You are viewing the page for Jan. 25, 2015
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids Internet Shopping Sites high quality binoculars excellent weather stations all-metal reflector telescopes rotatable microscopes
Solar wind
speed: 341.0 km/sec
density: 4.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2350 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B9
1818 UT Jan25
24-hr: C1
1213 UT Jan25
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 25 Jan 15
Sunspot AR2268 poses a slight threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 57
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 25 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 25 Jan 2015

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 125 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 25 Jan 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= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.9 nT
Bz: 0.9 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2350 UT
Coronal Holes: 24 Jan 15
A Solar wind flowing from this southern coronal hole is expected to reach Earth on Jan. 25-26. 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: 01-25-2015 17:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2015 Jan 25 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
25 %
05 %
05 %
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 25 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
15 %
15 %
10 %
10 %
Sunday, Jan. 25, 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

CHANCE OF STORMS: NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Jan. 25-26. That's when a solar wind stream flowing from a southern hole in the sun's atmosphere is expected to reach Earth. Arctic sky watchers should be alert for auroras later this weekend. Aurora alerts: text, voice

SKI HALOES: For people in the northern hemisphere, now is the time to go skiing. Little known fact: Ski lifts are great places to see ice halos. Olivier Staiger photographed this specimen on Jan. 23rd while he was riding in a cable car in the Les Violettes ski region of Switzerland:

"All morning the area was blanketed in stratus clouds and fog," says Staiger. "Shortly before arriving at Les Violettes, the cable-car emerged from the fog and I saw this very nice display of ice halos, sundogs and more."

Snow-making machines at the ski resort played a key role in creating this display. Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains: "Diamond dust ice crystals growing slowly downwind of ski-slope snow blowers filled the air. Sunlight shining through the crystals produced the display. These man-made crystals tend to be more optically perfect than the ones in clouds and so we get bright, sharp and often very rare halos. Outstanding in this display is a lower tangent arc shining just below the horizon. More halos are labeled here."

Going skiing? Be alert for halos. More examples may be found in the realtime photo gallery.

RARE SHADOWS ON JUPITER: Anyone who looks at Jupiter through a telescope is almost guaranteed to see the Galilean satellites (Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto) circling the giant planet. On rare occasions, observers catch one of those moons casting its shadow on Jupiter's cloudtops. On Jan 24th, observers in North America and the Carribean saw not one, but three shadows. Efrain Morales Rivera sends this picture from Aquadilla, Puerto Rico:

"I was happy to be able to observe this rare event," says Rivera. A full-sized version of his image matches each shadow to a moon. One belongs to Io, one to Europa, and one to Callisto. If you think you count four shadows, that's because the solid body of Callisto is passing in front of Jupiter and its dark silhouette looks like a shadow, too.

The reason for this "triple shadow transit" has to do with Jupiter's seasons. Jupiter is about to have an equinox--that is, the sun is about to cross Jupiter's equatorial plane. This edge-on alignment with the sun encourages Jupiter's moons to cast their shadows on the planet below. For the record, Jupiter's equinox is on Feb. 5th. Observers of the giant planet should remain alert for shadows.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

BRIGHT ASTEROID FLYBY: A large asteroid is about to fly past Earth. On the night of Jan. 26-27, mountain-sized space rock 2004 BL86 will be only 3 times farther from us than the Moon. There's no danger of a collision, but the flyby will be easy to observe. Sunlight reflected from the surface of 2004 BL86 will make it glow like a 9th magnitude star. Amateur astronomers with even small backyard telescopes will be able to see it zipping among the stars of the constellation Cancer. Check out this video, prepared by the Sociedad de Astronomia del Caribe, for detailed observing tips:

NASA radars will be observing, too. As the asteroid passes by, astronomers will use the Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California, and the giant Arecibo radar in Puerto Rico to "ping" 2004 BL86, pinpointing the asteroid's location and tracing its shape.

"When we get our radar data back the day after the flyby, we will have the first detailed images," said radar astronomer Lance Benner of JPL, the principal investigator for the Goldstone radar observations of the asteroid.  "At present, we know almost nothing about this asteroid, so there are bound to be surprises."  

At the moment, astronomers think the asteroid is about a third of a mile (0.5 kilometers) in diameter. The flyby of 2004 BL86 will be the closest by any known space rock this large until asteroid 1999 AN10 flies past Earth in 2027.  

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 Jan. 25, 2015, the network reported 13 fireballs.
(13 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 January 25, 2015 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2015 BC
Jan 20
1.6 LD
63 m
2015 BP
Jan 20
1.8 LD
10 m
2015 BK4
Jan 25
5.3 LD
45 m
2015 BF
Jan 25
9.3 LD
22 m
2004 BL86
Jan 26
3.1 LD
680 m
2015 AK45
Jan 26
4.7 LD
23 m
2015 BE92
Jan 29
3.2 LD
11 m
2008 CQ
Jan 31
4.8 LD
36 m
2015 BF92
Feb 7
8.5 LD
65 m
2015 AZ43
Feb 15
7.7 LD
87 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.
  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...
©2010 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
©2013 All rights reserved.