission profile. It happens at an altitude of approximately 120,000 feet above Earth's surface, well inside the ozone layer that the students wish to study. The payload then parachutes back to Earth, where students find it (often in exotic places such as Death Valley) using GPS trackers.

The name of the group is "Earth to Sky Calculus." Check their Facebook page for more information about the space weather balloon program and other activities.

Realtime Space Weather 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 1, 2013 there were 1397 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2005 NZ6
Apr 29
24.9 LD
1.3 km
2001 DQ8
Apr 30
74.3 LD
1.1 km
2004 BV102
May 25
69.9 LD
1.4 km
1998 QE2
May 31
15.2 LD
2.1 km
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
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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