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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 362.5 km/sec
density: 7.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2036 UT Jan05
24-hr: B1
0912 UT Jan05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 05 Jan 11
Sunspot 1142 is poses a declining threat for C-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 54
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 Jan 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 0 days (0%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 819 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 04 Jan 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 91 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 04 Jan 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.5 nT
Bz: 1.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 05 Jan 10
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth around Jan. 6th or 7th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Jan 05 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: 2011 Jan 05 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
20 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011
What's up in space

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

Metallic pictures of the Sun

DOUBLE SOLAR ECLIPSE: Not satisfied with an ordinary blow-your-socks-off partial eclipse (see below), celebrated photographer Thierry Legault traveled to the Sultanate of Oman to record a rare double eclipse. For a split-second on Jan. 4th the disk of the sun was partially covered by the Moon and the International Space Station: must-see photos.

CRESCENT SUNRISE: Yesterday, the new Moon passed in front of the sun, slightly off-center, producing a partial solar eclipse and a fantastic crescent sunrise over Europe. Dennis Put sends this picture from Maasvlakte, The Netherlands:

"The eclipse was absolutely stunning!" says Put. "At first some major cloud fronts threatened to hide the event. I was very pleased to meet the two peaks of the crescent Sun rising above the clouds around 9 o'clock."

NEW: Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery

more images: from Willy Schuppert of Amsterdam, the Netherlands; from Tunc Tezel of Ras Lanuf, Libya; from Rob Driessen of Maastricht, the Netherlands; from Jan Koeman of Westerschelde river, the Netherlands; from Wouter Verhesen of Sittard, The Netherlands; from Peter Rosén of Stockholm, Sweden; from Kari A. Kuure of Tampere, Finland; from Luke Broom-Lynne of Norfolk, United Kingdom; from Philippe Van den Doorn of Rixensart, Belgium; from Andrea Aletti of S.Maria del Monte (VA) Italy; from Rob Kantelberg of Sint Oedenrode, The Netherlands; from Robbert-Jan Westerduin of Nijmegen, The Netherlands;

AURORAS AND METEORS: "Wow!" exclaims Fredrik Broms of Kvaløya, Norway. "[Last night], Earth's upper atmosphere got hit full force both by the solar wind, producing some amazing coronas in purple and green, and every now and then by a fragment from shattered comet 2003 EH1, source of the Quadrantid meteor shower." He took this picture using his Nikon D3:

"Bitter cold weather here in northern Norway made the photo-session a bit shorter than I hoped--indeed, my lens was completely covered in ice crystals--but I managed to catch some of the beauty of this cold night," says Broms.

Browse the links below for more snapshots of the first auroras and the first meteor shower of the New Year.

more images: from Yuichi Takasaka of Minnewanka Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada; from Cesar Cantu of Monterrey, México; from Ørjan Bertelsen of Birtavarre, Kåfjorden, Norway; from Frank Martin Ingilæ of Tana bru, Finnmark, Norway; from Therese van Nieuwenhoven of Laukvik, Lofoten, Norway; from Thomas Achermann of Törmäslompolo, Lapland, Finland; from Yuichi Takasaka of Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada; from James Beauchamp of Oklahoma City, OK;

December 2010 Aurora Gallery
[2010 Recap: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec]

Lunar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[NASA: "Solstice Lunar Eclipse"] [astronomy alerts]

  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 January 5, 2011 there were 1167 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 TQ19
Oct 8
9.6 LD
37 m
2010 TS19
Oct 10
3.7 LD
31 m
2010 TD54
Oct 12
0.1 LD
7 m
2010 TB54
Oct 13
6.1 LD
19 m
1999 VO6
Oct 14
34.3 LD
1.8 km
2010 TK
Oct 16
4.5 LD
37 m
1998 TU3
Oct 17
69.1 LD
5.2 km
2010 TG19
Oct 22
1.1 LD
70 m
1998 MQ
Oct 23
77.7 LD
1.9 km
2007 RU17
Oct 29
39.2 LD
1.1 km
2003 UV11
Oct 30
5 LD
595 m
3838 Epona
Nov 7
76.8 LD
3.4 km
2005 QY151
Nov 16
77.7 LD
1.3 km
2008 KT
Nov 23
5.6 LD
10 m
2002 EZ16
Nov 30
73.9 LD
1.0 km
2000 JH5
Dec 7
47 LD
1.5 km
2010 JL33
Dec 9
16.6 LD
1.3 km
2008 EA32
Jan 7
76.5 LD
2.1 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
Science Central
  more links...
©2010 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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