Solar wind
speed: 391.7 km/sec
density: 7.1 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2215 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A6
1555 UT Nov23
24-hr: B1
0914 UT Nov23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2200 UT
Daily Sun: 23 Nov 17
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 23 Nov 2017

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 4 days
2017 total: 85 days (26%)
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 23 Nov 2017


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 73 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 22 Nov 2017

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.2 nT
Bz: 0.2 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2214 UT
Coronal Holes: 23 Nov 17

Ea rth is exiting a stream of solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA
Noctilucent Clouds Latest images from NASA's AIM spacecraft show that the 2017 northern summer season for noctilucent clouds has finished.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 09-03-2017 01:55:03
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2017 Nov 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: 2017 Nov 22 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
10 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
15 %
15 %
SEVERE
15 %
15 %
 
Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017
What's up in space
       
 

All-inclusive Northern Lights trips in Tromsø, Norway. Small groups, big experiences! Highly qualified guides ensure unique and unforgettable adventures with a personal touch. Visit Explore the Arctic

 

LONG-RANGE FORECAST: Mark your calendar. NOAA forecasters say there is a chance of moderately strong G2-class geomagnetic storms on Dec. 4th and 5th when a fast-moving stream of solar wind is expected to engulf Earth. Sky watchers in northern-tier US states from Maine to Washington may be able to see and photograph auroras. Free: Aurora Alerts.

SPOTLESS SUN SPARKS PINK AURORAS: On Nov. 22nd, the face of the sun was unblemished by sunspots, and NOAA classified solar activity as "very low."  Nevertheless, the skies above Tromso Norway exploded with a remarkable outburst of pink auroras. "Suddenly, the whole valley turned white (with a hint of pink)," says Frank Meissner, who witnessed and photographed the display. "It was over after about 20 seconds."

How bright was it? "The brightness of the auroras may be compared to the car lights in the background of my photo," points out Meissner.

In nearby Kvaløya, aurora tour guide Marianne Bergli witnessed a surge of pink that was, if anything, even more dramatic:

"Ironically, our guests stopped taking pictures," says Bergli. "They were awestruck and frozen to the spot by the incredible pink and green lights overhead."

This outburst was powered by a stream of solar wind flowing from a hole in the sun's atmosphere. Such holes are common during Solar Minimum, and they require no sunspots to form. That's why auroras continue throughout the 11-year solar cycle.

The pink color of the outburst tells us something interesting about the solar wind on Nov. 22nd: it seems to have been unusually penetrating. Most auroras are green–a verdant glow caused by energetic particles from space hitting oxygen atoms 100 km to 300 km above Earth's surface. Pink appears when the energetic particles descend lower than usual, striking nitrogen molecules at the 100 km level and below.

In recent winters, big displays of pink and white auroras have coincided with spotless suns often enough to make observers wonder if there is a connection.  If so, more outbursts are in the offing as the sun continues its plunge toward a deep Solar Minimum. Stay tuned for pink!

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

UNUSUAL MAGNETIC FILAMENT: NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory is monitoring an unusual filament of magnetism on the sun. This image, taken on Nov. 22nd, shows where magnetic forces are holding a massive curl of dense plasma just above the stellar surface:

Magnetic filaments on the sun are not uncommon. Usually they are linear, stretching in only one direction. This one, however, curls back on itself, circumscribing a region more than 280,000 km in diameter. The unusual architecture of the region may undermine its stability. Magnetic fields that criss-cross, like mismatching ends of an incomplete circle, can explode--a process called "magnetic reconnection." Any eruptions this week would likely be Earth-directed.

The scale of this filament makes it an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. Monitoring is encouraged.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

A CRYSTAL BALL IN THE STRATOSPHERE: For the first time ever, a crystal ball has visited the stratosphere. The students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched it on Oct. 19, 2017--a combination optics experiment and fundraiser. Watch the video as the crystal orb travels onboard a giant helium balloon 93,000 feet above Earth's surface, stretching, focusing, and inverting the incredible landscape of the Sierra Nevada mountains behind it:

This 800 gram crystal ball contains an embedded model of the Solar System, including the sun, eight planets and their moons. It makes an incredible gift for anyone interested in space.

We have flown only a small number of these heavyweight crystal balls. You can have one for $199. Each crystal ball comes with a unique gift card showing the item at the edge of space and telling the story of its flight. It also comes with a complementary crystal stand so you can display this unique keepsake on a desktop or shelf. QUANTITIES ARE LIMITED.

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


  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. 23, 2017, the network reported 33 fireballs.
(19 sporadics, 5 Leonids, 4 Northern Taurids, 3 alpha Monocerotids, 2 November omega Orionids)

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 23, 2017 there were 1853 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
444584
2017-Nov-17
8.7 LD
14.8
324
2017 VC14
2017-Nov-18
1.3 LD
11.2
7
2017 UC52
2017-Nov-18
19.5 LD
14.7
50
2017 WU1
2017-Nov-18
3 LD
7.4
15
2017 VN2
2017-Nov-18
6.2 LD
4.9
12
2017 WT1
2017-Nov-18
14.9 LD
9.8
42
2017 WE
2017-Nov-19
11.7 LD
15.9
16
2017 WC
2017-Nov-20
2.9 LD
7.6
23
2017 WB1
2017-Nov-20
2 LD
9.4
10
2017 WV1
2017-Nov-21
2.6 LD
7.4
7
2017 WW1
2017-Nov-21
0.4 LD
12.7
4
2017 VD13
2017-Nov-22
13.2 LD
16.4
36
2017 VA15
2017-Nov-22
8.1 LD
6.4
35
2017 VZ14
2017-Nov-24
3.2 LD
8.4
37
2017 VY13
2017-Nov-25
2 LD
10.5
18
2017 WK1
2017-Nov-28
7.8 LD
8
14
2017 WH2
2017-Nov-30
6.4 LD
16.7
49
2008 WM61
2017-Dec-03
3.8 LD
4.7
16
2017 VS14
2017-Dec-12
15.9 LD
2.8
15
2015 XX169
2017-Dec-14
9.7 LD
6.3
11
2017 VT14
2017-Dec-17
3.8 LD
10.3
103
2011 YD29
2017-Dec-19
17.6 LD
7.7
20
2006 XY
2017-Dec-20
6.5 LD
5
56
2017 TS3
2017-Dec-22
18.1 LD
10.2
136
418849
2017-Dec-22
15.3 LD
17.4
257
2015 YQ1
2017-Dec-22
17.3 LD
11.1
9
2017 QL33
2017-Dec-30
13.3 LD
8.2
191
2015 RT1
2018-Jan-02
19.7 LD
9
30
2004 FH
2018-Jan-10
20 LD
8.5
26
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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