Solar wind
speed: 379.3 km/sec
density: 6.2 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2143 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A2
1747 UT Nov15
24-hr: A2
0521 UT Nov15
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2100 UT
Daily Sun: 15 Nov 18
Sunspot AR2726 is very small and poses no threat for solar flares--a typical solar minimum sunspot. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 11
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 15 Nov 2018

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2018 total: 190 days (60%)
2017 total: 104 days (28%)
2016 total: 32 days (9%)
2015 total: 0 days (0%)
2014 total: 1 day (<1%)
2013 total: 0 days (0%)
2012 total: 0 days (0%)
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
2008 total: 268 days (73%)
2007 total: 152 days (42%)
2006 total: 70 days (19%)

Updated 15 Nov 2018


Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 4.14
x1010 W Cold
Max: 49.4
x1010 W Hot (10/1957)
Min: 2.05
x1010 W Cold (02/2009)
explanation | more data
Updated 15 Nov 2018

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 69 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 15 Nov 2018

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.7 nT
Bz: 0.8 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2141 UT
Coronal Holes: 15 Nov 18

Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Nov. 18-19. Credit: SDO/AIA
Noctilucent Clouds The season for noctilucent clouds (NLCs) in the northern hemisphere has come to an end. Images from NASA's AIM spacecraft show no NLCs around the north pole.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 09-03-2018 14:55:02
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2018 Nov 14 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
01 %
01 %
CLASS X
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: 2018 Nov 14 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
20 %
SEVERE
15 %
15 %
 
Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018
What's up in space
       
 

Lights Over Lapland has a brand-new website full of exciting adventures in Abisko National Park, Sweden! Take a look at our aurora activities and book your once-in-a-lifetime trip with us today!

 

GEOMAGNETIC UNREST PREDICTED: Earth's polar magnetic field will be disturbed on Nov. 18th or 19th by the arrival of a high-speed stream of solar wind. The gaseous material is flowing from a relatively small hole in the sun's atmosphere. Arctic sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Free: Aurora Alerts

THE LEONID METEOR SHOWER: Earth is approching a stream of debris from comet Tempel-Tuttle, source of the annual Leonid meteor shower. Forecasters expect the shower to peak on Nov. 17th and 18th with as many as 15 meteors per hour visible in bright moonlight.

The Leonids are famous for storming. As often as a few times each century, Earth hits a dense filament of Tempel-Tuttle's dusty debris, causing thousands of meteors per hour to stream out of the constellation Leo. Such a display in 1833 kickstarted modern meteor astronomy with an outburst of 100,000 Leonids per hour. Many readers still remember the Leonid fireballs of 1998 and the meteor storms of 1999, 2001 and 2002.

2018 is not a storm year, however. Earth will thread the needle between dense filaments, scooping up a relative pittance of diffuse dust. Each speck will hit Earth's upper atmosphere at ~72 km/s (160,000 mph) producing a swift meteor emerging from a radiant in the constellation Leo. The best time time to look is during the hours before dawn on Saturday, Nov. 17th, and Sunday, Nov. 18th, when the Lion is high in the eastern sky.

Bonus: If you're up before sunrise, check out Venus near the bright star Spica as well as newly-discovered Comet Machholz-Fujikawa-Iwamoto (C/2018 V1) in the constellation Virgo.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

GREEN COMET HAS A BLUE TAIL: Astrophotographers, take note. Comet Machholz-Fujikawa-Iwamoto (C/2018 V1) has a long blue tail. Michael Jaeger of Jauerling, Austria, photographed it on Nov. 13th:

"This is a long-exposure LRGB image taken yesterday morning from a dark mountain location," says Jaeger. "I used a 10-inch telescope."

The comet's tail is blue because it contains ionized carbon monoxide (CO+), a gas which fluoresces blue in the near-vacuum of interplanetary space. Solar wind is blowing the gaseous material into a straight line pointing away from the sun.

Comet Machholz-Fujikawa-Iwamoto was discovered just last week by amateur astronomers in Arizona and Japan. A first-time visitor to the inner solar system, the comet will make its closest approach to Earth (0.67 AU) on Nov. 27th. At that time, it might be visible to the naked eye--emphasis on might. Fresh comets are hard to predict. At the moment it shining like an 8th magnitude star in the constellation Virgo, an easy target for backyard telescopes in the pre-dawn morning sky.

