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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 493.2 km/sec
density: 7.1 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2354 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A2
1820 UT Feb27
24-hr: A4
1252 UT Feb27
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 27 Feb 18
New sunspot AR2700 has a simple, stable magnetic field that poses little threat for solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 16
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 Feb 2018

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2018 total: 27 days (47%)
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 27 Feb 2018


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 70 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 27 Feb 2018

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 5
storm
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.9 nT
Bz: 0.6 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2354 UT
Coronal Holes: 27 Feb 18

Earth is entering a stream of solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole. 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: 02-07-2018 17:55:05
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2018 Feb 27 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 27 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
30 %
25 %
MINOR
10 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
20 %
MINOR
30 %
30 %
SEVERE
30 %
25 %
 
Tuesday, Feb. 27, 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.

 

GEOMAGNETIC STORM--UPDATE: NOAA forecasters say there is a 30% chance of G1-class geomagnetic storms on Feb. 27th as Earth moves through a high-speed stream of solar wind. One such storm already occurred earlier today, and another is possible as the solar wind continues to blow faster than 500 km/s (1.1 million mph). Arctic sky watchers should remain alert for auroras during the night of Feb. 27-28. Free: Aurora Alerts 

SOLAR WIND LIGHTS UP ARCTIC SKIES: A stream of high-speed solar wind engulfed Earth during the early hours of Feb. 27th, triggering a G1-class geomagnetic storm. First contact with the gaseous material produced "a huge explosion of lights above and around us," reports Eric Fokke of Lofoten, Norway. He took this picture just after midnight local time:

"The gibbous moon lit up the snowy mountains beneath the auroras for a night of rare beauty," he says.

The solar wind is flowing from a canyon-shaped hole in the sun's atmosphere spewing a stream wide enough to affect Earth for another 24+ hours. The initial storm has subsided, but it could flare up again as our planet moves deeper into the windy stream. Monitor the aurora gallery for sightings. Free: Aurora Alerts 

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery 

SUMMER SUN HALOS: Yesterday's high temperature in Florianópolis, Brazil, topped 90 degrees F, typical of the region's warm summer days. Nevertheless, when Cristiano Andujar looked up from the steps of the City Cathedral, he saw definite signs of freezing air. "There were two beautiful ice halos around the sun," he says. "People on the sidewalk were stopping and pointing."

In this photo, which Andujar took, the big ring around the sun is a common 22-degree halo, caused by sunlight shining through hexagonal ice crystals in cirrus clouds. Floating almost 10 km high, these clouds were freezing despite scorching temperatures on the streets of Florianópolis.

Just below the 22-degree halo, Andujar's camera captured an intensely colorful band of light called a circumhorizon arc, also caused by ice crystals in the clouds. Summer is the season for circumhorizon arcs because they appear only when the sun is high in the sky--more than 58o above the horizon. The arc's enormous size and pure spectral colors make it one of the most beautiful of all ice halos.

Are you sweating under a summer sun? Look up anyway. You might see something very cool.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

CROWD-FUNDING SPACE WEATHER RESEARCH: Did you know that cosmic rays in Earth's atmosphere are intensifying? It's true, and we are monitoring the phenomenon with regular space weather balloon flights to the stratosphere. This student science program is not supported by any government grant or corporate sponsorship. Instead, we raise our research funds by selling these:


This pendant, and others like it, have touched the edge of space. We fly them to the stratosphere alongside our cosmic ray sensors for fundraising.

You can have one for $199.95. With a sterling silver backface that says "I Love You to the Moon and Back," these blue jewels make great Valentine's, Mother's Day, and birthday gifts. All sales 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


  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. 27, 2018, the network reported 11 fireballs.
(11 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 27, 2018 there were 1882 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2018 DQ
2018-Feb-21
0.3 LD
21.1
5
2018 CU13
2018-Feb-21
11.8 LD
10.7
21
2016 CO246
2018-Feb-22
15.3 LD
5.4
21
2017 DR109
2018-Feb-24
3.7 LD
7.4
11
2018 CE14
2018-Feb-24
5.2 LD
10.2
27
2018 DR
2018-Feb-25
2.3 LD
7
12
2018 DB1
2018-Feb-25
10.2 LD
5.7
22
2018 DU
2018-Feb-25
0.7 LD
4.6
8
2016 FU12
2018-Feb-26
13.2 LD
4.5
15
2018 DA
2018-Feb-26
11 LD
12.9
55
2014 EY24
2018-Feb-27
14.8 LD
8
54
2018 DT
2018-Feb-27
4.2 LD
2.6
13
2018 CU14
2018-Feb-27
5.5 LD
4.4
10
2015 BF511
2018-Feb-28
11.7 LD
5.7
39
2018 DE1
2018-Mar-01
15.3 LD
6.5
29
2018 DC
2018-Mar-03
9.3 LD
8.2
40
2003 EM1
2018-Mar-07
16.6 LD
8
45
2017 VR12
2018-Mar-07
3.8 LD
6.3
287
2018 BK7
2018-Mar-09
10.2 LD
8.7
73
2015 DK200
2018-Mar-10
6.9 LD
8
27
2018 DH1
2018-Mar-27
9.2 LD
14.3
218
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
363599
2018-Apr-12
19.3 LD
24.5
224
2014 UR
2018-Apr-14
9.3 LD
4.4
17
2016 JP
2018-Apr-20
12 LD
12.7
204
2012 XL16
2018-Apr-23
15.8 LD
6.1
28
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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