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Solar wind
speed: 358.9 km/sec
density: 1.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2130 UT Nov18
24-hr: C7
1415 UT Nov18
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 18 Nov 13
Sunspots AR1897, AR1899 and AR1900 have 'beta-gamma' magnetic fields that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 282
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 18 Nov 2013

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

18 Nov 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 177 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 18 Nov 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.6 nT
Bz: 0.3 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 18 Nov 13
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA. is now posting daily satellite images of noctilucent clouds (NLCs), which hover over Earth's poles at the edge of space. The data come from NASA's AIM spacecraft. The north polar "daisy" pictured below is a composite of near-realtime images from AIM assembled by researchers at the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP).
Noctilucent Clouds
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 09-02-2013 11:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Nov 18 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
40 %
05 %
05 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2013 Nov 18 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
20 %
20 %
10 %
10 %
Monday, Nov. 18, 2013
What's up in space

Listen to radar echoes from satellites and meteors, live on listener-supported Space Weather Radio.

Spaceweather Radio is on the air

MARS PROBE LAUNCHED: Four billion years ago, Mars was on track to become an Earth-like world with a thick atmosphere and abundant water. Now it is an apparently lifeless wasteland. Earlier today NASA launched a probe named MAVEN designed to answer the question, what went wrong? The spacecraft is due to reach Mars in Sept. 2014.

COMET ISON'S SUPER TAIL: Comet's ISON's recent outburst of activity has done more than simply brighten the comet. Whatever exploded from the comet's core also created a spectacularly-long tail, more than 16 million kilometers from end to end. Scroll down to see the full extent of Comet ISON as photographed on Nov. 17th by Michael Jäger of Ebenwaldhöhe, Austria:

"The tail of the comet stretches more than 7o across the sky," says Jäger. It's almost as wide as the bowl of the Big Dipper.

Physically, ISON's tail is about 12 times wider than the sun. So, when the head of ISON plunges into the sun's atmosphere on Nov. 28th, more than 15 million kilometers of the comet's tail will still be jutting into space behind it.

Because so much gas and dust is spewing from the comet's core, it is impossible to see clearly what caused Comet ISON's outburst on Nov. 13-14. One possibility is that fresh veins of ice are opening up in the comet's nucleus, vaporizing furiously as ISON approaches the sun. Another possibility is that the nucleus has completely fragmented.

"If so, it will still be several days before we know for sure," says Karl Battams, an astronomer with NASA's Comet ISON Observing Campaign. "When comet nuclei fall apart, it’s not like a shrapnel-laden explosion. Instead, the chunks slowly drift apart at slightly different speeds. Given that ISON’s nucleus is shrouded in such a tremendous volume of light-scattering dust and gas right now, it will be almost impossible to determine this for at least a few days and perhaps not until the comet reaches the field of view of NASA's STEREO HI-1A instrument on November 21, 2013. We will have to wait for the chunks to drift apart a sufficient distance, assuming they don't crumble first."

Monitoring is encouraged. Comet ISON rises in the east just before the sun. Amateur astronomers, if you have a GOTO telescope, enter these coordinates. Dates of special interest include Nov. 17th and 18th when the comet will pass the bright star Spica, making ISON extra-easy to find. Sky maps: Nov. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.

Realtime Comet ISON Photo Gallery
Ephemerides: Comet ISON, Comet Lovejoy, Comet Encke, Comet LINEAR X1

MEANWHILE ON THE SUN: Three sunspot groups (AR1897, AR1899, and AR1900) have 'beta-gamma' magnetic fields that harbor energy for M-class solar flares. The three potential flare sites are circled in this Nov. 18th image taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:

All three sunspot groups are facing Earth, more or less, so any eruptions today would likely be geoeffective. NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of M-class flares and a 15% chance of X-flares on Nov. 18th. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

Realtime Comet ISON 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

On Nov. 17, 2013, the network reported 15 fireballs.
(9 sporadics, 3 Leonids, 3 Northern Taurids)

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 November 18, 2013 there were 1439 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 JY1
Nov 14
6.7 LD
54 m
2001 AV43
Nov 18
3 LD
52 m
2013 VK13
Nov 19
8.1 LD
26 m
2010 CL19
Nov 25
37.6 LD
1.3 km
2013 NJ
Nov 26
2.5 LD
190 m
2011 YD29
Dec 28
6.1 LD
24 m
2007 SJ
Jan 21
18.9 LD
1.9 km
2012 BX34
Jan 28
9.6 LD
13 m
2006 DP14
Feb 10
6.2 LD
730 m
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.
  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.
  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
  the underlying science of space weather
Space Weather Alerts
  more links...
©2010 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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