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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 431.2 km/sec
density: 5.9 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2348 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
1724 UT Apr11
24-hr: B4
1235 UT Apr11
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 11 Apr 19
Sunspot AR2738 is crackling with low-level B-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 13
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 11 Apr 2019

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2019 total: 62 days (61%)
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 11 Apr 2019


Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 4.36
x1010 W Cold
Max: 49.4
x1010 W Hot (10/1957)
Min: 2.05
x1010 W Cold (02/2009)
explanation | more data
Updated 11 Apr 2019

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 78 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 11 Apr 2019

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.9 nT
Bz: -3.1 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 11 Apr 19


There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun.
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 Apr 11 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 Apr 11 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
25 %
30 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
20 %
MINOR
30 %
35 %
SEVERE
35 %
30 %
 
Thursday, Apr. 11, 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!

 

THE FIRST PRIVATE LUNAR LANDER CRASHES: Landing would have been nice, but even crashing on the Moon is an impressive accomplishment for a private company. That's what happened on April 11th when Israel's Beresheet lunar lander plunged into Mare Serenitatis following a main engine malfunction. "Well, we didn't make it, but we definitely tried," said Morris Kahn, chairman of SpaceIL, the first private company to attempt a lunar landing. Next time!

EXPERTS PREDICT A LONG, DEEP SOLAR MINIMUM: If you like solar minimum, good news: It could last for years. That was one of the predictions issued last week by an international panel of experts who gathered at NOAA's annual Space Weather Workshop to forecast the next solar cycle. If the panel is correct, already-low sunspot counts will reach a nadir sometime between July 2019 and Sept 2020, followed by a slow recovery toward a new Solar Maximum in 2023-2026.

"We expect Solar Cycle 25 will be very similar to Cycle 24: another fairly weak maximum, preceded by a long, deep minimum," says panel co-chair Lisa Upton, a solar physicist with Space Systems Research Corp.

The solar cycle is like a pendulum, swinging back and forth between periods of high and low sunspot number every 11 years or so. Researchers have been tracking the cycle since it was discovered in the 19th century. Not all cycles are alike. Some are intense, with lots of sunspots and explosive solar flares; the Space Age began with a big booming solar maximum. Others are weak, such as the most recent, Solar Cycle 24, which peaked in 2012-2014 with relatively little action.

Researchers are still learning to predict the ebb and flow of solar activity. Forecasting techniques range from physical models of the sun's inner magnetic dynamo to statistical methods akin to those used by stock market analysts.

"We assessed ~61 predictions in the following categories: Climatology, Dynamo, Machine Learning/Neural Networks, Precursor Methods, Spectral/Statistical Methods, Surface Flux Transport, and Other," says Upton. "The majority agreed that Solar Cycle 25 would be very similar to Solar Cycle 24."

"Here," she says, "is a figure showing the last minimum and where we are with the current minimum."


"As you can see – we haven't quite reached the lowest levels of the last cycle – where we experienced several consecutive months with no sunspots. However, the panel expects that we should reach those levels [between now and the end of 2020]."

In recent years, the Internet has buzzed with the idea that a super-deep solar minimum such as the 70-year Maunder Minimum of the 17th century might cool the Earth, saving us from climate change. That's not what the panel is saying, however.

"There is no indication that we are currently approaching a Maunder-type minimum in solar activity," says Upton. Solar minimum will be deep, but not that deep.

Story continues after the advertisement...

A MOTHER'S DAY GIFT FROM THE EDGE OF SPACE: It's sterling silver and it comes from space. On March 5th, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew a cosmic ray balloon to the stratosphere, more than 94,000 feet above Earth's surface. This "Loving Hands" pendant went along for the ride:

You can have one for $129.95. 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.

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

SOLAR MINIMUM, CONTINUED: The panel predicts a "fairly weak" Solar Cycle 25. What does that mean? Saying that a solar cycle is "weak" is a bit like saying hurricane season will be "weak." In other words, there may be fewer storms, but when a storm comes, you'd better batten down the hatches. "Weak" Solar Cycle 24 produced a number of intense X-class solar flares, strong geomagnetic storms, and even a Ground Level Event (GLE) when solar energetic particles reached Earth's surface. An equally "weak" Solar Cycle 25 could do the same 3 or 4 years hence.

