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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 311.0 km/sec
density: 14.5 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2351 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A5
2013 UT Jun14
24-hr: A6
0100 UT Jun14
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 14 June 18
Sunspot AR2713 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 16
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 14 Jun 2018

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2018 total: 87 days (53%)
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 14 Jun 2018


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 71 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 14 Jun 2018

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.1 nT
Bz: -1.4 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2349 UT
Coronal Holes: 14 Jun 18

Solar wind flowing from this northern coronal hole could brush Earth's magnetic field on June 17-18. Credit: SDO/AIA
Noctilucent Clouds The season for northern noctilucent clouds is beginning now. Check here daily for the latest images from NASA's AIM spacecraft.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 06-14-2018 21:55:02
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2018 Jun 14 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 Jun 14 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
20 %
20 %
SEVERE
10 %
10 %
 
Thursday, Jun. 14, 2018
What's up in space
       
 

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WILL MARS BECOME "THE YELLOW PLANET"? Want to see Mars with your own eyes? It's easy to do. Just wake up an hour before sunrise; step outside and look south. Mars is blazing brighter than any star in the sky. You might be surprised, however, by the color. The dust storm now enveloping Mars is gradually hiding the planet's rusty surface, giving the Red Planet an increasingly yellow complexion. Take a look and let us know what color you see! [sky map] [photo gallery]

HUGE DUST STORM ON MARS: Mars rover Opportunity is in trouble. NASA engineers attempted to contact Opportunity on June 12th, but did not hear back from the nearly 15-year old rover. The problem: A huge dust storm is blanketing Perseverance Valley where Opportunity has been working. This sequence of images from NASA's Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter shows the progression of the storm:

The huge dust cloud is highlighted in red. Soon after it appeared on May 31st, the cloud swirled south to engulf Opportunity. Right now, the dust is so thick in Perseverance Valley, day has been turned into night, depriving the solar powered rover of the sunlight it needs to charge its batteries.

Opportunity's silence probaby means it has dropped into a low power fault mode. All of the rover's subsystems, except a mission clock, are turned off. The mission clock is programmed to wake Opportunity at intervals so it can check power levels, going back to sleep if the batteries are still low. When sunlight returns, the battery should recharge and Opportunity will fully wake up again.

This is a dust storm of rare size. It is now on the verge of circumnavigating the entire globe, overlying more than a quarter of Mars' land area. This graphic compares the storm to others Opportunity has weathered:

The vertical axis tells us the opacity of the atmosphere. Values range from less than 1 (a little dusty) to greater than 10 (black as night). The horizontal axis marks time after the start of northern spring in units of degrees around the martian orbit (360 degrees=1 full year). This year's storm denoted by the green line is almost off the charts.

Stay tuned for updates as the storm continues to grow.

Realtime Mars Photo Gallery

ONE RING TO RULE THE STRATOSPHERE: The students of Earth to Sky Calculus are about to fly from California to New Zealand to launch a trio of cosmic ray balloons over Earth's 8th continent. To get ready, yesterday they launched a ring of power to the stratosphere. Here it is floating 33 km above the Sierras of California:

You can have one for $119.95. The students are selling these Tolkien-inspired rings as a fundraiser for their trip. They are made of golden-colored tungsten and inscribed with the authentic Mordor script of the One Ring.

Buy one now, and we will fly it again for you over Hobbiton, located in the North Island of New Zealand where our cosmic ray balloons will be released. Just note "Please fly it again!" in the comments section at checkout.

Each golden ring comes with a greeting card showing the ring in flight and telling the story of its journey to the edge of space. Sales support the Earth to Sky Calculus cosmic ray ballooning program and hands-on STEM research.

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


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 Jun. 14, 2018, the network reported 11 fireballs.
(11 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 June 14, 2018 there were 1912 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2018 LR2
2018-Jun-09
3.9 LD
9.9
25
2018 EJ4
2018-Jun-10
5.6 LD
6.2
195
2015 DP155
2018-Jun-11
9 LD
4.4
170
2018 LQ3
2018-Jun-11
12.2 LD
21
132
2018 LW3
2018-Jun-11
3.7 LD
9.4
22
2018 LP3
2018-Jun-12
11.2 LD
9.2
27
2018 LD1
2018-Jun-14
1.6 LD
11
19
2018 LV3
2018-Jun-15
0.9 LD
11.1
18
2018 LK
2018-Jun-15
7.7 LD
12.4
162
2018 LN4
2018-Jun-16
16.5 LD
14.6
64
2018 LF1
2018-Jun-16
15.6 LD
14
47
2018 LD4
2018-Jun-17
14.8 LD
9.3
39
2018 KC3
2018-Jun-19
14.6 LD
8.8
86
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
2018 LD3
2018-Jun-24
19.9 LD
14.2
69
2018 LN2
2018-Jun-28
10.5 LD
9.4
86
2018 LR3
2018-Jun-29
6 LD
3.8
19
2018 LJ1
2018-Jul-01
13.9 LD
2.7
18
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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