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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 344.3 km/sec
density: 8.3 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2353 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A2
1902 UT Jan29
24-hr: A3
0945 UT Jan29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Jan 18
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 29 Jan 2018

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 9 days
2018 total: 16 days (55%)
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 29 Jan 2018


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 69 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 29 Jan 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= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.1 nT
Bz: 2.2 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2353 UT
Coronal Holes: 29 Jan 18

A number of small coronal holes are merging into a larger hole that is spewing a consolidated stream of solar wind into space. 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: 01-29-2018 17:55:03
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2018 Jan 29 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 Jan 29 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
25 %
20 %
MINOR
10 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
20 %
MINOR
30 %
25 %
SEVERE
25 %
20 %
 
Monday, Jan. 29, 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.

 

NASA MAKES PROGRESS WITH LOST SATELLITE: Using 5 antennas to establish contact, NASA engineers have confirmed beyond doubt that a spacecraft found earlier this month by amateur astronomer Scott Tilley is indeed IMAGE, an important space weather satellite lost since 2005. Now they are attempting to regain control. Talking to IMAGE is a challenge due to the passage of time: Types of hardware and operating systems used when IMAGE was built no longer exist, requiring significant reverse-engineering. Good luck to the engineers working on this project! IMAGE's global aurora photos and other data have been sorely missed. Free: Aurora Alerts.

AURORAS VS. MOONLIGHT: Some photographers of the night sky lament the full Moon. Lunar glare can be overwhelming. Jeremy Schwartz of Fairbanks, Alaska, embraces it. "I took these pictures of auroras on Jan. 27th. Moonlight highlighted the scene beautifully," he says.

"I had been outside taking star trail photos for about an hour when I was suddenly interrupted by green," says Schwartz. "The auroras were able to compete not only with the waxing full Moon, but also to share the sky with light pollution coming from Fairbanks."

Auroras and moonlight are about to mix again. On Jan. 30th, solar wind flowing from a hole in the sun's atmosphere is expected to reach Earth. Geomagnetic unrest will likely spread auroras around the Arctic Circle, turning skies green above the radiant snow. Stay tuned. Free: Aurora Alerts.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

BLUE MOON LUNAR ECLIPSE: On Wednesday, Jan. 31st, the second full Moon of January will pass through Earth's shadow, producing a rare "Blue Moon Lunar Eclipse." The Moon won't look blue, however. Researchers are predicting bright orange--a forecast based on studies of recent volcanic activity. Graphic artist Larry Koehn created this animation showing approximately how it will look:

The eclipse will be visible from Asia, Australia, and western parts of North America. In the USA, the best time to look is during the hours before sunrise. The Moon makes first contact with the core of Earth's shadow at 3:48 am Pacific Time, kicking off the partial eclipse. Totality begins at 4:52 am PST as Earth's shadow engulfs the lunar disk for more than an hour. "Maximum orange" is expected around 5:30 am PST. Other time zones: UT, EST, CST, MST, PST, HST.

Can you see the eclipse? Check this visibility map.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

GLOWING 3D PRINTED MOON GLOBE: Looking for an over-the-Moon Valentine's gift? Consider this: On Jan. 4, 2018, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew this 3D printed Moon globe to the stratosphere--and you can have it for $149.95.

The surface of the sphere is an accurate topo-map of lunar terrain, tracing every major crater and mountain range. It is also a night light. A built-in USB-rechargeable battery provides up to 20 hours of romantic illumination.

A helium-filled space weather balloon lifted this globe and several others like it to the stratosphere, reaching an altitude of 36.3 km (119,095 ft) above California's Sierra Nevada mountains. After the balloon exploded, as planned, the payload parachuted back to Earth. The Moon was still glowing when the student recovery team found it in the wilderness.

Each glowing orb comes with a greeting card showing the Moon in flight and telling the story of its journey to the edge of space. 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 Jan. 29, 2018, 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 29, 2018 there were 1882 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2018 AK12
2018-Jan-23
7 LD
22.3
33
2018 BT1
2018-Jan-23
15.3 LD
16.7
90
2018 BM6
2018-Jan-23
10.2 LD
5.2
17
2018 AV11
2018-Jan-23
11.1 LD
9.1
34
2018 AJ
2018-Jan-23
4.7 LD
5.6
44
2018 BJ6
2018-Jan-23
3.1 LD
3.7
7
2018 BN6
2018-Jan-24
0.9 LD
10.3
16
2018 BG1
2018-Jan-24
10.9 LD
7.2
27
2018 BP1
2018-Jan-24
19.2 LD
8.2
43
2018 BA3
2018-Jan-24
3 LD
8
21
2018 AL12
2018-Jan-26
8.1 LD
19.6
37
2018 BM5
2018-Jan-26
4.8 LD
9.1
12
2018 BU1
2018-Jan-27
3.1 LD
11.3
43
2018 BQ
2018-Jan-27
9.3 LD
3.4
27
2018 BE6
2018-Jan-30
3.4 LD
17
46
2018 AQ2
2018-Feb-02
13.4 LD
17.4
130
2002 CB19
2018-Feb-02
10.5 LD
15.6
36
2018 BN5
2018-Feb-03
15.9 LD
9.4
23
2018 BG3
2018-Feb-03
11.9 LD
14.1
60
2018 AH12
2018-Feb-04
5.3 LD
5
15
276033
2018-Feb-04
11 LD
34
646
2018 BL1
2018-Feb-09
16.5 LD
20.3
72
2015 BN509
2018-Feb-09
12.9 LD
17.7
257
1991 VG
2018-Feb-11
18.4 LD
2.1
7
2014 WQ202
2018-Feb-11
15.1 LD
19.8
62
2016 CO246
2018-Feb-22
15.3 LD
5.4
21
2017 DR109
2018-Feb-24
3.7 LD
7.4
11
2016 FU12
2018-Feb-26
13.2 LD
4.5
15
2014 EY24
2018-Feb-27
14.8 LD
8
54
2015 BF511
2018-Feb-28
11.7 LD
5.7
39
2003 EM1
2018-Mar-07
16.6 LD
8
45
2017 VR12
2018-Mar-07
3.8 LD
6.3
282
2015 DK200
2018-Mar-10
6.9 LD
8
27
2016 SR2
2018-Mar-28
18.7 LD
7.3
20
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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