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Solar wind
speed: 395.9 km/sec
density: 5.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2348 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
1701 UT Jan04
24-hr: M1
1536 UT Jan04
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 04 Jan 15
Growing sunspot AR2253 has a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 122
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 Jan 2015

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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%)

Update 04 Jan 2015


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 149 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 04 Jan 2015

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 5
storm
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.6 nT
Bz: 4.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2349 UT
Coronal Holes: 04 Jan 15
Solar wind flowing from this large coronal hole will sail mostly south of Earth, but a glancing blow from the stream could spark auroras on Jan. 3-4. Credit: SDO/AIA.
Noctilucent Clouds As of Nov. 22, 2014, the season for southern hemisphere noctilucent clouds is underway. The south polar "daisy" pictured below is a composite of near-realtime images from NASA's AIM spacecraft.
Switch view: Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctic Penninsula, East Antarctica, Polar
Updated at: 01-04-2015 09:55:04
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2015 Jan 04 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
50 %
50 %
CLASS X
10 %
10 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2015 Jan 04 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
35 %
20 %
MINOR
15 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
15 %
MINOR
25 %
25 %
SEVERE
50 %
30 %
 
Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015
What's up in space
 

Learn to photograph Northern Lights like a pro. Sign up for Peter Rosen's Aurora Photo Courses in Abisko National Park.

 
Lapland tours

FULL WOLF MOON: There's a full Moon tonight and according to folklore it has a special name: the Full Wolf Moon. Arcing high through the winter sky, the bright orb turns night into a simulacrum of day and shines through freezing clouds, producing spectacular ice halos. Go outside, take a look, and try not to howl.

A HOLE IN THE SUN'S ATMOSPHERE: A vast hole has opened in the atmosphere over the sun's south pole, and it is spewing solar wind into space. The gaseous gap, a.k.a. a 'coronal hole,' is colored dark-purple in this extreme ultraviolet image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:


Curved lines trace the sun's magnetic field in this EUV image from SDO

Coronal holes are places where the sun's magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape. A stream of solar wind flowing from this particular hole is expected to reach Earth's orbit on Jan. 4-5. The bulk of the stream will flow south of our planet. However, not all of it will miss. NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of polar geomagnetic storms when the solar wind arrives in the next 48 hours. Aurora alerts: text, voice

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

VENUS AND MERCURY: Tonight, when the sun goes down, step outside and face west. Mercury and Venus are converging in the sunset sky. Japanese photographer "Shiraishi" sends this picture from Kumagaya-shi, Saitama:

"Venus popped out of the twilight first, then Mercury followed as the sky darkened," says Shiraishi. "To capture the pair I used a Nikon COOLPIX P510 digital camera set at ISO 400 for a 1/6s exposure."

Sunset photographers should take note of those settings, because the Mercury-Venus show is just beginning. For the next week, the two planets will draw closer and closer together. On the date of closest approach, Jan. 10th, they will be a scant 0.7 degrees apart--three times closer than they are tonight! The width of your little finger held at arm's length is enough to eclipse the pair.

If you can't see Mercury with the naked eye alone, you might be looking too soon after sunset. Wait a while for the twilight to deepen. Or if you have binoculars, aim them at Venus to reel in Mercury. Once you find Mercury, you might be surprised at how bright it appears.

Monitor Spaceweather.com's photo gallery for Venus-Mercury snapshots from around the world. Better yet, go outside and see for yourself.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery


Realtime Comet 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 Jan. 4, 2015, the network reported 51 fireballs.
(42 sporadics, 6 Quadrantids, 1 January Leonid, 1 December Leonis Minorid, 1 alpha Hydrid)

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 January 4, 2015 there were 1531 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2014 YC42
Dec 30
4.2 LD
46 m
2014 YE15
Dec 30
2.9 LD
10 m
2014 YD15
Dec 31
1.6 LD
19 m
2014 YE42
Jan 3
4.3 LD
93 m
2014 YP34
Jan 4
8.8 LD
27 m
2007 EJ
Jan 12
68.9 LD
1.1 km
1991 VE
Jan 17
40.6 LD
1.0 km
2004 BL86
Jan 26
3.1 LD
650 m
2008 CQ
Jan 31
4.8 LD
36 m
2000 EE14
Feb 27
72.5 LD
1.6 km
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.
  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
Heliophysics
  the underlying science of space weather
Space Weather Alerts
   
  more links...
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