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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 435.2 km/sec
density: 0.3 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2348 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A2
1951 UT Sep14
24-hr: A2
1951 UT Sep14
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 14 Sep 18
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 Sep 2018

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 1 day
2018 total: 143 days (56%)
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 14 Sep 2018


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 70 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 14 Sep 2018

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 5
storm
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.8 nT
Bz: 0.4 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 14 Sep 18

Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole should reach Earth on Sept. 16-17. Credit: SDO/AIA
Noctilucent Clouds The season for noctilucent clouds (NLCs) in the northern hemisphere has come to an end. Images from NASA's AIM spacecraft show no NLCs around the north pole.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 09-03-2018 14:55:02
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2018 Sep 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 Sep 14 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
30 %
MINOR
05 %
10 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
25 %
25 %
SEVERE
25 %
40 %
 
Friday, Sep. 14, 2018
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!

 

ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY ALERT: Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner is about to meet a star cluster. During the the early hours of Sept. 15th, the green comet will pass directly in front of Messier 35, a system of several thousand stars in the constellation Gemini. Astronomer Bob King writing for Sky and Telescope notes that "the binocular view should be unique with the rich cluster appearing to sprout a tail!" The passage will occur between between 7:30 and 11:30 UT. Browse: Comet Photo Gallery.

AURORA SURPRISE: No geomagnetic storm was predicted for Sept. 14th. One happened anyway. The day began with a minor G1-class storm that sparked midnight auroras over parts of Canada. Ray Majoran sends this picture from Huntsville, Ontario:

"We were out shooting the Milky Way shots on Kawagama Lake when THIS happened!" says Majoran. "It was unreal."

During the storm, faint auroras descended as far south as Michigan and Illinois in the USA. The display was caused by solar wind flowing through a crack that opened unexpectedly in Earth's magnetic field. Free: Aurora Alerts

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

A NEW HOLE IN THE SUN'S ATMOSPHERE: Get ready for more auroras. A new hole in the sun's atmosphere is turning toward Earth. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed the structure, shown here in a false-color UV image taken on Sept. 14th:

This is a "coronal hole"--a region where the sun's magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape. The interior of the hole is black because the hot glowing gas normally contained there is missing. It's on its way to Earth.

Minor G1-class geomagnetic storms are possible when the gaseous material arrives on Sept. 16th or 17th. Deepening autumn darkness will favor the visibility of auroras around the Arctic Circle and possibly at lower latitudes, too, if the storm intensifies to category G2. On Sept. 11th, a similar solar wind stream sparked a G2 storm with auroras over northern-tier US states such as Wisconsin and Minnesota. It could happen again in a few days. Free: Aurora Alerts

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

FLY ME TO THE MOONSTONE: Are you looking for a far-out gift? Nothing says "I love you" like a moonstone from the edge of space. On Jan 27th, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew this moonstone wrapped in a hand-crafted sterling silver Celtic love knot 35.1 km (115,158 feet) above Earth's surface:

You can have it for $179.95. The students are selling these pendants to support their cosmic ray ballooning program. Each one comes with a greeting card showing the item in flight and telling the story of its journey to the edge of space. All sales support the Earth to Sky Calculus cosmic ray ballooning program and hands-on STEM research.

Far Out Gifts: Earth to Sky Store
All sales 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 Sep. 10, 2018, the network reported 94 fireballs.
(89 sporadics, 4 September epsilon Perseids, 1)

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 September 14, 2018 there were 1923 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2018 RC
2018-Sep-09
0.6 LD
5.3
38
2018 RR5
2018-Sep-09
7.4 LD
5.2
21
2018 RD4
2018-Sep-09
2.3 LD
6
8
2018 RO5
2018-Sep-09
5.3 LD
7.1
30
2018 RE1
2018-Sep-10
11.1 LD
26
44
2018 RQ5
2018-Sep-10
15.1 LD
10.4
42
2018 RF2
2018-Sep-10
4 LD
10.9
10
2018 RH5
2018-Sep-10
13.4 LD
6.8
17
2018 RJ6
2018-Sep-10
13.3 LD
11.2
19
2018 RA1
2018-Sep-10
2.4 LD
10.1
19
2015 SW6
2018-Sep-11
9.2 LD
10.5
43
2018 QU1
2018-Sep-11
10.9 LD
12.5
104
2018 RP5
2018-Sep-11
4.3 LD
13.7
21
2018 RB1
2018-Sep-11
2.5 LD
8.1
10
2018 RD5
2018-Sep-12
4.4 LD
6.5
24
2018 RT5
2018-Sep-12
1.6 LD
9.3
24
2018 RR4
2018-Sep-12
3.2 LD
8.9
14
2018 RY5
2018-Sep-12
0.5 LD
23.7
19
2018 RZ5
2018-Sep-12
0.1 LD
20.2
4
2018 RA6
2018-Sep-12
4.7 LD
13
29
2018 RE3
2018-Sep-13
1.8 LD
10.3
13
2018 RF6
2018-Sep-14
13.2 LD
12.4
37
2018 RC4
2018-Sep-14
10.5 LD
8.1
25
2018 RE5
2018-Sep-15
1.5 LD
15.3
12
2018 RQ2
2018-Sep-15
9.8 LD
14.4
93
2018 RC1
2018-Sep-15
16.7 LD
2.2
20
2018 RB6
2018-Sep-16
1.5 LD
13.6
25
2018 RG5
2018-Sep-16
4.5 LD
8.3
14
2018 RA2
2018-Sep-16
8 LD
9.3
28
2018 RK6
2018-Sep-17
2.4 LD
6.4
8
2018 RQ4
2018-Sep-17
11.9 LD
7.8
15
2018 RM4
2018-Sep-18
11 LD
11.2
29
2018 RB4
2018-Sep-19
17.8 LD
3.6
14
2017 SL16
2018-Sep-20
8.5 LD
6.4
25
2018 RH6
2018-Sep-22
8.6 LD
6
12
2018 RQ1
2018-Sep-24
4.1 LD
3.1
54
2018 EB
2018-Oct-07
15.5 LD
15.1
155
2014 US7
2018-Oct-17
3.2 LD
8.7
19
2013 UG1
2018-Oct-18
10.4 LD
13.4
123
2016 GC221
2018-Oct-18
8.7 LD
14.4
39
475534
2018-Oct-29
7.5 LD
18.1
204
2002 VE68
2018-Nov-04
14.7 LD
8.6
282
2010 VQ
2018-Nov-07
15.6 LD
3.8
10
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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