Solar wind
speed: 414.5 km/sec
density: 4.6 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 1327 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A2
0828 UT Jul23
24-hr: A2
0027 UT Jul23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 1300 UT
Daily Sun: 23 July 18
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI

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

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 1 day
2018 total: 112 days (55%)
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 Jul 2018


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 68 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 23 Jul 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: 2.2 nT
Bz: 1.3 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 1326 UT
Coronal Holes: 23 Jul 18

Solar wind flowing from this large coronal hole should reach Earth on July 24th. Credit: SDO/AIA
Noctilucent Clouds The season for noctilucent clouds in he northern hemisphere is underway. Check here daily for the latest images from NASA's AIM spacecraft.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 07-22-2018 14:55:03
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2018 Jul 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 Jul 22 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
25 %
40 %
MINOR
10 %
30 %
SEVERE
01 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
05 %
MINOR
25 %
20 %
SEVERE
35 %
65 %
 
Monday, Jul. 23, 2018
What's up in space
       
 

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SPOTLESS SUN: Over the weekend, a small sunspot (AR2716) ended a 24-day string of blank suns. The interruption was brief. After only one day, the sunspot has dissolved and the spotless days counter is ticking again: 112 days so far in 2018 without sunspots. It's been 9 years since sunspots were this scarce, a sign that solar minimum has arrived. Free: Aurora Alerts.

GEOMAGNETIC STORM PREDICTED: NOAA forecasters say there is a 65% chance of minor G1-class geomagnetic storms on July 24th when a high-speed stream of solar wind is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. The gaseous material is flowing from a large hole in the sun's atmosphere, shown here in an extreme ultraviolet image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:

This is a "coronal hole," a vast region in the sun's atmosphere where magnetic fields open up and allow solar wind to escape. They look dark in ultraviolet images because the hot glowing plasma normally contained there is missing. In this case, the plasma is making a beeline for Earth.

Some readers have asked, how can we have a geomagnetic storm during solar minimum? It happens all the time. Sunspots, whose counts define the solar cycle, are not the only source of storms. When sunspots vanish, coronal holes replace them as a primary source of solar activity. Studies show that coronal holes not only open more frequently, but also last longer when sunspots are absent. During the last solar minimum in 2007-2009, one coronal hole stayed open for 27 consecutive solar rotations. As the sun slowly turned on its axis, that hole fire-hosed Earth with a stream of solar wind almost once a month for nearly two years. Explosive sunspots make stronger storms than the relatively gentle breezes that emerge from coronal holes, but geomagnetic storms never go away, not even during solar minimum.

High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on July 24th when the solar wind arrives. G1-class storms can produce Northern Lights as far south as US states ranging from Maine to Washington. Free: Aurora Alerts.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

FLY ME TO THE MOONSTONE: Are you looking for a far-out gift? Nothing says "I love you" like a moonstone from the edge of space. On June 12th, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew this moonstone wrapped in a sterling silver Celtic love knot 34.1 km (111,877 feet) above Earth's surface:

You can have it for $119.95. The students are selling these pendants to support their cosmic ray ballooning program. Each one comes with a greeting card showing the item in flight and telling the story of its journey to the edge of space. 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 Space Weather Photo Gallery


Realtime Noctilucent Cloud 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 Jul. 22, 2018, the network reported 38 fireballs.
(37 sporadics, 1 alpha Capricornid)

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 July 23, 2018 there were 1912 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2018 NM
2018-Jul-17
1.4 LD
6.7
19
2018 NL4
2018-Jul-18
10.4 LD
12.7
53
2018 OQ
2018-Jul-18
3.7 LD
6.1
17
2018 NQ1
2018-Jul-19
16.4 LD
6
32
2018 OF
2018-Jul-19
14.7 LD
14
49
2018 NE1
2018-Jul-21
10.1 LD
14.2
73
2018 NF4
2018-Jul-21
18.8 LD
12.8
114
2018 OL
2018-Jul-22
11.5 LD
16.1
57
2018 NR1
2018-Jul-27
17.1 LD
5.1
35
2018 LQ2
2018-Aug-27
9.4 LD
1.5
39
2016 GK135
2018-Aug-28
16.8 LD
2.8
9
2016 NF23
2018-Aug-29
13.3 LD
9
93
1998 SD9
2018-Aug-29
4.2 LD
10.7
51
2018 DE1
2018-Aug-30
15.2 LD
6.5
28
2001 RQ17
2018-Sep-02
19.3 LD
8.3
107
2015 FP118
2018-Sep-03
12.3 LD
9.8
490
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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