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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 551.1 km/sec
density: 5.7 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1931 UT Mar01
24-hr: A0
1931 UT Mar01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 01 Mar 19
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 01 Mar 2019

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 29 days
2019 total: 44 days (73%)
2018 total: 221 days (61%)
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%)
2008 total: 268 days (73%)
2007 total: 152 days (42%)
2006 total: 70 days (19%)

Updated 01 Mar 2019


Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 3.98
x1010 W Cold
Max: 49.4
x1010 W Hot (10/1957)
Min: 2.05
x1010 W Cold (02/2009)
explanation | more data
Updated 01 Mar 2019

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 71 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 01 Mar 2019

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 5
storm
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.7 nT
Bz: -1.0 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 01 Mar 19


Earth is inside a stream of solar wind flowing from this wide coronal hole.
. Credit: SDO/AIA

Noctilucent Clouds The southern season for noctilucent clouds (NLCs) is ending. NASA's AIM spacecraft is detecting a sharp decline in electric blue clouds at the edge of space over Antarctica.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 03-01-2019 21:55:07
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2019 Mar 01 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: 2019 Mar 01 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
30 %
20 %
MINOR
15 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
20 %
MINOR
30 %
30 %
SEVERE
40 %
25 %
 
Friday, Mar. 1, 2019
What's up in space
       
 

Lights Over Lapland has a brand-new website full of exciting adventures in Abisko National Park, Sweden! Take a look at our aurora activities and book your once-in-a-lifetime trip with us today!

 

GEOMAGNETIC STORMS, TODAY: Earth is inside a fast-moving stream of solar wind flowing from a wide hole in the sun's atmosphere. This is causing intermittent G1-class geomagnetic storms and bright auroras around the Arctic Circle. Our planet is expected to remain inside the stream for another 24 hours, at least, with a 40% chance of additional geomagnetic storms on March 2nd. Aurora Alerts: SMS text, email.

A MONTH WITHOUT SUNSPOTS: There are 28 days in February. This year, all 28 of them were spotless. The sun had no sunspots for the entire month of Feb. 2019. This is how the solar disk looked every day:

The last time a full calendar month passed without a sunspot was August 2008. At the time, the sun was in the deepest Solar Minimum of the Space Age. Now a new Solar Minimum is in progress and it is shaping up to be similarly deep. So far this year, the sun has been blank 73% of the time--the same as 2008.

Solar Minimum is a normal part of the solar cycle. Every ~11 years, sunspot counts drop toward zero. Dark cores that produce solar flares and CMEs vanish from the solar disk, leaving the sun blank for long stretches of time. These minima have been coming and going with regularity since the sunspot cycle was discovered in 1859.

However, not all Solar Minima are alike. The last one in 2008-2009 surprised observers with its depth and side-effects. Sunspot counts dropped to a 100-year low; the sun dimmed by 0.1%; Earth's upper atmosphere collapsed, allowing space junk to accumulate; the pressure of the solar wind flagged while cosmic rays (normally repelled by solar wind) surged to Space Age highs. All these things are happening again.

How does this affect us on Earth? The biggest change may be cosmic rays. High energy particles from deep space penetrate the inner solar system with greater ease during periods of low solar activity. Indeed, NASA spacecraft and space weather balloons are detecting just such an increase in radiation. Cosmic rays can alter the flow of electricity through Earth's atmosphere, trigger lightning, potentially alter cloud cover, and dose commercial air travelers with extra "rads on a plane."

As February ended, March is beginning ... with no sunspots. Welcome to Solar Minimum!

THE MOON, ENCASED IN CRYSTAL: On August 16, 2018, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched a cosmic ray balloon to the stratosphere. This unique laser-etched Moon cube went along for the ride, ascending to an altitude of 101,140 feet:

You can have it for $119.95. The students are selling these cubes as a fund-raiser for their cosmic ray ballooning program. It's an authentic representation of the Moon, with all of the craters, mountains and lava plains accurately portrayed.

Each Moon-cube comes with a unique gift card showing the item 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 sales support hands-on STEM education

MUST-SEE AURORA MOVIE: Last night, Feb. 28th, aurora tour guide Oliver Wright was standing on a groaning craggy pressure ridge on Sweden's frozen Lake Torneträsk when a geomagnetic storm erupted. Suddenly, the sky filled with dancing lights. Turn up the volume, hit play, and don't stop watching before the 1 minute mark

"This was one of my best nights guiding for Lights Over Lapland in more than 5 years," says Wright. "The geomagnetic storm predicted by Spaceweather.com really delivered. We had amazing aurora as soon as it started getting dark and it just got better and better. Just in this video there are 5 coronas!"

