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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 595.9 km/sec
density: 6.6 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2348 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A4
1818 UT May07
24-hr: A4
1818 UT May07
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 07 May 18
Decaying sunspot AR2708 poses no threat for solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 14
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 07 May 2018

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2018 total: 73 days (58%)
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 07 May 2018


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 67 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 07 May 2018

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
unsettled
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.4 nT
Bz: 0.9 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 07 May 18

Earth is inside a stream of solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole. 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: 02-07-2018 17:55:05
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2018 May 07 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 May 07 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
40 %
35 %
MINOR
20 %
15 %
SEVERE
05 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
15 %
MINOR
30 %
30 %
SEVERE
50 %
40 %
 
Monday, May. 7, 2018
What's up in space
       
 

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CHANCE OF STORMS: NOAA forecasters say there is a 55% chance of G1-class geomagnetic storms on May 7th, subsiding to 40% on May 8th, as Earth moves through a stream of high-speed solar wind. The gaseous material is flowing from a wide hole in the sun's atmosphere--so wide that Earth should remain inside the stream for some days to come. Free: Aurora Alerts

STEVE TRAVELS SOUTH, VISITS THE USA: On Saturday, May 5th, a stream of solar wind engulfed Earth, sparking G1 and G2-class geomagnetic storms through the weekend. High atop Earth's atmosphere, hot ribbons of plasma began to flow through our planet's magnetic field. Suddenly, STEVE appeared. Alan Dyer photographed the mauve ribbon of light over Gleichen, Alberta:

"STEVE, the strange auroral arc, put in quite the appearance on Sunday night, with a fine show over southern Alberta lasting about an hour," says Dyer. "It started as a faint arc in the east, then intensified, cutting across the entire sky."

STEVE (Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement) was discovered by sky watchers in Alberta only a few years ago, although the phenomenon was surely active long before. The narrow ribbon is related to auroras, but has a distinct shape, color, and habitat. Researchers are now beginning to understand STEVE as a manifestation of hot plasma currents in the upper atmosphere.

Elizabeth MacDonald of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center recently published a paper on STEVE. In it, they link STEVE to a phenomenon called "subauroral ion drifts" (SAIDs). Satellites have tracked thousands of SAIDs: They tend to appear most often during spring and fall and seem to prefer latitudes near +60 degrees.

This weekend, STEVE traveled farther south than usual. Greg Ash saw the ribbon over Ely, Minnesota, at latitude +47.9 N:

"As you can imagine, I was totally stoked," says Ash. "This was my first STEVE sighting and it was unforgettable. It was visible with the naked eye and I could see the pulsations of green with the purple."

Elsewhere, STEVE was sighted in Tofte, Minnesota (+47.6N), Buxton, North Dakota (+47.6 N), Arcadia, Michigan, (+44.5N) and Fort Frances, Ontario (+48.6N). These relatively low latitude apparitions are an encouraging sign for sky watchers who wish to see the strange ribbon for themselves. You don't have to travel to the Arctic Circle to meet STEVE. He might be coming to you. Free: Aurora Alerts.

Realtime STEVE Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

FAR-OUT MOTHER'S DAY GIFT: Nothing says "I Love You" like a heart-shaped pendant from the edge of space. On Dec. 31, 2017, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew an array of cosmic ray sensors to the stratosphere onboard a giant helium balloon. This Mother's Day gift went along for the ride:

You can have it for $119.95. The students are selling these pendants as a fund-raiser for their cosmic ray monitoring program. All proceeds support atmospheric radiation measurements and hands-on STEM education.

Each pendant comes with a greeting card showing the jewelry in flight and telling the story of its journey to the stratosphere and back again. Mom-satisfaction guaranteed.

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

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 May. 7, 2018, the network reported 15 fireballs.
(7 eta Aquariids, 7 sporadics, 1 Northern Daytime omega-Cetid)

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 7, 2018 there were 1907 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2018 HB1
2018-May-02
10.1 LD
9.2
38
2018 HR1
2018-May-04
17.5 LD
16.5
51
2018 JD
2018-May-06
3.5 LD
8.1
16
2018 JB
2018-May-06
5.2 LD
8.3
23
1999 FN19
2018-May-07
9.7 LD
5.7
118
2016 JQ5
2018-May-08
6.3 LD
10.4
9
388945
2018-May-09
6.5 LD
9
295
2018 GR2
2018-May-11
13.4 LD
9.8
112
2016 HP6
2018-May-13
2.2 LD
5.6
28
1999 LK1
2018-May-15
13.3 LD
10
141
2018 JC
2018-May-17
17.8 LD
9.4
78
2018 GL1
2018-May-18
14.3 LD
5.2
68
68347
2018-May-29
9.5 LD
13.3
389
2013 LE7
2018-May-31
17.8 LD
1.7
12
2018 EJ4
2018-Jun-10
5.6 LD
6.2
195
2015 DP155
2018-Jun-11
9 LD
4.4
170
2017 YE5
2018-Jun-21
15.6 LD
15.5
513
467309
2018-Jun-23
17.9 LD
14
355
441987
2018-Jun-24
7.3 LD
12.6
178
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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