You are viewing the page for Jan. 28, 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: 386.7 km/sec
density: 0.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2350 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M1
2137 UT Jan28
24-hr: M1
0441 UT Jan28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 28 Jan 15
Sunspot AR2268 poses a threat for Earth-directed M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 119
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 28 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 28 Jan 2015

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 158 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 28 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= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.2 nT
Bz: 0.9 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2349 UT
Coronal Holes: 28 Jan 15
A There are no large equatorial coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. . 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: 01-28-2015 21:55:03
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2015 Jan 28 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
40 %
10 %
10 %
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 28 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
35 %
05 %
20 %
01 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
30 %
25 %
30 %
55 %
Wednesday, Jan. 28, 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

MUD ROCKET LAUNCH: NASA's SMAP satellite, designed to measure moisture in the soils of Earth, will blast off from California's Vandenberg AFB on Thursday morning, Jan. 29th. The three-minute launch window begins at 6:20 am PST. Observers from coastal Los Angeles to the Bay Area may be able to see exhaust from the Delta II rocket criss-crossing the dawn sky in the minutes after launch. Observers closer to Vandenberg could see the rocket itself. Californians, set your alarm for dawn.

ASTEROID FLYBY: On Monday, Jan. 26th, mountain-sized asteroid 2004 BL86 flew past Earth--and it was not alone. NASA radar images revealed, to the surprise of astronomers, that the space rock has its own moon. A must-see video from JPL shows the asteroid and its satellite. Another must-see movie was recorded by amateur astronomer Nick James. Click to watch the asteroid streak over his backyard in of Chelmsford, UK:

"This asteroid was moving at around 2.5 arcmin/min last night," says James. In other words, about 18,000 mph. The streaking space rock was invisible to the naked eye, but sunlight reflected from its rocky surface made it an easy target for small telescopes. More backyard photos may be found here.

At a distance of 745,000 miles, or 3.1 times the distance from Earth to the Moon, Monday's flyby was the closest approach the asteroid will make to Earth for at least the next two centuries. It is also the closest a known asteroid this size will come to Earth until asteroid 1999 AN10 flies past our planet in 2027.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

AURORA SURPRISE PROMPTS ROCKET LAUNCH: A geomagnetic storm erupted during the early hours of Jan. 26th, sparking a surprise display of bright auroras around the Arctic Circle. Scientists took the opportunity to launch four sounding rockets from Alaska's Poker Flat Research Range to study the effect of solar storms on the upper atmosphere. Photographer Jamie Adkins created this composite shot of the rocket salvo:

Richard Collins, a principal investigator from the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, explains the purpose of the launches: "Recent solar storms have resulted in major changes to the composition of the upper atmosphere above 49 miles (80 kilometers), where enhancements in nitrogen compounds have been found.  These compounds can be transported into the middle atmosphere where they can contribute to ozone destruction."

But do these ozone-destroying compounds actually make it down to the ozone layer? "Meteorological conditions do not always allow such transport to occur," he says. Instruments on the rockets were designed to investigate those conditions--specifically, how turbulence and diffusion might cause compounds to mix downward in the atmosphere.

Two of the rockets released trails of trimethyl aluminum (TMA) vapor, creating whitish clouds that were photographed from several ground stations. Miguel Larsen, a principal investigator from Clemson University in South Carolina says "this will help us trace turbulence in the atmosphere/space transition region, and thus, the way atmospheric properties are mixed vertically."

Browse's photo gallery for more pictures of the colorful experiment. Aurora alerts: text, voice

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. 28, 2015, the network reported 9 fireballs.
(9 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 28, 2015 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
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
10 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.