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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 450.9 km/sec
density: 5.4 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2349 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A2
1829 UT May13
24-hr: A3
1108 UT May13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 13 May 18
Almost-invisible sunspot AR2709 has a stable magnetic field that poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 12
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 May 2018

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2018 total: 73 days (55%)
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 13 May 2018


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 68 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 13 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= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.7 nT
Bz: 1.5 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2348 UT
Coronal Holes: 13 May 18

Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on May 17th. 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 13 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 13 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
15 %
15 %
SEVERE
10 %
10 %
 
Sunday, May. 13, 2018
What's up in space
       
 

All-inclusive Northern Lights trips in Tromsø, Norway. Small groups, big experiences! Highly qualified guides ensure unique and unforgettable adventures with a personal touch. Visit Explore the Arctic

 

GEOMAGNETIC STORM PREDICTED: NOAA forecasters say that polar geomagnetic storms are possible on May 17th when a stream of solar wind engulfs Earth. The gaseous material is flowing from a hole in the sun's atmosphere. Previous encounters with solar wind from this hole suggest that storm levels could reach category G2. Free: Aurora Alerts.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY FROM ANTARCTICA: This morning, May 13th, the heavens turned green over India's Bharati Research Base Station in Antarctica. Apparently, the ground did, too. "These auroras were so bright the icy terrain around the research station turned colorful green," reports  B. Sudarsan Patro, one of the station's engineers. "The white ground reflected the colors of the sky above."


The Bharati research base is located in the Larsemann Hills of East Antarctica where a variety of landforms come together in one place.  "We are really lucky to have such wonderful view of auroras over the frozen sea, rocky hills and massive ice bergs," says Patro. 

This display was caused by the tail end of a solar wind stream that Earth is now leaving. Another solar wind stream is on its way. Estimated time of arrival: May 17th. Patro and his colleagues can expect more green skies--and green ice--at that time. Stay tuned.

P.S. "Happy Mother's Day to all!" says Patro.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

3D GLOWING MOON GLOBE: Are you looking for a far-out gift? Consider this: In January, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew a glowing 3D printed Moon globe to the stratosphere:

You can have it for $149.95. The students are selling these unique globes as a fundraiser for their cosmic ray monitoring program.

The surface of the sphere is an accurate topo-map of lunar terrain, tracing every major crater and mountain range. It is also a night light. A built-in USB-rechargeable battery provides up to 20 hours of illumination.

Each glowing orb comes with a greeting card showing the Moon in flight and telling the story of its journey to the edge of space. All proceeds support Earth to Sky Calculus and hands-on STEM research.

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. 13, 2018, the network reported 11 fireballs.
(10 sporadics, 1 eta Aquariid)

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 13, 2018 there were 1907 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2016 JQ5
2018-May-08
6.3 LD
10.4
9
2018 JK2
2018-May-09
9.5 LD
5.8
27
388945
2018-May-09
6.5 LD
9
295
2018 JP
2018-May-09
2.1 LD
7.4
12
2018 JJ
2018-May-10
13.1 LD
12.7
51
2018 JF2
2018-May-11
13.3 LD
8.3
48
2018 GR2
2018-May-11
13.4 LD
9.8
111
2018 JZ
2018-May-11
4.3 LD
13.2
13
2016 HP6
2018-May-13
2.2 LD
5.6
28
2018 JA1
2018-May-13
4.4 LD
5.8
28
2018 JL1
2018-May-14
7.5 LD
5.7
17
2018 JY
2018-May-14
8.8 LD
10.6
53
1999 LK1
2018-May-15
13.3 LD
10
141
2018 JX1
2018-May-15
9.4 LD
7.7
18
2010 WC9
2018-May-15
0.5 LD
12.8
71
2018 JX
2018-May-16
3.9 LD
13
77
2018 JC
2018-May-17
17.7 LD
9.4
78
2018 GL1
2018-May-18
14.3 LD
5.2
69
2018 JL2
2018-May-19
10.9 LD
13.5
40
2018 JG1
2018-May-20
5.3 LD
8.3
44
2018 JK
2018-May-22
16.3 LD
12.5
81
2018 JG2
2018-May-25
18.5 LD
6.9
63
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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