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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 363.7 km/sec
density: 0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A7
2125 UT May28
24-hr: A7
2125 UT May28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 28 May 10
Sunspot 1072 is quiet and poses little threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 11
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 May 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 33 days (22%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 801 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 27 May 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 73 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 27 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: 13.5 nT
Bz: 6.9 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach our planet on or about May 31st. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 May 28 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
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 28 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
55 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
45 %
50 %
20 %
25 %
10 %
10 %
What's up in Space
May 28, 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.


X-37B FLARE: On May 25th, amateur astronomer Scott Ferguson witnessed an "X-37B flare." As the US Air Force space plane glided across the night sky of Bradenton, Florida, "it brightened to magnitude -0.8, about twice the brightness of Arcturis," he reports. Sunlight must be glinting from a flat surface, perhaps the space plane's solar panels or the interior of the payload bay. Readers, turn your cell phone into a space plane tracker and be alert for flares.

X-37B images: from Gary of Fort Davis, Texas; from Val Germann of Jefferson City, Missouri; from Brent of Orlando, Florida;

WEAK IMPACT: A coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth's magnetic field during the early hours of May 28th, but the impact was weak and did not trigger strong geomagnetic activity. The chances for auroras tonight are subsiding.

RARE VOLCANIC SMOKE RING: On May 1st, volcano photographers Steve and Donna O'Meara were stunned when they photographed a perfectly shaped volcanic smoke ring blown out by Eyjafjallajokull volcano in southern Iceland:

©Steve & Donna O'Mears,

"This is a rare phenomenon," say Steve and Donna. "We've only seen it one other time at Italy's Stromboli volcano in 2001."

Joseph Licciardi, an earth sciences professor from Oregon State University, was there to see it, too. "The ring was visible for five minutes and then fell apart," he told the UK Dail Mail. "I am thrilled that I was present at the event."

In addition to Eyjafjallajokull and Stromboli, volcanic smoke rings have also been observed at Mt Etna. Just how the rings form remains a mystery. It's possible that bursts of gas through narrow vents would do the job, much like cigar or cigarette smokers blow rings with their mouths.

Smoke rings could soon become more common over Iceland. Eruptions of Eyjafjallajokull are usually followed by even bigger eruptions from the nearby Katla volcano. Indeed, experts are warning that an eruption of Katla may be close at hand. Check the odds!

FULL FLOWER MOON: According to folklore, last night's full Moon was the "Flower Moon." It gets its name from the spring flowers which are abundant in the month of May. Consider these moonlit daisies in Wintersville, Ohio:

"I took the picture in my backyard using a Canon 50D," says Don Roberts. "The Flower Moon was so bright, the sky actually looked blue in this 21 second exposure."

more Flower Moonshots: from Stefano De Rosa of Turin, Italy; from Nel Ton of Serooskerke, The Netherlands; from Doug Zubenel of Lenexa, Kansas; from Konstantinos Christodoulopoulos of Kineta, Greece; from Miguel Claro of Sesimbra, Portugal; from Tony Wilder of Chippewa Falls, WI; from Marc Provencher of Portland, OR; from Catalin Ionescu of Sapanta, Romania; from Tamás Ábrahám of Zsámbék, Hungary;

May 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Mays: 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002] [aurora 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 May 28, 2010 there were 1127 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 JR34
May 14
5.8 LD
12 m
2003 HR32
May 17
55.2 LD
1.0 km
2010 JN71
May 26
8.2 LD
245 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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