Solar wind
speed: 440.3 km/sec
density: 3.6 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 1134 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A3
0633 UT Feb20
24-hr: A3
0331 UT Feb20
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 1100 UT
Daily Sun: 20 Feb 18
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 20 Feb 2018

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 3 days
2018 total: 21 days (42%)
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%)

Updated 20 Feb 2018


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 69 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 20 Feb 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= 4
unsettled
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.0 nT
Bz: -1.1 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 1134 UT
Coronal Holes: 20 Feb 18

There are no large and coherent coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA
Noctilucent Clouds Our connection with NASA's AIM spacecraft has been restored! New images from AIM show that the southern season for noctilucent clouds (NLCs) is underway. Come back to this spot every day to see AIM's "daily daisy," which reveals the dance of electric-blue NLCs around the Antarctic Circle..
Switch view: Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula, East Antarctica, Polar
Updated at: 02-07-2018 17:55:05
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2018 Feb 19 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 Feb 19 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
30 %
15 %
MINOR
10 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
20 %
MINOR
30 %
25 %
SEVERE
30 %
20 %
 
Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018
What's up in space
       
 

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EXITING THE SOLAR WIND STREAM: Earth is exiting a stream of solar wind that sparked a G1-class geomagnetic storm on Feb. 19th. Intermittent polar auroras should continue for the next 24 to 48 hours as the solar wind speed declines back to nominal levels. Monitor the aurora gallery for sightings. Free: Aurora Alerts 

THE EVENING STAR IS BACK: This weekend, sky watchers admiring the crescent Moon saw something else they hadn't seen in a while: Venus. The 2nd planet is returning to the evening sky after an 11-month absence.  David Blanchard photographed the "Evening Star" beaming trough the rosy glow of sunset over Grand Canyon National Park on Feb. 16th:

"The crescent Moon and Venus shone brightly above the South Rim of the Grand Canyon," says Blanchard. "A short sequence of images of the setting crescent Moon show distortion of the lower limb from atmospheric effects."

This is just the beginning for Venus. The planet is emerging from the glare of the sun, becoming easier to see every night, and it will be an increasingly bright fixture of the evening sky for the next 8 months. This animation created by Larry Koehn of ShadowandSubstance.com previews the action.

A date of special note is March 18, 2018. Less than one month from now, Venus, Mercury and the whisper-thin crescent Moon will gather in the sunset sky for a beautiful triple conjunction: sky map. Mark your calendar!

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

RETURN OF THE EASTERNAUTS: Easter is coming early this year: April 1, 2018. Hence the return of the Easternauts. To support their cosmic ray monitoring program, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have flown a payload-full of bunnies to the edge of space:

You can have one for $49.95. (Space helmet included!) They make great Easter gifts for young scientists, and all proceeds support STEM education. Each bunny comes with a greeting card showing the Easternaut in flight and telling the story of its journey to the stratosphere and back again.

Far Out Gifts: Earth to Sky Store
All proceeds 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 Feb. 19, 2018, the network reported 1 fireballs.
(1 sporadic)

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 February 20, 2018 there were 1882 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2018 CT3
2018-Feb-14
14.6 LD
14.8
94
2018 CF3
2018-Feb-14
11.1 LD
8.7
17
2018 CS2
2018-Feb-14
14.8 LD
5.7
28
2018 CY2
2018-Feb-14
18.7 LD
15
126
2018 CU2
2018-Feb-15
2.2 LD
8.9
9
2018 CB1
2018-Feb-15
9.7 LD
11.4
28
2018 CC1
2018-Feb-15
14.1 LD
15.4
71
2018 CD3
2018-Feb-15
0.9 LD
7.6
7
2018 CX2
2018-Feb-16
17.3 LD
13.9
28
2018 CP2
2018-Feb-19
6.1 LD
11.3
51
2018 CJ
2018-Feb-20
9.3 LD
15.3
67
2018 DB
2018-Feb-20
2.3 LD
16.2
11
2018 CU13
2018-Feb-21
11.8 LD
10.7
21
2016 CO246
2018-Feb-22
15.3 LD
5.4
21
2017 DR109
2018-Feb-24
3.7 LD
7.4
11
2018 CE14
2018-Feb-24
5.2 LD
10.2
26
2016 FU12
2018-Feb-26
13.2 LD
4.5
15
2018 DA
2018-Feb-26
11 LD
12.8
51
2014 EY24
2018-Feb-27
14.8 LD
8
54
2018 CU14
2018-Feb-27
5.4 LD
4.3
9
2015 BF511
2018-Feb-28
11.7 LD
5.7
39
2018 DC
2018-Mar-03
9.3 LD
8.2
42
2003 EM1
2018-Mar-07
16.6 LD
8
45
2017 VR12
2018-Mar-07
3.8 LD
6.3
286
2018 BK7
2018-Mar-09
10.2 LD
8.7
69
2015 DK200
2018-Mar-10
6.9 LD
8
27
2016 SR2
2018-Mar-28
18.7 LD
7.3
20
2010 GD35
2018-Mar-31
15.5 LD
11.6
45
2004 FG29
2018-Apr-02
4 LD
14.9
22
363599
2018-Apr-12
19.3 LD
24.5
224
2014 UR
2018-Apr-14
9.3 LD
4.4
17
2016 JP
2018-Apr-20
12 LD
12.7
204
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

Readers, thank you for your patience while we continue to develop this new section of Spaceweather.com. We've been working to streamline our data reduction, allowing us to post results from balloon flights much more rapidly, and we have developed a new data product, shown here:

This plot displays radiation measurements not only in the stratosphere, but also at aviation altitudes. 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. These measurements are made by our usual cosmic ray payload as it passes through aviation altitudes en route to the stratosphere over California.

What is this all about? 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 13% since 2015:


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.

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.

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.

  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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