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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 428.1 km/sec
density: 2.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1926 UT May14
24-hr: C4
0738 UT May14
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 14 May 12
Sunspot 1476 is decaying, but it still has a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 138
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 May 2012

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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

Updated 13 May 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 131 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 13 May 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.8 nT
Bz: 1.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 14 May 12
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 May 14 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
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: 2012 May 14 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
15 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
20 %
20 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Monday, May. 14, 2012
What's up in space

They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store.

Own your own meteorite

CME TARGETS EARTH, MARS: A coronal mass ejection could deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field today, May 14th. The cloud is passing by en route to Mars. NOAA forecasters estimate a 15% to 25% chance of minor geomagnetic storms during the next 24 hours. Magnetic storm alerts: text, phone.

CHINESE SPACE STATION TRANSITS THE SUN: Solar photographers have grown accustomed to winged spaceships flying in front of the sun. For years, silhouettes of space shuttles and the International Space Station have flitted across the solar disk, producing photo-ops of rare beauty. Now China's space station, the Tiangong-1 ("Heavenly Palace 1"), is joining the show. On May 11th, perhaps for the first time, Thierry Legault of Paris, France, caught the newcomer transiting the sun:

"Orbiting Earth at 16,500 mph, the Chinese station flitted across the sun in only 0.9s," says Legault, who captured the split-second transit using a solar-filtered Takahashi FSQ-106 refractor and a Canon 5D Mark II digital camera.

At the moment, the silhouette of the 19,000 pound Tiangong-1 is dwarfed by its older cousin, the 990,000 pound ISS. Tiangong-1 will grow a little larger in the summer of 2012 when the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft docks with it. Chinese astronauts will be on board for their first visit to the outpost. The Chinese space agency says this is just the first step toward the development of a much larger space station planned for launch in 2020. Stay tuned for more--and bigger--silhouettes.

You can see Tiangong-1 with the naked eye shining in the night sky as brightly as the stars of the Big Dipper. Check your smartphone or SpaceWeather's Simple Satellite Tracker for sighting opportunities.

AURORAS FROM 20,000 FEET: A solar wind stream hit Earth on May 9th, rattling our planet's magnetic field with reverberations that lasted nearly three days. Most of the resultant auroras were overwhelmed by the midnight sun at high latitudes. Most, but not all. Flying photographer Matt Melnyk found a window of visibility at 20,000 ft:

"I was travelling from Edmonton, Alberta, to Yellowknife NWT between 1:00 am and 3:30 am on May 11th when I witnessed this dramatic display," says Melnyk. "With 0% light pollution at 20,000 feet, the cockpit of the aircraft offers a great view for the aurora."

More auroras could be in the offing. A CME is expected to deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on May 14th. NOAA forecasters estimate a 15% to 25% chance of geomagnetic activity when the cloud arrives. Observing tip: Pick the window seat. Magnetic storm alerts: text, phone.

more images: from Paul Beebe of Worthy Lake, Upsala, Ontario, Canada.

  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 14, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2012 JU
May 13
0.5 LD
10 m
2010 KK37
May 19
2.3 LD
31 m
4183 Cuno
May 20
47.4 LD
5.7 km
2002 VX94
May 26
72.8 LD
1.1 km
2002 AC
Jun 16
62.2 LD
1.2 km
1999 BJ8
Jun 16
68.8 LD
1.1 km
2005 GO21
Jun 21
17.1 LD
2.2 km
2003 KU2
Jul 15
40.3 LD
1.3 km
2004 EW9
Jul 16
46.8 LD
2.1 km
2002 AM31
Jul 22
13.7 LD
1.0 km
37655 Illapa
Aug 12
37 LD
1.2 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
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
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