Solar wind
speed: 310.5 km/sec
density: 12.1 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 0027 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A1
2326 UT Oct19
24-hr: A1
2326 UT Oct19
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2359 UT
Daily Sun: 19 Oct 18
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 19 Oct 2018

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 1 day
2018 total: 167 days (57%)
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 19 Oct 2018


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 70 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 18 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= 1
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.4 nT
Bz: -0.3 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 0027 UT
Coronal Holes: 19 Oct 18

Solar wind flowing from this northern coronal hole is expected to brush against Earth's magnetic field on Oct. 19th. 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 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 Oct 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
15 %
15 %
MINOR
25 %
25 %
SEVERE
40 %
25 %
 
Saturday, Oct. 20, 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 STORM PREDICTED: NOAA forecasters say there is a 60% chance of G1-class geomagnetic storms on Oct. 19th when a stream of solar wind is expected to graze Earth's magnetic field. The gaseous material is flowing from a northern hole in the sun's atmosphere. Arctic sky watchers should be alert for auroras before the weekend. Free: Aurora Alerts.

METEORS FROM HALLEY'S COMET: Right now, specks of dust from Halley's Comet are disintegrating in Earth's atmosphere, kicking off the annual Orionid meteor shower. NASA cameras caught more than a dozen Orionid fireballs streaking across the USA during the past 48 hours, and the show is expected to improve during the weekend as Earth moves deeper into Halley's stream of debris:


Above: Ian Webster created this interactive visualization of Halley's debris stream cutting across Earth's orbit.

"The upcoming Orionids should provide a fairly good show for most visual observers," says Peter Brown of the University of Western Ontario Meter Physics Group. "The shower's radiant is already quite active and well defined in data from the Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar (CMOR)."

Orionids appear every year around this time when Earth crosses Halley's debris stream, with the shower typically producing about 20 meteors per hour. Some of the brightest stars and constellations in the sky--e.g., Orion the Hunter, Sirius the Dog Star, and Taurus the Bull--form the shower's backdrop. This makes the display extra-beautiful in disproportion to the raw number of meteors.

Some years, however, are even better than others. "Most notable was a short-lived outburst of relatively bright Orionids in 1993 observed several days before the predicted peak. This hints that there may be narrow filaments of larger meteoroids embedded in the overall debris stream," says Brown. "We also observed enhanced Orionid activity in the years 2006 through 2009 with rates 2 to 3 times normal."

This year's shower has one thing going against it: The nearly full Moon. Lunar glare could reduce visible meteor rates 2- or 3-fold. The best time to look, therefore, is during the dark hours before sunrise when the Moon is sinking below the western horizon and the shower's radiant in Orion is high in the southeast: sky map.

"Finding dark skies and clear weather in the early morning hours of Sunday, Oct 21st, just after the moon sets this year is the surest way to see these messengers from 1P/Halley," says Brown. Enjoy the show!

Realtime Meteor Photo Gallery

THE PLUTO PENDANT: When NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flew past Pluto in the summer of 2015, planetary scientists were amazed by what they saw: towering mountains, methane dunes, deep canyons. Most amazing of all was the giant heart in Pluto's southern hemisphere--an expanse of geologically fresh terrain named "Tombaugh Regio". Now you can wear Pluto next to your own heart:

On Oct 11th the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched this pendant to the edge of space using a high altitude cosmic ray balloon. It reached an altitude of 35.6 km (116,798 feet) above Earth's surface. You can have it for $119.95. The students are selling these pendants support their cosmic ray ballooning program.

Bonus: If you buy one this week, you may have a "Pluto is a Planet" Space Pendant free of charge.

Each pendant comes with a unique gift card showing the item at the edge of space and telling the story of its flight. Proceeds support Earth to Sky Calculus and hands-on STEM research.

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

FLOATING LIGHT PILLARS: On the night of Oct. 16th, Vincent Brady of Paradise, Michigan, went outside to look for auroras. He saw something similar--yet completely different. "There were colorful pillars of light floating over Whitefish Bay," he says. "What a pleasant surprise."

These pillars resemble auroras, but they have nothing to do with space weather. Light pillars are caused by ice crystals in the air which intercept manmade lights and spread them into colorful columns. No solar activity is required for the phenomenon. The only ingredients are ice and light pollution.

"The red lights are from wind turbines around the Canadian island Ile Parisienne," explains Brady. Other colors correspond to high pressure sodium lamps (warm orange) and modern LED lamps (blue-white).

Light pillars are a common sight at northern latitudes, especially when freezing winter air fills with crystals of ice. Normally, however, light pillars spring up from the ground where the urbans lights are located. "These were floating high above the ground," notes Brady. "That must have been where the ice crystals were on this early autumn night."

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery


Realtime Space Weather 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. 19, 2018, the network reported 29 fireballs.
(18 sporadics, 8 Orionids, 3 Southern Taurids)

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 20, 2018 there were 1936 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2018 UK
2018-Oct-14
4.3 LD
17.5
25
2018 UG
2018-Oct-14
9.4 LD
7.6
24
2018 TU4
2018-Oct-15
14.2 LD
11
29
2018 SL3
2018-Oct-15
9.1 LD
13.4
34
2018 TS1
2018-Oct-15
6.6 LD
10.9
27
2018 TZ2
2018-Oct-16
9.1 LD
16.7
41
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
2016 GC221
2018-Oct-18
8.7 LD
14.4
39
2018 UA
2018-Oct-19
0 LD
14.1
3
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
306
2010 VQ
2018-Nov-07
15.6 LD
3.8
10
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
4 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
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