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Solar wind
speed: 338.9 km/sec
density: 2.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: X3
2212 UT Nov05
24-hr: X3
2212 UT Nov05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 05 Nov 13
Big sunspot AR1890 has a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. So far, however, this huge sunspot is quiet. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 151
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 05 Nov 2013

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

05 Nov 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 147 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 05 Nov 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.8 nT
Bz: 1.5 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2042 UT
Coronal Holes: 05 Nov 13
Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on Nov. 7-8. Credit: SDO/AIA. is now posting daily satellite images of noctilucent clouds (NLCs), which hover over Earth's poles at the edge of space. The data come from NASA's AIM spacecraft. The north polar "daisy" pictured below is a composite of near-realtime images from AIM assembled by researchers at the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP).
Noctilucent Clouds
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 09-02-2013 11:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Nov 05 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
45 %
45 %
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: 2013 Nov 05 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
20 %
20 %
15 %
20 %
Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013
What's up in space

When is the best time to see auroras? Where is the best place to go? And how do you photograph them? These questions and more are answered in a new book, Northern Lights - a Guide, by Pal Brekke & Fredrik Broms.

Northern Lights - a Guide

X3-CLASS SOLAR FLARE: Earth-orbiting satellites have just detected an X3-class solar flare from big sunspot AR1890 (Nov. 5th @ 2212 UT). NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash:

Although this flare was intense, it was also very brief. This will mitigate any Earth effects. For instance, any radio blackouts caused by ionization of Earth's upper atmosphere will likely be short-lived. Stay tuned for updates. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

BIG SUNSPOT TURNS TOWARD EARTH: One of the biggest sunspots of the current solar cycle emerged over the sun's eastern limb three days ago and now it is turning toward Earth. This movie from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the approach of sunspot AR1890:

AR1890 has an unstable 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for strong explosions. NOAA forecasters estimate a 45% chance of M-class solar flares and a 10% chance of X-flares on Nov. 5th. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

INDIA LAUNCHES MOM TO MARS: Congratulations to the space agency of India for their successful launch of the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) on Nov. 5th. Also known as "Mangalyaan," the spacecraft will spend the next ten months traveling to Mars on a mission to study the planet's surface, atmosphere and moons. Mangalyaan's solar panels have been deployed, and Indian officials report all subsystems have been powered up and are healthy. [more]

SOLAR ECLIPSE: On Sunday morning, Nov. 3rd, the New Moon passed in front of the sun, producing a solar eclipse visible from the east Coast of North America to the western side of Africa. Photographer Ben Cooper experienced the event in a way few people ever have--by racing across the path of totality in a jet airplane. "We used a Falcon 900B jet to intercept this extremely short eclipse with a perpendicular crossing of the eclipse path," Cooper says. He took this picture flying 43,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean:

Many eclipse chasers didn't bother chasing this particular eclipse because it was so short--in some places lasting only a matter of seconds. Cooper was among a dozen on board the jet who were determined to experience totality. "There was zero margin for error, with the plane, traveling near 600mph and hitting the eclipse shadow where it touched down on Earth at some 8,000 mph, required to hit a geographic point over the ocean at a precise instant," he says. "We arrived at our destination about 1 second late, so we observed even less of the eclipse than we expected. In total, we got an instantaneous totality of nearly zero seconds!" More information about the flight may be found here.

After crossing the Atlantic, the narrow path of totality touched several African nations including Gabon, the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. Observers across a much wider area witnessed a partial eclipse. Particular beautiful were the sunrise scenes experienced by early risers along the east coast of the USA. Browse the gallery for many more images.

Webmaster's favorites: #0, #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13

Realtime Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery

RE-DISCOVERING THE PFOTZER MAXIMUM: On Oct. 27th, when the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched a pair of radiation sensors to the stratosphere onboard a helium balloon, they didn't know what to expect. This just in: They have re-discovered the Pfotzer Maximum. Most people have never heard of it. The Pfotzer Maximum is a layer of peak radiation about 20 km above Earth's surface. Take a look at this data plot from the team's space weather balloon and keep reading below for more information:

The plot shows a complete profile of ionizing radiation between 2.7 km and 27 km above Earth's surface. Data from their sensor counted X-rays and gamma-rays in the energy range 10.0 KeV to 20.0 MeV. A peak in radiation levels occured in the tropopause--that's the Pfotzer Maximum.

When cosmic rays crash into Earth's atmosphere, they produce a spray of secondary particles. With increasing depth in the atmosphere, the primary cosmic radiation component decreases, whereas the secondary radiation component increases. This complex situation results in a maximum of the dose rate at an altitude of ~20 km, the so-called "Pfotzer maximum," named after physicist George Pfotzer who discovered the peak using balloons and Geiger tubes in the 1930s.

The Earth to Sky experiment was prompted by a recent NASA report concerning the effects of space weather on aviation. Like astronauts, ordinary air travelers can be exposed to significant doses of radiation when the sun is active. Data collected by balloon-borne sensors can be used to check and improve research models of radiation percolating through Earth's atmosphere.

The students are ready to fly their sensors again. A radiation storm in the week ahead is a possibility as solar activity remains high. If one erupts, they plan to revisit the Pfotzer Maximum to find out how it reacts. Stay tuned. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Comet ISON Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

  All Sky Fireball Network
NEW: 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 Nov. 4, 2013, the network reported 12 fireballs.
(8 sporadics, 3 Northern Taurids, 1 Orionid)

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 November 5, 2013 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2013 VL
Oct 29
1.7 LD
13 m
2013 UV3
Oct 29
0.7 LD
18 m
2013 UJ9
Nov 1
4.9 LD
21 m
2013 VG2
Nov 4
2.6 LD
23 m
2013 VH2
Nov 7
8.5 LD
15 m
2013 UE1
Nov 7
7.4 LD
60 m
2000 DK79
Nov 10
49 LD
3.0 km
2011 JY1
Nov 14
6.7 LD
57 m
2001 AV43
Nov 18
3 LD
52 m
2010 CL19
Nov 25
37.6 LD
1.3 km
2013 NJ
Nov 26
2.5 LD
190 m
2011 YD29
Dec 28
6.1 LD
24 m
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...
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