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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 403.0 km/sec
density: 8.8 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2353 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2024 UT Feb04
24-hr: C1
2024 UT Feb04
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 04 Feb 18
A new sunspot is rotating into view over the sun's eastern limb. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 Feb 2018

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 1 day
2018 total: 18 days (51%)
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 04 Feb 2018


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 69 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 04 Feb 2018

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.6 nT
Bz: -5.4 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2353 UT
Coronal Holes: 04 Feb 18

Solar wind spilling down from this northern coronal hole could brush against Earth's magnetic field on Feb. 4th, causing minor geomagnetic storms and Arctic auroras. 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: 02-04-2018 16:55:04
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2018 Feb 04 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 04 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
05 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
15 %
MINOR
25 %
20 %
SEVERE
25 %
15 %
 
Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018
What's up in space
       
 

Lights Over Lapland is excited to announce that we now have TWO aurora webcams covering nearly a 200┬░ view of Abisko National Park in Sweden! Watch the auroras dance live, all season long here.

 

SLIGHT CHANCE OF MAGNETIC STORMS: NOAA forecasters say there is a 25% chance of minor G1-class geomagnetic storms on Feb. 4-5 when a stream of solar wind sails north of Earth, possibly grazing our planet's magnetic field. Arctic sky watchers should be alert for auroras tonight. Free: Aurora Alerts

ACTION ON THE SUN'S EASTERN LIMB: A new sunspot is rotating into view over the sun's eastern limb, and it has announced itself with a flurry of B- and C-class solar flares. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught one of the explosions coinciding with the liftoff of a giant magnetic filament at 19:58 UT on Feb. 4th:

These flares are relatively weak and would probably escape notice during a more active phase of the solar cycle. However, we are now on the eve of Solar Minimum. C-class flares, albeit "weak," are sharp departures from months of tomb-like quiet on the solar surface.

Extreme UV radiation from these flares are causing minor waves of ionization in Earth's upper atmosphere. Otherwise, the explosions have not been geoeffective. Stay tuned for updates as the sunspot turns toward Earth.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

UNIQUE VALENTINE'S GIFT: Nothing says "I Love You" like a Valentine's pendant from the edge of space. On Dec. 31, 2017, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew a payload-full of these heart-shaped pendants to the stratosphere, 35.1 km (115,158 feet) above Earth's surface:

You can have one for $119.95. Each glittering pendant comes with a greeting card showing the jewelry in flight and telling the story of its journey to the edge of space. Sales of this pendant support the Earth to Sky Calculus cosmic ray ballooning program and hands-on STEM research.

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

PARASELENIC CIRCLES: When the Moon is full and it's really cold outside, strange things can happen in the sky. Consider the following: "Jan 31st was a very chilly night about, -24 C and with a windchill about -34 C," reports Sheila Wiwchar of Kaleida, Manitoba. "Stepping outside to look at the Moon, I saw something I've never seen before: One halo circling the Moon and another one cutting right through it."

"I photographed this strange double halo using a Canon 6D with a Sigma lens at 10mm--lots of vignetting, but I was able to fit in both halos," she says.

Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains the apparition: "These are ice halos, formed by plate-shaped crystals in high clouds."

"The halo circling the moon is the familiar 22 degree halo," he says. "The circle through the Moon and around the sky is much more rare. It is a paraselenic circle, named after after Selene, the Greek goddess of the Moon and one of the ancient Titans. The equivalent around the sun is the parhelic circle after Helios, the personification of the sun and also a Titan."

Paraselenic circles aren't the only strange thing that happened ion Jan. 31st. Millions of people also witnessed a total eclipse of the Moon. Browse the photo gallery for moonshots.

Realtime Lunar Eclipse 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 Feb. 4, 2018, the network reported 17 fireballs.
(17 sporadics)

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 4, 2018 there were 1882 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2018 BE6
2018-Jan-30
3.4 LD
17
46
2018 BQ6
2018-Jan-30
3.6 LD
10.2
12
2018 AQ2
2018-Feb-02
13.4 LD
17.4
130
2002 CB19
2018-Feb-02
10.5 LD
15.6
36
2018 BN5
2018-Feb-03
15.9 LD
9.4
23
2018 BG3
2018-Feb-03
11.9 LD
14.2
60
2018 AH12
2018-Feb-04
5.3 LD
5
15
276033
2018-Feb-04
11 LD
34
646
2018 BP6
2018-Feb-05
3.7 LD
13.7
43
2018 BL1
2018-Feb-09
16.5 LD
20.3
72
2015 BN509
2018-Feb-09
12.9 LD
17.7
257
1991 VG
2018-Feb-11
18.4 LD
2.1
7
2014 WQ202
2018-Feb-11
15.1 LD
19.8
62
2016 CO246
2018-Feb-22
15.3 LD
5.4
21
2017 DR109
2018-Feb-24
3.7 LD
7.4
11
2016 FU12
2018-Feb-26
13.2 LD
4.5
15
2014 EY24
2018-Feb-27
14.8 LD
8
54
2015 BF511
2018-Feb-28
11.7 LD
5.7
39
2003 EM1
2018-Mar-07
16.6 LD
8
45
2017 VR12
2018-Mar-07
3.8 LD
6.3
280
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
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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