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Solar wind
speed: 579.1 km/sec
density: 2.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2348 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2005 UT Aug01
24-hr: C1
2005 UT Aug01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 01 Aug 15
Sunspot AR2390 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Like all the other sunspots on the solar disk, however, it is quiet. Solar activity remains low. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 71
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 01 Aug 2015

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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 01 Aug 2015

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 101 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 01 Aug 2015

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.4 nT
Bz: 1.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2348 UT
Coronal Holes: 01 Aug 15

There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
Noctilucent Clouds The northern season for NLCs is underway. NASA's AIM spacecraft spotted the first noctilucent clouds over the Arctic Circle on May 19th.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 08-01-2015 15:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2015 Aug 01 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
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: 2015 Aug 01 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
20 %
30 %
30 %
30 %
25 %
Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015
What's up in space

Come to Tromsø and share Marianne's passion for rural photography: invites you to experience "Heaven on Earth" with an aurora, fjord, fishing, whale watching, photography or sightseeing tour.

Chase the Light Tours

CONTINUED CHANCE OF STORMS: For the second day in a row, a high-speed stream of solar wind is buffeting Earth's magnetic field. NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance that this could cause a polar geomagnetic storm on August 1st. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text or voice.

WHAT COLOR WAS THE BLUE MOON? Last night, sky watchers around the world witnessed the second full Moon of July. According to modern folklore, it was a "Blue Moon." So much for folklore. In most places, the rising Moon turned red:

Bill Metallinos sends this picture from Corfu, Greece. "The amber-colored Blue Moon rose behind the the Fortress of San Marco while little Constantina, my niece, waved hello to us with her mother and father," he says.

Many people think Moons cannot turn blue. In fact, ash from volcanoes can do the trick. Volcanic aerosols of just the right size, about 1 micron in diameter, scatter all the red out of moonlight and turn the lunar disk blue.

More often, however, the Moon turns red. It happens for the same reason that sunsets are red.  The everyday atmosphere is full of aerosols much smaller than the ones injected by volcanoes. These aerosols scatter blue light, while leaving the red behind.

A red Blue Moon? It may sound absurd, but that's what Blue Moons are all about. Browse the realtime photo gallery for more examples:

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

NEUTRONS ON A PLANE: Want to experience space weather? It's easy. Just step onboard an airplane. Recently, and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been monitoring cosmic radiation levels in the cabins of commercial jets. Measurements of X-rays and gamma-rays show that travelers absorb the equivalent of one or more dental X-rays on a typical flight across the USA. But X-rays and gamma-rays represent only a fraction of the total radiation evnvironment. On July 23, 2015, for the first time, they carried a neutron bubble chamber onboard. Here is what the chamber looked like at the end of a 5 hour flight from Boston to Las Vegas:

The bubbles are formed by neutrons passing through the chamber while the plane is in flight. By counting the bubbles, it is possible to estimate the total dose of neutron radiation. The answer, for this particular flight, was 1240 microRads (energy range 200 keV - 15 MeV).

How does this compare to ionizing radiation? We carried X-ray and gamma-ray sensors onboard the same plane. They accumulated a lesser dose of 860 microRads (energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV).

Lesson: When characterizing the radiation environment inside an airplane, neutrons are at least as important as X-rays and gamma-rays.

We can also compare these dose rates to what you would typically absorb on the ground. According to the NRC, the annual dose rate for cosmic rays at sea level is 26,000 microRads (26 mrem). So, in five hours (the duration of our cross-country flight), a person on the ground could expect to absorb 15 microRads of cosmic rays. On the plane we were exposed to at least 140 times that amount.

Stay tuned for updates as we continue our measurements from balloons and commercial jets.


Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

Realtime Sprite Photo Gallery

Realtime NLC 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 Aug. 1, 2015, the network reported 32 fireballs.
(17 sporadics, 5 Perseids, 5 alpha Capricornids, 4 Southern delta Aquariids, 1 Northern delta 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 August 1, 2015 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2005 NZ6
Aug 6
76.5 LD
1.4 km
2005 JF21
Aug 16
20.1 LD
1.6 km
2004 BO41
Aug 31
57.3 LD
1.2 km
1991 CS
Sep 4
62.1 LD
1.4 km
2014 KS76
Sep 14
8.7 LD
22 m
2004 TR12
Sep 15
58.8 LD
1.0 km
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
Columbia Northern High School
  Web-based high school science course with free enrollment
  more links...
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