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Solar wind
speed: 457.7 km/sec
density: 4.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
1733 UT Aug31
24-hr: C7
1211 UT Aug31
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 31 Aug 14
Sunspot AR2152 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 64
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 31 Aug 2014

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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%)

Update
31 Aug 2014

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 123 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 31 Aug 2014

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 4
unsettled
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.6 nT
Bz: 5.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 31 Aug 14
Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal holes should reach Earth on Sept. 1-2. Credit: SDO/AIA.

Spaceweather.com posts 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: 08-29-2014 13:55:11
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2014 Aug 31 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
20 %
20 %
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: 2014 Aug 31 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
15 %
MINOR
05 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
15 %
SEVERE
20 %
10 %
 
Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014
What's up in space
 

When is the best time to see auroras? Where is the best place to go? And how do you photograph them? These questions and more are answered in a new book, Northern Lights - a Guide, by Pal Brekke & Fredrik Broms.

 
Northern Lights - a Guide

EVENING PLANETS: Tonight, after sunset, step outside and look southwest. The Moon, Mars and Saturn have gathered in the constellation Libra, forming a pretty triangle of heavenly lights. It's a nice way to end the day. [sky map]

ARCTIC AURORAS: After a long, long summer day, Arctic skies are darkening again, and in the sunset observers are seeing rays of green in the twilight blue. Frank Olsen of Sortland, Norway, took this picture at sunset on Aug. 31st:

"I went out last night to catch the sunset--but mostly the auroras," says Olsen. "Even before it was dark, the Northern Lights made an appearance."

More lights are in the offing. NOAA forecasters estimate a 20% of polar geomagnetic storms during the next 24 hours. The odds of Arctic auroras are higher, however, because it doesn't take a full-fledged storm to turn the twilight green at polar latitudes. Now is a good time to book a tour. Aurora alerts: text, voice

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

RED SPRITES AND GREEN GRAVITY WAVES: As northern summer comes to a close, electrical storms are rumbling across the USA. After nightfall, red sprites can be seen dancing across the cloudtops. On Aug. 20th, Tom A. Warner photographed these specimens above New Underwood, South Dakota:

"On the night of Aug 20th, intense storms developed in north central South Dakota," says Warner. "Skies cleared out to the west and offered a chance to capture some sprites from the northern activity."

He saw not only sprites, but also green-glowing gravity waves. The waves are, literally, the ripple effect of a powerful thunderstorm on the mesosphere some 80 km above Earth's surface. From space, these waves look like a giant atmospheric bull's eye. From the ground, they appear to be green ripples in the sky, as shown in Warner's images.

Left to themselves, gravity waves would be invisible to the human eye. We see them, however, because they are colored green by an aurora-like phenomenon called "airglow." Airglow is caused by an assortment of chemical reactions in the upper atmosphere driven mainly by solar ultraviolet radiation. Gravity waves rippling away from the central axis of a thunderstorm cause temperature and density perturbations in the upper atmosphere. Speaking simplistically, those perturbations alter the chemical reaction rates of airglow, leading to more-bright or less-bright bands depending on whether the rates are boosted or diminished, respectively.

Inhabiting the upper reaches of Earth's atmosphere alongside meteors, noctilucent clouds and some auroras, sprites and mesospheric gravity waves are true space weather phenomena. Now is a good time to see them.

Realtime Sprite Photo Gallery

MARS COMET PASSES STAR CLUSTER: Comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1) is hurtling toward Mars for a near miss on Oct. 19, 2014. En route, a different near miss occured. On Aug. 28, the "Mars Comet" pass almost directly in front of globular star cluster NGC 362:

"I took the picture shortly after minimum separation between the two," says astrophotographer Damian Peach of Selsey, UK.

Less than two months from now the comet will reach Mars. Although the comet's nucleus will not strike the planet, gas and dust spewing out of the comet's core will likely interact with the Martian atmosphere. There could be a meteor shower, auroras, and other effects that no one can predict. NASA's fleet of Mars spacecraft and rovers will record whatever happens.

Amateur astronomers can monitor the comet's approach to Mars in the months ahead. Right now, Siding Spring is gliding through the southern constellation Tucana glowing about as brightly as a 11th magntitude star. Mid-sized telescopes such as the Comet Hunter equipped with CCD cameras should have no trouble picking it up. [light curve] [ephemeris] [3D orbit]

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery


Realtime Space Weather 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 Spaceweather.com.

On Aug. 31, 2014, the network reported 79 fireballs.
(77 sporadics, 1 alpha Aurigid, 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 August 31, 2014 there were 1496 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2014 QY33
Aug 30
6.5 LD
26 m
2014 QO295
Aug 31
4.7 LD
16 m
2014 QT295
Sep 5
6.7 LD
25 m
2013 RZ53
Sep 9
1.9 LD
3 m
2002 CE26
Sep 9
47.9 LD
1.8 km
2009 RR
Sep 16
2 LD
34 m
2006 GQ2
Sep 19
65.9 LD
1.1 km
2009 FG19
Sep 26
34.6 LD
1.1 km
2014 NE52
Sep 30
61.2 LD
1.1 km
2001 EA16
Oct 7
35.5 LD
1.9 km
2011 TB4
Oct 9
5.8 LD
34 m
2003 UC20
Oct 31
52.4 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.
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
Heliophysics
  the underlying science of space weather
Space Weather Alerts
   
  more links...
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