Resources: 3D orbit; ephemeris; orbital elements; sky map.

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

A GIFT FROM THE EDGE OF SPACE: Don't just see the Northern Lights, wear them! To support their cosmic ray balloon program, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have flown a payload of Northern Light Pendants to the edge of space. This one reached an altitude 109,908 feet above Earth's surface:

You can have it for $79.95. The students are selling these pendants to pay their helium bill. Each one comes with a greeting card showing the item in flight and telling the story of its journey to the edge of space. All sales support the Earth to Sky Calculus cosmic ray ballooning program and hands-on STEM research.

Far Out Gifts: Earth to Sky Store
All sales support hands-on STEM education


Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery


  All Sky Fireball Network
Every night, a network of NASA all-sky cameras scans the skies above the United States for meteoritic fireballs. Automated software maintained by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth in Earth's atmosphere and many other characteristics. Daily results are presented here on Spaceweather.com.

On Nov. 15, 2018, the network reported 30 fireballs.
(21 sporadics, 5 Northern Taurids, 4 Leonids)

In this diagram of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point--Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]

  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 November 15, 2018 there were 1936 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2018 VA2
2018-Nov-09
1.9 LD
6.7
14
2018 VG6
2018-Nov-09
15.8 LD
5.5
18
2018 VV4
2018-Nov-09
6.3 LD
10.6
18
2018 VR3
2018-Nov-09
1.9 LD
8.2
15
2018 VA8
2018-Nov-09
3 LD
12.1
15
2018 VS4
2018-Nov-09
14.7 LD
10.1
25
2018 VM6
2018-Nov-10
9.3 LD
16.6
95
2018 VD5
2018-Nov-10
4.5 LD
9.4
9
2018 VS1
2018-Nov-10
3.6 LD
10.6
17
2018 VR1
2018-Nov-10
13.2 LD
9.3
18
2018 VX1
2018-Nov-10
1 LD
6.1
11
2018 VY4
2018-Nov-11
5.5 LD
12.6
14
2018 VH5
2018-Nov-11
6 LD
6
13
2018 VA4
2018-Nov-11
3.1 LD
7.4
8
2018 VZ6
2018-Nov-12
9.5 LD
10.3
27
2018 VU8
2018-Nov-12
3.5 LD
5.4
10
2018 VN6
2018-Nov-12
1.9 LD
14.2
8
2018 VC7
2018-Nov-13
0.9 LD
4.5
12
2018 VR6
2018-Nov-13
8 LD
9.5
12
2018 VF5
2018-Nov-13
9.7 LD
6.8
11
2018 UQ1
2018-Nov-13
9.4 LD
12.3
146
2018 VU7
2018-Nov-13
6.4 LD
9.4
13
2018 VO3
2018-Nov-14
4.1 LD
7.7
15
2018 VX5
2018-Nov-14
3.6 LD
8.3
28
2018 VK1
2018-Nov-14
10.2 LD
2.3
12
2018 VW4
2018-Nov-14
9.8 LD
12.5
45
2018 VD7
2018-Nov-14
9.1 LD
11
26
2018 VR8
2018-Nov-14
18.9 LD
12.3
28
2018 VQ8
2018-Nov-14
17.9 LD
9.7
38
2007 UL12
2018-Nov-15
16.4 LD
25.8
235
2018 VV7
2018-Nov-15
12.2 LD
8.3
21
2018 VT8
2018-Nov-16
10.3 LD
6.2
63
2018 VS8
2018-Nov-17
2 LD
9.2
14
2018 VT4
2018-Nov-18
11.1 LD
4.4
18
2018 VQ6
2018-Nov-20
11.4 LD
7.9
22
2018 VP7
2018-Nov-20
7.7 LD
5.7
16
2009 WB105
2018-Nov-25
15.2 LD
18.9
71
2018 VT7
2018-Nov-25
8.2 LD
2.3
9
2008 WD14
2018-Nov-27
7.4 LD
9.3
93
2001 WO15
2018-Nov-28
13.6 LD
11.7
107
2018 VE4
2018-Nov-30
15.1 LD
4.8
30
2018 TG6
2018-Dec-02
3.9 LD
1.4
12
2013 VX4
2018-Dec-09
4.1 LD
6.6
65
2018 VX6
2018-Dec-10
16.6 LD
11.2
71
2015 XX169
2018-Dec-13
17 LD
5.8
12
2017 XQ60
2018-Dec-21
11.3 LD
15.6
47
163899
2018-Dec-22
7.4 LD
6.2
1232
418849
2018-Dec-23
16.6 LD
17.6
269
2014 AD16
2019-Jan-04
12.9 LD
9.4
12
2016 AZ8
2019-Jan-07
11.6 LD
9.1
224
2013 YM2
2019-Jan-09
7.3 LD
4.3
20
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.
  Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere

