Solar wind
speed: 321.0 km/sec
density: 12.5 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 1635 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A1
1451 UT Oct23
24-hr: A1
0609 UT Oct23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 1600 UT
Daily Sun: 23 Oct 18
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 23 Oct 2018

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 5 days
2018 total: 171 days (58%)
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 23 Oct 2018


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 71 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 23 Oct 2018

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 1.1 nT
Bz: -0.2 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 1635 UT
Coronal Holes: 23 Oct 18

Solar wind flowing from this large coronal hole could reach Earth on Oct. 24th. 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 Oct 22 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 Oct 22 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
25 %
MINOR
01 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
30 %
SEVERE
10 %
30 %
 
Tuesday, Oct. 23, 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!

 

ARCTIC AURORAS LIKELY THIS WEEK: An irregular hole in the sun's atmosphere is spewing a stream of solar wind toward Earth. Estimated time of arrival: Oct. 24th. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras when the gaseous material arrives. A bright full Moon on Oct. 24th will add its luminosity to that of any geomagnetic storm, creating some nice landscape photo-ops around the Arctic Circle. Free: Aurora Alerts.

SOMETHING WICKED-GREEN THIS WAY COMES: A green ball of gas wider than the planet Jupiter is approaching Earth. It's name is "Comet 46P/Wirtanen." Italian astronomer Rolando Ligustri photographed the verdant orb on Oct. 18th using a remote-controlled telescope in Australia:

Deep inside that green ball is a furiously vaporizing nugget of dirty ice. The frozen nucleus of 46P/Wirtanen is only about 1 km wide, but astronomers say it is "hyperactive." As many as 1.7×1028 water molecules per second have been observed emerging from the comet's core. Mixed with the water vapor is diatomic carbon (C2)--a gaseous substance common in comet atmospheres that glows green in the near-vacuum of space.

On Dec. 16th, this hyperactive comet will come within 11.5 million km of Earth--making it one of the 10 closest-approaching comets of the Space Age. Comet 46P/Wirtanen will probably become a naked eye object for several weeks during the holidays, prompting some astronomers to call it "the Comet of the Year."

Comet Wirtanen passes through the inner solar system every 5.4 years. Right now it is near the orbit of Mars, and it is heading in our direction. Forecasters expected it to brighten more than 200-fold between now and mid-December, eventually reaching magnitude +3, similar to the stars of the Pleiades. Stay tuned.

Are you new to comet photography? Get Astro-imaging Tutorials from award-winning astrophotographer Damian Peach.

More resources: sky map; ephemeris; 3D orbit; light curve.

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

LASER-ETCHED MOON CUBE: Last month, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched a cosmic ray balloon to the stratosphere. This unique laser-etched Moon cube went along for the ride, ascending to an altitude of 101,140 feet:

You can have it for $99.95. The students are selling these cubes as a fund-raiser for their cosmic ray ballooning program. It's an authentic representation of the Moon, with all of the craters, mountains and lava plains accurately portrayed.

Each Moon-cube comes with a unique gift card showing the item floating at the top of Earth's atmosphere. The interior of the card tells the story of the flight and confirms that this gift has been to the edge of space and back again.

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

Realtime Venus Photo Gallery


Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery


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 Oct. 23, 2018, the network reported 47 fireballs.
(27 sporadics, 12 Orionids, 4 Southern Taurids, 2 epsilon Geminids, 2 Leonis Minorids)

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 October 23, 2018 there were 1936 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2018 UL
2018-Oct-17
0.6 LD
5.8
5
2014 US7
2018-Oct-17
3.4 LD
8.7
19
2013 UG1
2018-Oct-18
10.5 LD
13.4
123
2018 UO1
2018-Oct-18
1.7 LD
20
12
2016 GC221
2018-Oct-18
8.7 LD
14.4
39
2018 UA
2018-Oct-19
0 LD
14.1
3
2018 US1
2018-Oct-21
2.3 LD
7.1
14
2018 UH1
2018-Oct-24
5.3 LD
13
35
2018 TT5
2018-Oct-24
15.9 LD
10.2
29
2018 UE
2018-Oct-25
17.3 LD
16.1
44
475534
2018-Oct-29
7.5 LD
18.1
204
2018 UC
2018-Oct-30
5.4 LD
9.3
22
2002 VE68
2018-Nov-04
14.7 LD
8.6
282
2018 TF3
2018-Nov-05
7.8 LD
20.6
302
2010 VQ
2018-Nov-07
15.6 LD
3.8
10
2018 UQ1
2018-Nov-14
9.5 LD
12.3
153
2009 WB105
2018-Nov-25
15.2 LD
18.9
71
2008 WD14
2018-Nov-27
7.4 LD
9.3
93
2001 WO15
2018-Nov-28
13.6 LD
11.7
107
2018 TG6
2018-Dec-02
3.9 LD
1.4
13
2013 VX4
2018-Dec-09
4.1 LD
6.6
65
2015 XX169
2018-Dec-13
17 LD
5.8
12
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
Spaceweather.com welcomes two supporters of science communication: SEO Phoenix AZ and CRAS, the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences.
   
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