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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 384.2 km/sec
density: 1.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A5
1805 UT May29
24-hr: A5
1805 UT May29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 29 May 10
New sunspots are forming in each of the circled areas. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 12
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 28 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 28 May 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 73 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 28 May 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 5
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 12.0 nT
Bz: 0.0 nT
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 or June 1st. Credit: SDO/AIA
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 May 29 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 29 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
30 %
20 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
50 %
35 %
25 %
15 %
10 %
05 %
What's up in Space
May 29, 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.


SUBSIDING STORM: A geomagnetic storm (Kp=5) that lasted for more than 9 hours on May 29th is subsiding now and the chances for auroras are subsiding with it. The next storm is due on May 31st or June 1st when a solar wind stream is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. Stay tuned.

SPACE PLANE X-37B: The US Air Force's X-37B space plane is making a series of passes over North America this weekend. It shines about as brightly as the stars of the Big Dipper as it glides across the night sky. Last night, Dan Bush caught it crosssing paths with another satellite over Albany, Missouri:

"This is a 30 second exposure with my Nikon D90," says Bush. "I could see the X-37B despite the bright moonlight."

At least one observer has witnessed an "X-37B flare." As the space plane soared over Bradenton, Florida, on May 25th "it brightened to magnitude -0.8, about twice the brightness of Arcturis," reports Scott Ferguson. Probably he caught some sunlight glinting from the space plane's solar arrays. Such a flare would have made the space plane instantly visible even from light-polluted urban areas.

Readers, turn your cell phone into a space plane tracker or check our Simple Satellite Tracker for flyby times. And be alert for flares.

more X-37B images: from Val Germann of Jefferson City, Missouri;from Gary of Fort Davis, Texas; from Jason Czech of Brimfield, Massachusetts

JUPITER-ISS CONJUNCTION: Earlier today over Athens, Greece, the International Space Station (ISS) had a conjunction with Jupiter ... in broad daylight. Amateur astronomer Anthony Ayiomamitis recorded the flyby:

The trick, says Ayiomamitis, was focusing. "Focusing the telescope was very difficult against the mostly-blank blue sky. And there were no big sunspots I could use to fine-tune the focus by observing the sun. I got very lucky!"

His photo shows that with ISS construction now mostly complete the space station subtends an angle bigger than the biggest planet. "Jupiter has an apparent diameter of 37.5 arcseconds, which is second to the passing ISS at 42.1 arcseconds," he notes.

Last week he also photograpphed the space station transiting the sun. "Broad daylight is an interesting time for ISS photography," he says. Blue-sky transit forecasts may be found at

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 29, 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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