SOMETHING NEW! We have developed a new predictive model of aviation radiation. It's called E-RAD--short for Empirical RADiation model. We are constantly flying radiation sensors onboard airplanes over the US and and around the world, so far collecting more than 22,000 gps-tagged radiation measurements. Using this unique dataset, we can predict the dosage on any flight over the USA with an error no worse than 15%.

E-RAD lets us do something new: Every day we monitor approximately 1400 flights criss-crossing the 10 busiest routes in the continental USA. Typically, this includes more than 80,000 passengers per day. E-RAD calculates the radiation exposure for every single flight.

The Hot Flights Table is a daily summary of these calculations. It shows the 5 charter flights with the highest dose rates; the 5 commercial flights with the highest dose rates; 5 commercial flights with near-average dose rates; and the 5 commercial flights with the lowest dose rates. Passengers typically experience dose rates that are 20 to 70 times higher than natural radiation at sea level.

To measure radiation on airplanes, we use the same sensors we fly to the stratosphere onboard Earth to Sky Calculus cosmic ray balloons: neutron bubble chambers and X-ray/gamma-ray Geiger tubes sensitive to energies between 10 keV and 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.

Column definitions: (1) The flight number; (2) The maximum dose rate during the flight, expressed in units of natural radiation at sea level; (3) The maximum altitude of the plane in feet above sea level; (4) Departure city; (5) Arrival city; (6) Duration of the flight.

SPACE WEATHER BALLOON DATA: Approximately once a week, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly space weather balloons to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with radiation sensors that detect cosmic rays, a surprisingly "down to Earth" form of space weather. Cosmic rays can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. Furthermore, there are studies ( #1, #2, #3, #4) linking cosmic rays with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in the general population. Our latest measurements show that cosmic rays are intensifying, with an increase of more than 18% since 2015:

The data points in the graph above correspond to the peak of the Reneger-Pfotzer maximum, which lies about 67,000 feet above central California. When cosmic rays crash into Earth's atmosphere, they produce a spray of secondary particles that is most intense at the entrance to the stratosphere. Physicists Eric Reneger and Georg Pfotzer discovered the maximum using balloons in the 1930s and it is what we are measuring today.

En route to the stratosphere, our sensors also pass through aviation altitudes:

In this plot, dose rates are expessed as multiples of sea level. For instance, we see that boarding a plane that flies at 25,000 feet exposes passengers to dose rates ~10x higher than sea level. At 40,000 feet, the multiplier is closer to 50x.

The radiation sensors onboard our helium balloons detect X-rays and gamma-rays in the energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.

Why are cosmic rays intensifying? The main reason is the sun. Solar storm clouds such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) sweep aside cosmic rays when they pass by Earth. During Solar Maximum, CMEs are abundant and cosmic rays are held at bay. Now, however, the solar cycle is swinging toward Solar Minimum, allowing cosmic rays to return. Another reason could be the weakening of Earth's magnetic field, which helps protect us from deep-space radiation.

  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.
STEREO
  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
NOAA 27-Day Space Weather Forecasts
  fun to read, but should be taken with a grain of salt! Forecasts looking ahead more than a few days are often wrong.
Aurora 30 min forecast
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Heliophysics
  the underlying science of space weather
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