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Solar wind
speed: 409.3 km/sec
density: 5.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B6
1703 UT Oct04
24-hr: C1
0102 UT Oct04
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 04 Oct 14
Sunspot AR2181 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 128
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 Oct 2014

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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 Oct

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 137 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 04 Oct 2014

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 13.9 nT
Bz: 4.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 04 Oct 14
Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on Oct. 6-7. Credit: SDO/AIA. posts daily satellite images of noctilucent clouds (NLCs), which hover over Earth's poles at the edge of space. The data come from NASA's AIM spacecraft. The north polar "daisy" pictured below is a composite of near-realtime images from AIM assembled by researchers at the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP).
Noctilucent Clouds
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 09-02-2014 12:55:12
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2014 Oct 04 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
05 %
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: 2014 Oct 04 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
20 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
30 %
25 %
40 %
25 %
Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014
What's up in space

On October 8th there will be a total eclipse of the Moon. Got clouds? No problem. The event will be broadcast live on the web by the Coca-Cola Science Center.

Lunar Eclipse Live

4 DAYS TO THE LUNAR ECLIPSE: Mark your calendar. On Wednesday morning, Oct. 8th, observers across the Pacific side of Earth will see the Moon turn a beautiful shade of red as it passes through the sunset-colored shadow of our planet. Totality begins at 10:25 UT (3:25 a.m. PDT) and lasts for nearly an hour. Don't miss it! Eclipse resources: NASA video, animated eclipse, live webcast.

THE "FORBUSH REBOUND": Radiation levels in the stratosphere are back to normal, according to a Space Weather Buoy that has just returned from the stratosphere. This rebound follows a mid-September dip caused by one of the strongest solar storms in years.

The story begins three weeks ago. On Sept. 12th a CME hit Earth head-on, sparking a G3-class geomagnetic storm. Using a helium balloon, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched a radiation sensor into the storm, expecting to measure an increase in energetic particles. Instead of more, however, they measured less. The CME had swept away many of the cosmic rays around Earth and so radiation levels in the stratosphere dropped. The CME was long gone on Sept. 28th when they repeated the experiment and found radiation levels returning to pre-storm values:

The drop in radiation is called a "Forbush Decrease" after the 20th century physicist Scott Forbush who first described it. That would make the bounce-back a "Forbush Rebound." According to the data, the rebound took less than two weeks and possibly only a few days. The next time a CME hits, the students plan to launch balloons with a faster cadence to better measure the stratosphere's response time.

Pictured below is the group's Space Weather Buoy--an insulated capsule containing an X-ray/gamma-ray detector (10 keV - 20 MeV), multiple video cameras, GPS trackers, and other sensors. The payload was 108,700 feet above the Death Valley National Park when an overhead camera took this selfie:

In collaboration with, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been launching these buoys on a regular basis to study the effect of solar activity on Earth's upper atmosphere. Since Oct. 2013, they have flown the radiation sensor 17 times, providing a unique baseline of high-altitude radiation measurements for the current solar cycle. Soon they will release their analysis of an entire year's worth of measurements. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

HEY, THANKS! The students wish to thank Sander Geophysics Ltd (SGL) for sponsoring this flight. Note their logo in the upper right corner of the payload. SGL's generous contribution of $500 paid for the helium and other supplies necessary to get this research off the ground. Readers, if you would like to sponsor an upcoming flight and see your logo at the edge of space, please contact Dr. Tony Phillips to make arrangements.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

RINGS AROUND THE MOON: The Moon is waxing full. That means now is a good time to look for lunar coronas. Lauri Kangas photographed this specimen over Fort Frances, Ontario, on October 2nd:

Lunar coronas are made of moonlight diffracted by tiny droplets of water in the air. Sometimes the droplets are supplied by passing clouds. This time, however, they came in the form of fog.

"Late in that evening the temperature dropped rapidly and a ground fog developed," says Kangas. "I could see the tiny water droplets with my flashlight. These water droplets formed a beautiful corona around the Moon. To the naked eye the blue colored ring was awesome."

Rings around the Moon also form when ice crystals drift by, but those are ice halos, and they have a different appearance. Watch for both forms, coronas and ice halos, in the sky and in the realtime photo gallery.

Realtime Aurora 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

On Oct. 4, 2014, the network reported 14 fireballs.
(14 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 October 4, 2014 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2014 TL
Oct 1
0.3 LD
12 m
2014 TB
Oct 1
5.8 LD
10 m
2014 TC
Oct 3
6 LD
25 m
2014 SX261
Oct 3
9 LD
145 m
2014 SF304
Oct 5
1.9 LD
15 m
2014 TM
Oct 5
4.5 LD
24 m
2014 SB145
Oct 6
4.4 LD
23 m
2001 EA16
Oct 7
35.5 LD
1.9 km
2011 TB4
Oct 9
4.9 LD
34 m
2014 TR
Oct 11
9.9 LD
15 m
2010 FV9
Oct 11
8.7 LD
36 m
2014 TV
Oct 18
4.4 LD
57 m
2014 SC324
Oct 24
1.4 LD
62 m
2003 UC20
Oct 31
52.4 LD
1.0 km
2004 JN13
Nov 18
52.4 LD
4.1 km
1998 SS49
Nov 18
73.9 LD
3.2 km
2005 UH3
Nov 22
44.4 LD
1.3 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.
  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
  the underlying science of space weather
Space Weather Alerts
  more links...
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