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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 299.0 km/sec
density: 17.0 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2349 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A4
2129 UT Nov06
24-hr: A5
1053 UT Nov06
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 06 Nov 17
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 06 Nov 2017

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 5 days
2017 total: 73 days (23%)
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 06 Nov 2017

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 71 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 06 Nov 2017

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
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.9 nT
Bz: 2.4 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2348 UT
Coronal Holes: 06 Nov 17

Solar wind flowing from this northern coronal hole is expected to reach Earth on Nov. 7th, possibly sparking G1-class geomagnetic storms on Nov. 7th and 8th. Credit: SDO/AIA
Noctilucent Clouds Latest images from NASA's AIM spacecraft show that the 2017 northern summer season for noctilucent clouds has finished.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 09-03-2017 01:55:03
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2017 Nov 06 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
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: 2017 Nov 06 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
40 %
35 %
30 %
05 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
25 %
30 %
60 %
55 %
Monday, Nov. 6, 2017
What's up in space

Lights Over Lapland is excited to announce that our Customizable Aurora Adventures are available for immediate booking! Reserve your adventure of a lifetime in Abisko National Park, Sweden today!


GEOMAGNETIC STORM PREDICTED (G1-CLASS): NOAA forecasters say there is a 45% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Nov. 7th, increasing to 60% on Nov. 8th as Earth enters a stream of fast-moving solar wind. The gaseous material is flowing from a hole in the sun's atmosphere. Isolated periods of G1-class storming will likely spark bright naked-eye auroras around the Arctic circle and photographic auroras in northern-tier US States from Maine to Washington. Free: Aurora Alerts.

SAILING UNDER THE AURORAL OVAL: The sun was absolutely blank (no sunspots) on Nov. 5th, and NOAA classified solar activity as "very low." So what happened last night over the Barents Sea? Alan Dyer was onboard the Norwegian cruise ship Nordlys when he saw a bright green band of light:

"Geomagnetic activity was negligible when I took this picture," says Dyer. "The planetary K-index was actually 0. Fortunately, we were sailing underneath Earth's auroral oval."

The auroral oval is a ring of light circling the north magnetic pole (there's one just like it around the south pole). It is always flickering with green auroras as solar wind gently buffets Earth's magnetic field--no geomagnetic storm required. The diameter of the oval waxes and wanes with geomagnetic activity. Dyer's ship was in the right place at the right time.

"We were off the coast of Norway at a latitude of 71° N near the port of Berlevåg," says Dyer. "Despite the glare of the nearly full Moon and lack of geomagnetic activity, the aurora still showed up! " Free: Aurora Alerts.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

GLOBAL RADIATION MONITORING: Since 2015, and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have conducted an ambitious, ongoing campaign to measure atmospheric radiation around our planet. So far we have flown more than 200 space weather balloons in four countries and a dozen US states. This plot shows sample atmospheric radiation profiles from Norway, Chile, California, Oregon and Washington:

The horizontal axis is altitude. Typical profiles range from ~sea level to more than 100,000 feet, deep inside the stratosphere. The vertical axis is X-ray/gamma-ray dose rate between 10 keV and 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners. Latitudes noted in parentheses are magnetic, not geographic.

Most of the radiation we detect comes from deep space in the form of cosmic rays--but we are always on the alert for other sources, too, such as atmospheric nuclear tests or leaks from power plants. Frequent flights allow us to not only map the geographical distribution of radiation, but also to monitor how it changes with time.

We're about to add a new country to our network: Mexico. On Nov. 8th we will travel to Mexico City to launch space weather balloons in collaboration with Prof. Juan Sumaya and students from the Universidad Autonoma del Estado de México. Stay tuned for reports from Mexico later this week.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

THIS WATCH FLEW TO SPACE ... AND KEPT ON TICKING: On Aug. 21, 2017, during the Great American Solar Eclipse, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched 11 space weather balloons from the path of totality. They soared into the stratosphere, photographing the shadow of the Moon more than 100,000 feet above Earth's surface. As a fundraiser, one of the balloons carried this wristwatch, and you can have one for $79.95.

With the sun, Earth, and Moon perfectly aligned, the watch entered the space-cold shadow of the Moon … and kept on ticking! Watch the video. It survived temperatures lower than -49 C and cosmic ray dose rates more than 100 times sea level.

Each timepiece comes with a unique gift card showing the watch floating at the top of Earth's atmosphere and touching the shadow of the Moon. The interior of the card tells the story of the flight and confirms that this gift has been to the edge of space and back again.

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

  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 Nov. 6, 2017, the network reported 17 fireballs.
(13 sporadics, 3 Northern Taurids, 1 Orionid)

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 November 6, 2017 there were 1853 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2017 UO43
6.6 LD
2017 TZ4
19.3 LD
2003 UV11
15 LD
2017 UP6
15.1 LD
2017 UO2
11 LD
2017 UD43
4.7 LD
2017 UL44
13.3 LD
2017 UX42
10.5 LD
2017 US7
7.1 LD
2017 UJ7
16.8 LD
2017 UJ43
4.6 LD
2013 BD74
10.6 LD
2017 TZ3
10.3 LD
8.7 LD
2008 WM61
3.8 LD
2015 XX169
9.7 LD
2011 YD29
17.6 LD
2006 XY
6.5 LD
2017 TS3
18.2 LD
15.3 LD
2015 YQ1
17.3 LD
2017 QL33
13.3 LD
2015 RT1
19.7 LD
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 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, 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.
  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
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