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Solar wind
speed: 351.5 km/sec
density: 6.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2351 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B5
2116 UT Feb13
24-hr: B9
0228 UT Feb13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 13 Feb 15
Sunspot AR2282 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 50
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 Feb 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 13 Feb 2015

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 128 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 12 Feb 2015

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: 7.1 nT
Bz: 5.6 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2352 UT
Coronal Holes: 13 Feb 15
A Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Feb. 15-17.. 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: 02-13-2015 17:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2015 Feb 13 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
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: 2015 Feb 13 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
30 %
01 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
15 %
25 %
30 %
20 %
40 %
Friday, Feb. 13, 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

QUIET SUN: Solar activity is low. With no sunspots actively flaring, the sun's X-ray output has flatlined. NOAA forecasters estimate a scant 1% chance of X-flares and a 25% chance of M-flares on Feb. 13th. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

SUMMER SPRITE AND VENUS: Summer is the season for sprites, a form of lightning that leaps up from the tops of thunderstorms. Yesterday at sunset in Mutare, Zimbabwe, south of the equator, the summer heat was just beginning to break when Dr Peter Lowenstein photographed a purple sprite leaping out of the storm clouds:

"I took the picture from the verandah of my house," says Lowenstein. "A late afternoon cumulonimbus cloud has developed into a small evening thunderstorm with frequent flashes of lightning. The photograph shows a cloud-to-ground strike with side flash just below Venus. There is also what looks like a sprite rising vertically upwards."

Sprites are a true space weather phenomenon. They inhabit the upper reaches of Earth's atmosphere alongside noctilucent clouds, meteors and auroras. Some researchers believe they are linked to cosmic rays: subatomic particles from deep space striking the top of Earth's atmosphere produce secondary electrons. When those electrons penetrate thunderclouds, they could provide the spark that triggers sprites.

Although sprites have been seen for at least a century, most scientists did not believe they existed until after 1989 when sprites were photographed by cameras onboard the space shuttle. Now summertime "sprite chasers" regularly photograph the upward bolts from their own homes. Give it a try!

SPRITE UPDATE--IS IT REAL? Jared Rice, a PhD student in astrophysics at the UNLV Department of Physics and Astronomy has doubts about the sprite in Dr. Lowenstein's photo. "It might be an internal reflection in the camera," he suggests. "I have taken a similar image of a lightning storm on the campus of Montana State University during the day of the Venus transit June 5, 2012. My image shows a bolt of lightning with a purple reflection just above it. It exhibits a similar color and 'blurriness' as the candidate sprite. It is my opinion that Dr. Lowenstein has captured a similar phenomenon." To support his argument, Rice created a Photoshopped image in which he cut out the sprite and placed it beside the main lightning bolt."It 'fits' nicely, with the clouds blocking the bolt as they should." If Rice's analysis is correct, it highlights the possibility of 'false sprites' caused by reflections of regular lightning.

Realtime Sprite Photo Gallery

DEEP SPACE CLIMATE OBSERVATORY: For years, space weather forecasters have worried about the aging ACE spacecraft, which provides early warnings of CMEs and other solar storms bearing down on Earth. Launched in 1997, ACE could fail at any moment, leaving us blind to incoming storms. On Feb. 11th, NOAA, NASA and the US Air Force launched a replacement--the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR).

DSCOVR blasted off from Cape Canaveral on Wednesday at 6:03 p.m. EST atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Shortly after liftoff, an American Airlines flight en route from JFK to San Juan flew past the area. Passenger Tim Leavitt pointed his iPhone out the window and captured some remarkable shots of the rocket's exhaust:

"What an amazing vantage point--and a lucky shot," says Leavitt.

The spacecraft is now on its way to the L1 point where it will monitor the solar wind one million miles upstream from Earth. NOAA says DSCOVR is in good health. Its solar arrays have deployed and it is communicating with the ground. Approximately 150 days after launch, DSCOVR will replace ACE as our primary warning system for solar magnetic storms.

In addition to monitoring the solar wind, DSCOVR will also look back at Earth. The spacecraft's EPIC camera has ten filters for photographing our planet at wavelengths ranging from UV to visible light. True-color images of the full sun-facing side of Earth will be publicly available approximately 24 hours after they are taken. The first images will be posted approximately six months after launch. EPIC's observations will be used to measure ozone and aerosols, cloud height, vegetation properties and the ultraviolet reflectivity of Earth. Another instrument onboard, called NISTAR, measures solar energy reflected from the sunlit face of Earth. This will help climate scientists track changes in Earth's radiation budget caused by human activities and natural phenomena.

Got pictures of the launch? Submit them here.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora 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 Feb. 13, 2015, the network reported 16 fireballs.
(16 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 13, 2015 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2015 CL
Feb 8
4.3 LD
36 m
2015 CM
Feb 9
8.4 LD
19 m
2015 CG
Feb 11
7.1 LD
33 m
2015 CS
Feb 15
3.4 LD
23 m
2015 AZ43
Feb 15
7.7 LD
87 m
2000 EE14
Feb 27
72.5 LD
1.6 km
2063 Bacchus
Apr 7
76 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.
  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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