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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 551.6 km/sec
density: 0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B5
1840 UT May05
24-hr: C7
1150 UT May05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 05 May 10
New sunspot 1069 has a beta-gamma magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 70
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 03 May 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 21 days (17%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 791 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 03 May 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 80 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 03 May 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.0 nT
Bz: 1.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 May 05 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
30 %
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: 2010 May 05 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
May 5, 2010

NEW AND IMPROVED: Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a field-tested global satellite tracker. The Satellite Flybys app now works in all countries.


ACTIVE SUNSPOT: New sunspot 1069 is growing rapidly (updated: movie) and crackling with C-class solar flares. Located near the sun's northwestern limb, the sunspot is by far the most active region on the sun. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor developments.

RIOTOUS AURORAS: A solar wind gust hit Earth's magnetic field on May 2nd and triggered the longest-lasting geomagnetic storm of the year (so far). At the height of the disturbance, Zoltan Kenwell photographed some "riotous auroras" over a lake near St. Paul, Alberta:

"What a night!" says Kenwell. "In the past I have tried to photograph the auroras stretching from horizon to horizon, but it didn't work out. This time I got it twice--once in the sky and the reflection in the lake."

The solar wind stream that caused the display is subsiding now, but according to NOAA forecasters there is still a 25% chance of geomagnetic disturbances tonight. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras.

May 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Mays: 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002] [aurora alerts]

RED RAINBOW: Yesterday in Muncie, Indiana, the sun was just about to set when--"Wow! This red rainbow popped up out of nowhere," reports Mike Hutchinson. "It hung there for about 15 minutes--just enough time to grab my camera and snap a rain-splattered picture."

What made the rainbow red? Simple. The sun itself was red. "The sun was low in the west and strongly reddened by atmospheric scattering and ominous-looking clouds," says Hutchinson.

The real question. according to Hutchinson, is why the inside of the rainbow was so much brighter red than the outside. Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley has the answer: "A rainbow is not just a set of colored rings, but rather a set of colored disks. The sky inside is bright because raindrops direct light there, too." All rainbows have this property, but it is particularly evident when the sky above the 'bow is dark and cloudy--as it was on May 3rd in Muncie, Indiana.

Got sunset, clouds and rain? Be alert for red rainbows!

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 5, 2010 there were 1116 potentially hazardous asteroids.
April 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 GV23
April 5
2.1 LD
12 m
2010 GF7
April 8
2.8 LD
30 m
2010 GA6
April 9
1.1 LD
27 m
2010 GM23
April 13
3.4 LD
47 m
2005 YU55
April 19
5.9 LD
185 m
2009 UY19
April 23
8.8 LD
87 m
2002 JR100
April 29
8.0 LD
65 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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