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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 623.3 km/sec
density: 4.2 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2058 UT Sep28
24-hr: B2
1434 UT Sep28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 28 Sep 17
None of these sunspots poses a threat for strong solar flares. They all have stable magnetic fields not inclined to explode. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 35
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 28 Sep 2017

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2017 total: 56 days (21%)
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 28 Sep 2017


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 91 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 28 Sep 2017

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 7
strong
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.2 nT
Bz: -0.2 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 28 Sep 17

Earth is inside a stream of high-speed solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: NASA/SDO.
Noctilucent Clouds Latest images from NASA's AIM spacecraft show that the 2017 northern summer season for noctilucent clouds has finished.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 09-03-2017 01:55:03
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2017 Sep 28 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: 2017 Sep 28 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
35 %
30 %
MINOR
30 %
15 %
SEVERE
05 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
20 %
30 %
SEVERE
60 %
50 %
 
Thursday, Sep. 28, 2017
What's up in space
       
 

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

 

GEOMAGNETIC STORM UPDATE: A strong G3-class geomagnetic storm that sparked bright equinox auroras around the Arctic Circle last night is now subsiding. At the peak of the storm, Northern Lights descended into the USA as far south as Washington, Michigan, Montana, Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. The activity was sparked by a stream of solar wind flowing from a large hole in the sun's atmosphere. Free: Aurora Alerts

AN EXPLOSION OF PINK OVER ALASKA: Knowing that a solar wind stream was heading for Earth, forecasters predicted a geomagnetic storm last night. However, they didn't predict it would be so strong, a G3-class event. Marketa S. Murray photographed the pleasant surprise outside Fairbanks, Alaska:

"It was one of the best shows I've seen," says Murray, a longtime Alaska sky watcher and aurora tour guide. "The auroras were remarkable for their amazing pink and purple color."

The pink color is a sign of nitrogen. Most auroras are green--a verdant glow caused by energetic particles from space hitting oxygen atoms 100 km to 300 km above Earth's surface. Pink appears when energetic particles descend lower than usual, striking nitrogen molecules at the 100 km level and below. The solar wind stream currently blowing around Earth seems to be sending particles deep enough into Earth's atmosphere to spark this lovely type of aurora. Free: Aurora Alerts

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

AURORA AND FOGBOW: Last night in northern Sweden, the auroras were so bright they could be seen through fog and urban lights. Mia Stålnacke of Kiruna photographed green curtains beaming through the arc of a ghostly fogbow:

"The sky absolutely exploded with auroras," says Stålnacke. "Just before the sky went on fire, a bright fogbow was seen, brought on by incredibly bright lights on the hill where I was standing."

Fogbows are close cousins of rainbows, and they are formed in essentially the same way: light bounces in and out of water droplets. The difference is droplet size. Large raindrops make rainbows. Smaller droplets make fogbows. Small droplets don't separate the colors of sunlight as widely as large raindrops do. In a fogbow, therefore, the colors are smeared together, producing a ghostly-white arc.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

ROSE QUARTZ CRYSTAL ECLIPSE PENDANTS: On Aug. 21st during the Great American Solar Eclipse, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched 11 space weather balloons from the path of totality. They aimed to photograph the Moon's shadow from the stratosphere--and they succeeded. As a fundraiser, some of the balloons carried jewelry, such as this rose quartz crystal pendant floating inside the Moon's shadow more than 90,000 feet above Oregon's Malheur National Forest:

During the 2.5 hour flight, the pendants were wrapped in the Moon's shadow for more than two minutes, experiencing a spooky darkness colder than -50 C.

You can have one for $149.95. Each crystal pendant comes with a unique gift card showing the jewelry passing through the Moon's shadow and floating at the top of Earth's atmosphere. The interior of the card tells the story of the flight and confirms that this gift has been to the edge of space and back again.

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 Sep. 28, 2017, the network reported 17 fireballs.
(17 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 September 28, 2017 there were 1803 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2017 PR25
2017-Sep-23
17.9 LD
13.5
234
2017 ST10
2017-Sep-24
2.8 LD
9.7
7
2017 SS12
2017-Sep-24
0.7 LD
10.3
14
2017 SR16
2017-Sep-25
9.7 LD
18.5
50
2017 RW2
2017-Sep-25
15.1 LD
12.9
28
2017 SP10
2017-Sep-25
12.2 LD
9.3
20
2017 RW1
2017-Sep-25
11 LD
12.7
65
2017 RO16
2017-Sep-25
5 LD
8.2
11
2017 SU16
2017-Sep-26
4.8 LD
10.7
18
2017 RB16
2017-Sep-26
4.8 LD
9.5
26
2004 SS
2017-Sep-26
15.8 LD
7.9
141
2017 SS10
2017-Sep-27
10 LD
11.7
33
2017 SQ10
2017-Sep-27
16.2 LD
7.4
18
2017 RY17
2017-Sep-27
16.6 LD
5
14
2017 SQ14
2017-Sep-28
13.9 LD
7.5
16
2017 SQ12
2017-Sep-29
17.2 LD
7
28
1989 VB
2017-Sep-29
7.9 LD
6.3
408
2017 RP15
2017-Sep-30
14.8 LD
5.5
17
2017 SH16
2017-Sep-30
9.2 LD
13.8
30
2017 SK14
2017-Oct-01
19.1 LD
8.3
23
2017 OD69
2017-Oct-01
13.2 LD
7.6
213
2017 SS16
2017-Oct-03
5.4 LD
16.2
17
2017 SO10
2017-Oct-04
16.7 LD
8.4
37
2004 RE84
2017-Oct-04
15.3 LD
16.1
129
2017 ST14
2017-Oct-04
16 LD
17.3
72
2017 RV1
2017-Oct-12
17.8 LD
10.9
352
2012 TC4
2017-Oct-12
0.1 LD
7.6
16
2005 TE49
2017-Oct-13
8.5 LD
11.2
16
2013 UM9
2017-Oct-15
17 LD
7.8
39
2006 TU7
2017-Oct-18
18.7 LD
13.3
148
2017 SH14
2017-Oct-20
15.3 LD
6.9
42
171576
2017-Oct-22
5.8 LD
21.2
677
2003 UV11
2017-Oct-31
15 LD
24.5
447
444584
2017-Nov-17
8.7 LD
14.8
324
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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