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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 393.4 km/sec
density: 7.1 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2349 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B9
1830 UT May27
24-hr: B9
1830 UT May27
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 27 May 17
Sunspot AR2659 has doubled in size since yesterday, but so far it retains a stable magnetic field that poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 22
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 May 2017

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2017 total: 37 days (25%)
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 May 2017


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 78 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 27 May 2017

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 21.9 nT
Bz: -20.1 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2348 UT
Coronal Holes: 27 May 17

There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: NASA/SDO.
Noctilucent Clouds The southern season for noctilucent clouds began on Nov. 17, 2016. Come back to this spot every day to see the "daily daisy" from NASA's AIM spacecraft, which is monitoring the dance of electric-blue around the Antarctic Circle.
Switch view: Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula, East Antarctica, Polar
Updated at: 02-24-2017 17:55:02
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2017 May 27 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
05 %
05 %
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: 2017 May 27 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
25 %
15 %
MINOR
10 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
20 %
SEVERE
20 %
20 %
 
Saturday, May. 27, 2017
What's up in space
       
 

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

 

THE CME HAS ARRIVED: Arriving almost 24 hours later than expected, a CME sideswiped Earth's magnetic field on May 27th at approximately 1500 UT. So far the relatively weak impact has not caused any notable geomagnetic activity. Nevertheless, high-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras as Earth passes through the CME's magnetized wake. Free: Aurora Alerts

THE 1% LUNAR CRESCENT: Chris Schur of Payson, Arizona, has been planning this shot for months. "The opportunity came Friday morning, with the rising sun halfway up the sky," he says. "I pointed my telescope 15 degrees east of the sun and there it was!" Behold, the 1% crescent Moon:

"This is by far the thinnest crescent moon I have ever imaged," says Schur. "Here the moon is .80 days old - 19.2 hours according to the Virtual Moon Atlas. The illumination is 1.0%."

"And yes - I did view the crescent visually," he says. "It was really tough! I could see only a portion of the crescent at one time in a low power ocular, but it was there against a light blue sky."

Readers, you can see a slender crescent Moon tonight with considerably less effort.  When the sun goes down, step outside and face west. A 3% crescent Moon will emerge at the feet of Castor and Pollux, the twins of Gemini. Enjoy the show! [sky map]

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

DAYTIME CONJUNCTION: Venus is so bright, you can see it in broad daylight. Most observers, however, fail to notice it. The intense pinprick of white light can be hard to locate in a sea of bright blue. What you need is a guide ... or an airplane! On May 26th, Leo Caldas of Brasilia, Brasil, noticed Venus when a Boeing 777 flew past the 2nd planet:

"United flight 149 from New York to São Paulo flew over Brasilia--and right by Venus," says Caldas. "As this map shows, I was perfectly positioned to witness the plane-planet conjunction."

Venus is so bright because it is shrouded in a global blanket of acid clouds.  They reflect more than 75% of the sunlight that falls on them. For comparison, the average reflectivity of Earth is only about 30% and the Moon 12%. Venus's reflectivity and proximity to the sun combine to make it shine in the skies of Earth 100 times brighter than a 1st magnitude star.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

THIS PENDANT HAS TOUCHED SPACE: The radiation monitoring program of Earth to Sky Calculus receives no support from corporate sponsors or government grants. Instead, we are crowd-funded. Or, to be more precise, bling-funded:

To raise money for more cosmic ray balloon flights, on May 6th the students launched a payload of these Northern Lights pendants to the top of Earth's atmosphere. You can have one for $79.95. Each piece of space jewelry comes with a greeting card showing the item in flight and telling the story of its journey to the stratosphere and back. They make great birthday and belated Mother's Day gifts.

More far-out gifts may be found in the Earth to Sky Store. All proceeds support atmospheric radiation monitoring and hands-on STEM education.


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 Spaceweather.com.

On May. 27, 2017, the network reported 10 fireballs.
(10 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 May 27, 2017 there were 1803 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2017 KH3
2017-May-24
18.7 LD
20
62
2017 KW4
2017-May-25
3.9 LD
13
28
2017 KH5
2017-May-25
1.3 LD
14.9
11
2017 CS
2017-May-29
8 LD
9.1
468
418094
2017-Jun-01
8 LD
23.2
490
2017 KX4
2017-Jun-01
15.3 LD
9.5
46
2017 KJ3
2017-Jun-03
11.1 LD
11.3
50
2017 KJ5
2017-Jun-04
11.6 LD
3.7
17
2017 HV4
2017-Jun-10
19.5 LD
3.9
51
2017 KF3
2017-Jun-11
12.9 LD
11.2
40
2010 VB1
2017-Jun-16
10.3 LD
8.3
81
471984
2017-Jun-18
19.1 LD
7.7
102
441987
2017-Jun-24
7.9 LD
12.7
178
2017 BS5
2017-Jul-23
3.2 LD
5.8
54
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
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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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