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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 355.2 km/sec
density: 4.5 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2352 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1950 UT May06
24-hr: C9
0510 UT May06
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 06 May 19
Sunspot AR2740 is crackling with C-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 14
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 06 May 2019

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2019 total: 74 days (59%)
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 06 May 2019


Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 4.15
x1010 W Cold
Max: 49.4
x1010 W Hot (10/1957)
Min: 2.05
x1010 W Cold (02/2009)
explanation | more data
Updated 05 May 2019

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 74 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 06 May 2019

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.6 nT
Bz: -0.7 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2350 UT
Coronal Holes: 06 May 19


Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole should reach Earth on May 8th.
Credit: SDO/AIA

Noctilucent Clouds The northern season for noctilicent clouds is little more than a month away. The electric-blue clouds circling the north pole should return in mid- to late May. .
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 03-02-2019 16:55:03
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2019 May 06 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
10 %
10 %
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 May 06 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
30 %
20 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
20 %
MINOR
30 %
30 %
SEVERE
30 %
25 %
 
Monday, May. 6, 2019
What's up in space
       
 

Solar minimum is here - but even now strangely beautiful auroras are dancing around the poles. Deep inside the Arctic Circle, the expert guides of Aurora Holidays in Utsjoki, Finland, can help you chase them. Book now!

 

ANOTHER BIG SUNSPOT APPEARS: With one big sunspot (AR2740) already turning toward Earth, another big sunspot (AR2741) is now emerging over the sun's eastern limb. Amateur astronomers with safe solar telescopes are encouraged to point their filtered optics here and monitor developments. Instant Aurora Alerts: SMS Text.

ACTIVE SUNSPOT: Big sunspot AR2740 is turning toward Earth and crackling with solar flares. The most intense so far registered M1 on the Richter Scale of Solar Flares. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash on May 6th:

Radiation from the flare briefly ionized the top of our planet's atmosphere, producing a brownout of shortwave radio signals over Asia and the Indian Ocean: map. Frequencies affected were mainly below 20 MHz. Ships at sea and ham radio operators may have noticed the disturbance on Monday, May 6th, around 05:10 UT.

This sunspot is a big one (especially considering that we are in a deep solar minimum). It is twice as wide as Earth, making it an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. Shahrin Ahmad of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, took this picture on May 5th:


"I was able to see this big sunspot despite bad seeing (2/5)," says Ahmad. "It's incredible for this sunspot to have survived so long!"

Indeed, this is the second time AR2740 has circled the sun. We saw it for the first time in April when it strafed Earth with loud shortwave radio bursts. Now it's back, still big and intact, following a 2-week trip around the farside of the sun.

Free: Spaceweather.com Newsletter

A GREEN FLASH IN THE CLOUDS: For seaside photographers, nothing beats a green flash--that sudden pulse of verdant light at sunset as the sun vanishes beneath the ocean waves. Thom Peck of Poway CA was near the Pacific Ocean on May 4th when he captured a green flash. But it didn't come from the ocean waves. It came from the top of a cloud:

This is a rare 'cloud-top' green flash, sometimes seen as the sun's rays graze a distant cloud bank. They are not well understood. Ordinary green flashes require a temperature inversion layer near the sea surface. Similar inversions may sometimes occur at the top of marine stratus clouds.

"The green flash was not naked eye--or at least we didn't see it," says Peck. "But we photographed it easily enough using my Canon T6i digital camera." Photo settings may be found here.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

MOTHER'S DAY IS LESS THAN 1 WEEK AWAY: Are you looking for an out-of-this world Mother's Day gift? Consider this: Every time the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launch a cosmic ray balloon, they include something extra in the payload--something mom will love:

Every item in the Earth to Sky Store has flown to the edge of space and comes with a greeting card showing the item in flight. The interior of the card tells the story of the gift's journey from launch to landing. Mom-satisfaction guaranteed!

Far Out Gifts: Earth to Sky Store
All sales support hands-on STEM education


Realtime Aurora 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 May. 6, 2019, the network reported 17 fireballs.
(10 eta Aquariids, 7 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 May 6, 2019 there were 1983 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2019 HO3
2019-May-01
13.8 LD
18.6
68
2019 JY1
2019-May-01
2.9 LD
6.6
8
2019 HK
2019-May-01
12.8 LD
12.9
51
2019 HW3
2019-May-01
16 LD
8.6
34
2019 JU1
2019-May-02
7.5 LD
8.1
42
2019 HM4
2019-May-02
8.4 LD
7.9
19
2019 JV1
2019-May-02
9.6 LD
17.6
95
2019 JX1
2019-May-02
0.5 LD
14.5
5
2019 HP
2019-May-03
9.3 LD
5.7
26
2019 HV3
2019-May-04
12.4 LD
10.9
55
2018 KK1
2019-May-05
13.9 LD
13.9
71
2019 JE
2019-May-05
2.5 LD
7.2
22
2019 HQ3
2019-May-07
15.7 LD
12.7
30
2019 JM
2019-May-09
3.9 LD
7.6
15
2017 RC
2019-May-09
14.5 LD
10.6
9
2008 HS3
2019-May-09
14.6 LD
5.3
162
2019 JL
2019-May-12
14.3 LD
9.2
18
2018 VX8
2019-May-12
6.2 LD
15.5
118
2019 JG1
2019-May-17
5.6 LD
8.1
16
2012 KT12
2019-May-17
4.2 LD
4
20
2019 GT1
2019-May-17
6.1 LD
3.9
36
2019 JR1
2019-May-18
16.2 LD
10
44
2019 JB1
2019-May-20
16.9 LD
26.2
228
2015 KQ18
2019-May-25
10.7 LD
13.1
30
66391
2019-May-25
13.5 LD
21.5
1780
2003 LH
2019-May-28
15.6 LD
7.4
32
2011 HP
2019-May-30
12.3 LD
8.4
135
2014 MF18
2019-Jun-06
8.8 LD
3
22
441987
2019-Jun-24
7.7 LD
12.6
178
2008 KV2
2019-Jun-27
17.8 LD
11.4
195
2016 NN15
2019-Jun-28
9.6 LD
8.4
16
2015 XC352
2019-Jul-01
11.9 LD
4.1
26
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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