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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 624.5 km/sec
density: 9.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2221 UT Jul14
24-hr: M1
0458 UT Jul14
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 14 Jul 12
Sunspot 1520 has a delta-class magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 112
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 14 Jul 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 14 Jul 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 147 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 14 Jul 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 5 storm
24-hr max: Kp= 5
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 13.2 nT
Bz: 10.1 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 14 Jul 12
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Jul 14 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
70 %
70 %
15 %
15 %
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 Jul 14 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
15 %
15 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
20 %
20 %
25 %
20 %
Saturday, Jul. 14, 2012
What's up in space

Listen to radar echoes from satellites and meteors, live on listener-supported Space Weather Radio.

Spaceweather Radio is on the air

SUNDAY MORNING SKY SHOW: Set your alarm for dawn on Sunday morning, July 15th. Venus, Jupiter and the crescent Moon are gathering for a bright three-way conjunction in the eastern sky before sunrise. Must-see! [video] [photos]

CME IMPACT: As expected, a CME hit Earth's magnetic field on July 14th at approximately 1800 UT or 11 am Pacific Daylight Time). A geomagnetic storm is brewing in the wake of the impact. At the moment, conditions appear favorable for auroras over high-latitude places such as Canada, Scandinavia, Antarctica and Siberia. It is too early to say whether the storm will intensify and bring auroras to middle latitudes as well. Stay tuned for updates. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

The arrival of the CME shook Earth's magnetic field, which in turn induced electrical currents in the ground at Arctic latitudes. Rob Stammes measured the effect from his magnetic observatory in Lofoten, Norway:

Stammes has observed many CME strikes from his laboratory at the Polar Light Center. He says this one was not particularly strong, at least in terms of ground currents. Whether this presages an equally muted display of Northern Lights remains to be seen.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

HOT COMET: Periodic comet 96P/Maccholz is passing by the sun today deep inside the orbit of Mercury. At closest approach, the icy visitor from the outer solar system will be less than 12 million miles (0.13 AU) from the solar surface. Coronagraphs onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory are monitoring the encounter:

"Discovered in 1986, Comet 96P/Machholz is a fascinating comet that has passed through SOHO coronagraph images four times now," says Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab. "It's not a huge comet but it is very photogenic, and puts on quite a display with its beautiful dusty tail."

In an essay posted on his web site, Battams explains why the comet is so fascinating. Many researchers suspect 96P/Machholz is not a native of our solar system; some chemical evidence suggests it came from another star. Also, 96P/Machholz appears to be dynamically related (that is, the comet's orbit is related) to a diverse collection of other objects in the solar system including asteroid 2003 EH1 and the Quadrantid, Southern Delta Aquariid, and daytime Arietid meteoroid streams. All of these things--the asteroid, the comet, and the meteoroids--might be fragments of a single "foreign" body that broke apart thousands of years ago.

Comet 96P/Machholz will be visible in SOHO coronagraphs until July 17th. Battams believes the comet will reach a peak brightness of 2nd magnitude--not its best show. "But who knows," he says, "maybe Comet Machholz will do something completely and utterly unexpected like fragment into a swarm of Machholzlets." Join SOHO for a ringside seat.

Realtime Space Weather 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 July 14, 2012 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2003 KU2
Jul 15
40.2 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
2000 ET70
Aug 21
58.5 LD
1.1 km
1998 TU3
Aug 25
49.2 LD
4.9 km
2009 AV
Aug 26
62.8 LD
1.1 km
1998 UO1
Oct 4
60.1 LD
2.1 km
2005 GQ21
Oct 12
77 LD
1.0 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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