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery


Realtime Space Weather 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 Mar. 1, 2019, 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 March 1, 2019 there were 1967 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2019 CK5
2019-Feb-23
13.4 LD
8.9
20
2019 DP
2019-Feb-23
2.9 LD
8.9
36
2019 BF1
2019-Feb-24
11.2 LD
9.1
119
2019 CK1
2019-Feb-24
16.5 LD
10.2
32
2019 DB
2019-Feb-24
2.6 LD
6.7
21
2019 DB1
2019-Feb-25
12.2 LD
22.4
37
2019 CJ
2019-Feb-25
7.4 LD
4.8
30
2019 CF4
2019-Feb-26
15.6 LD
3.7
14
2019 DF
2019-Feb-26
0.5 LD
15.1
4
2019 DE
2019-Feb-27
17.7 LD
7.2
23
2018 DE1
2019-Feb-27
19.8 LD
6.5
28
2016 FU12
2019-Feb-27
15.4 LD
5.2
15
2019 DO
2019-Mar-01
5 LD
12.3
29
2019 DD
2019-Mar-01
7.5 LD
10.4
14
2019 CT4
2019-Mar-02
6 LD
12.1
49
2019 DX
2019-Mar-03
3.8 LD
12.6
15
2019 DM
2019-Mar-03
7 LD
12.2
47
2019 CX4
2019-Mar-04
18.4 LD
6.9
30
2019 CW
2019-Mar-04
19.2 LD
11.6
61
2015 EG
2019-Mar-04
1.2 LD
9.6
26
2019 DC
2019-Mar-05
10.9 LD
9.2
20
2019 DA1
2019-Mar-06
3.6 LD
12.5
24
2019 DN
2019-Mar-08
13.5 LD
7.3
119
2012 DF31
2019-Mar-09
9.3 LD
15.1
47
2019 CM4
2019-Mar-11
13.8 LD
12.1
91
2019 DH
2019-Mar-11
7.6 LD
10.6
39
2013 EG68
2019-Mar-13
19.3 LD
17
37
2012 VZ19
2019-Mar-13
7.7 LD
8
27
2019 CL2
2019-Mar-18
10.2 LD
7.5
73
2019 CD5
2019-Mar-20
10.2 LD
17
135
2019 DS
2019-Mar-21
17.3 LD
8.9
37
2016 GE1
2019-Apr-04
3.9 LD
10.1
17
2014 UR
2019-Apr-09
13 LD
4.6
17
2016 GW221
2019-Apr-09
10.1 LD
5.3
39
2012 XO134
2019-Apr-18
14.8 LD
11
56
522684
2019-Apr-19
19 LD
11.5
214
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

SOMETHING NEW! We have developed a new predictive model of aviation radiation. It's called E-RAD--short for Empirical RADiation model. We are constantly flying radiation sensors onboard airplanes over the US and and around the world, so far collecting more than 22,000 gps-tagged radiation measurements. Using this unique dataset, we can predict the dosage on any flight over the USA with an error no worse than 15%.

E-RAD lets us do something new: Every day we monitor approximately 1400 flights criss-crossing the 10 busiest routes in the continental USA. Typically, this includes more than 80,000 passengers per day. E-RAD calculates the radiation exposure for every single flight.

The Hot Flights Table is a daily summary of these calculations. It shows the 5 charter flights with the highest dose rates; the 5 commercial flights with the highest dose rates; 5 commercial flights with near-average dose rates; and the 5 commercial flights with the lowest dose rates. Passengers typically experience dose rates that are 20 to 70 times higher than natural radiation at sea level.

To measure radiation on airplanes, we use the same sensors we fly to the stratosphere onboard Earth to Sky Calculus cosmic ray balloons: neutron bubble chambers and X-ray/gamma-ray Geiger tubes sensitive to energies between 10 keV and 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.

Column definitions: (1) The flight number; (2) The maximum dose rate during the flight, expressed in units of natural radiation at sea level; (3) The maximum altitude of the plane in feet above sea level; (4) Departure city; (5) Arrival city; (6) Duration of the flight.

SPACE WEATHER BALLOON DATA: 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 18% since 2015:

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.

En route to the stratosphere, our sensors also pass through aviation altitudes:

In this plot, 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.

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.

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.

  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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