Meanwhile, we have solar minimum. This is a widely misunderstood phase of the solar cycle. Many people think it brings a period of dull quiet. In fact, space weather changes in interesting ways. As the sun's magnetic field weakens, holes open in the sun's atmosphere. Emerging streams of solar wind buffet Earth's magnetic field, sustaining auroras even without solar flares and sunspots. Some observers believe that Solar Minimum auroras have a distinctive palette, pinker than during other phases of the solar cycle.

The sun's weakening magnetic field also allows cosmic rays to enter the solar system. Energetic particles from deep space penetrate Earth's atmosphere with a myriad of possible effects ranging from changes in upper atmospheric electricity to extra doses of radiation for people on airplanes.

Finally, the sun dims, especially at extreme ultraviolet wavelengths. This, in turn, causes the upper atmosphere to cool and contract. Aerodynamic drag that would normally cause satellites to decay is reduced; space junk accumulates. This effect makes solar minimum a terrible time to blow up satellites–although people do it anyway.

The Solar Cycle Prediction Panel is comprised of scientists representing NOAA, NASA, the International Space Environment Services, and other U.S. and international scientists. Their April 5th prediction was preliminary, and they plan to issue a refined forecast by the end of 2019.

A sharable version of this story is available here. Aurora alerts: SMS text, email.


Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery


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 Apr. 11, 2019, the network reported 10 fireballs.
(10 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 April 11, 2019 there were 1967 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2019 GU1
2019-Apr-06
1.6 LD
17.4
12
2019 FV
2019-Apr-06
15 LD
7.7
59
2019 GU5
2019-Apr-06
6.1 LD
4.8
10
2019 GJ3
2019-Apr-06
3.1 LD
5.9
8
2019 FY2
2019-Apr-07
19.5 LD
3.9
12
2019 GT
2019-Apr-07
3.5 LD
15.6
18
2019 GS
2019-Apr-07
1.1 LD
12.7
16
2019 FS2
2019-Apr-08
3.2 LD
6.2
12
2019 GR
2019-Apr-08
11.4 LD
5.7
27
2019 GC
2019-Apr-08
6.2 LD
6.6
17
2019 FU
2019-Apr-09
5.3 LD
14.2
85
2014 UR
2019-Apr-09
13 LD
4.6
17
2014 HD177
2019-Apr-10
6.1 LD
14
102
2016 GW221
2019-Apr-10
10.4 LD
5.3
39
2019 GQ
2019-Apr-10
5.2 LD
8.4
17
2019 GV5
2019-Apr-11
1.7 LD
3.9
5
2019 GE1
2019-Apr-11
3.9 LD
6.5
13
2019 GY5
2019-Apr-11
5.9 LD
27.3
26
2019 FB3
2019-Apr-12
11.9 LD
14.2
43
2019 GC4
2019-Apr-12
5.1 LD
33.5
37
2019 GL4
2019-Apr-12
14.4 LD
13.2
85
2019 GQ1
2019-Apr-12
13.4 LD
12.7
40
2019 GN
2019-Apr-13
1.7 LD
11.9
13
2019 GO4
2019-Apr-13
5 LD
23.5
31
2019 FO1
2019-Apr-13
14.4 LD
9.7
28
2019 FH1
2019-Apr-13
18 LD
3.8
31
2019 GN4
2019-Apr-13
7.4 LD
18.4
40
2019 GC6
2019-Apr-18
0.6 LD
5.6
16
2012 XO134
2019-Apr-18
14.8 LD
11
56
2019 FN2
2019-Apr-18
4.1 LD
7.7
68
522684
2019-Apr-19
19 LD
11.5
214
2019 GZ3
2019-Apr-20
10.1 LD
14.2
23
2019 GM
2019-Apr-21
19.4 LD
10.3
34
2019 FV2
2019-Apr-22
15.6 LD
2.3
33
2019 GM4
2019-Apr-23
9.1 LD
8.4
74
2019 GF1
2019-Apr-27
4.7 LD
1.9
11
2019 GX5
2019-Apr-28
7.2 LD
10.7
27
2018 KK1
2019-May-05
13.9 LD
13.9
71
2017 RC
2019-May-09
14.5 LD
10.6
9
2008 HS3
2019-May-09
14.6 LD
5.3
162
2018 VX8
2019-May-12
6.2 LD
15.5
118
2019 GT1
2019-May-17
6.1 LD
4
36
2012 KT12
2019-May-18
3.3 LD
3.9
20
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
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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