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Solar wind
speed: 298.5 km/sec
density: 1.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B4
2252 UT Sep27
24-hr: B6
1133 UT Sep27
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 27 Sep 13
None of these sunspots poses a threat for strong flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 63
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 Sep 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

27 Sep 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 110 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 27 Sep 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: 2.3 nT
Bz: 1.3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 27 Sep 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 Sep 27 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
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: 2013 Sep 27 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
20 %
15 %
20 %
05 %
10 %
Friday, Sep. 27, 2013
What's up in space

They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store.

Own your own meteorite

WEAK MAX: The weakest Solar Max in 100 years continues today with another 24 hours of quiet. None of the sunspots on the Earthside of the sun are actively flaring. NOAA forecasters estimate a scant 5% chance of M-class solar flares. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

EQUINOX AURORAS: For reasons reseachers don't fully understand, auroras love equinoxes. At this time of year, even small gusts of solar wind can spark colorful lights around the poles. Just hours ago, these green auroras appeared over Kvaløya Island near Tromsø, Norway:

"Because of the nice and warm north Scandinavian autumn, no lakes and ponds are frozen this year," says photographer Anne Birgitte Fyhn. "So tonight Venus, Castor and Pollux accompanied the auroras reflecting in this little lake."

The solar wind blowing past Earth today is relatively slow, only ~300 km/s. As a result, NOAA forecasters estimate a slim 10% chance of polar geomagnetic storms over the weekend. That might be enough, however, for more equinox auroras. Stay tuned. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

iPHONE PHOTO OF CHINESE SPACE STATION: On Sept. 25th, China's experimental Tiangong-1 space station passed directly in front of the sun over Arizona. Mike Weasner held his iPhone 5s up to the eyepiece of a solar-filtered 8" telescope and captured this picture of the spit-second transit:

"The Tiangong-1 space station is about 10 meters by 3 meters in size and was 510.4 kilometers from my observatory at the time of the transit," says Weasner. "The angular diameter of the station was only 4.4 arcsec. Yes, that's small!"

Weasner used CalSky to predict the moment of transit. "I began slo-mo video recording with the iOS 7 Camera app on the iPhone 5s at 095015 MST and continued it for one minute to ensure that I captured the space station," he says. "The Tiangong-1 was successfully imaged on several frames as it crossed the sun's disk."

Most readers are familiar with the 450-ton International Space Station. Fewer may be aware of China's 8.5-ton Tiangong-1 (Heavenly Palace-1). It was launched in Sept. 2011 to establish a foothold in Earth orbit for China's fledgling space program. Since then taikonauts (Chinese astronauts) have visited the Tiangong-1 to practice rendevous and docking procedures and to train for living in space. According to some reports, the Tiangong-1 will be de-orbited in late 2013 to make way for more advanced experimental stations, Tiangong-2 and Tiangong-3 in the years ahead. Ultimately, China hopes to place an Mir-class station in orbit by 2020.

See the Tiangong-1 before it goes! Spaceweather's Simple Flybys app turns your smartphone into a field-tested space station tracker. It works for both the ISS and the Tiangong-1.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

COMET ISON ON TRACK TO BECOME 'IMPRESSIVE': Amateur astronomers around the world are photographing Comet ISON as it approaches Mars in the predawn sky. The comet is not as bright as some forecasters expected. What does that mean for ISON's future prospects? The answer may be found below this color photo of the comet obtained by UK astronomer Damian Peach on Sept. 24th:

Photo details: 17" CDK with FLI-PL6303e camera. LRGB. L: 5x3mins. RGB: 1x2mins. Sun -18 to -14deg.

At the moment, Comet ISON is about as bright as a 14th magnitude star, which puts it one or two magnitudes dimmer than forecasts. Nevertheless, according to several experts speaking in a NASA video, Comet ISON is still on track to become an impressive sungrazer. John Bortle predicts ISON will rival Venus during the hours leading up to its closest approach to the Sun in November, while Matthew Knight notes that Comet ISON is brighter than Comet Lovejoy was at the same distance from the sun in 2011. As many readers remember, Comet Lovejoy went on to become a spectacular naked-eye object. Comet ISON might do the same.

New images of the comet are coming in every day. Browse the gallery for the latest views:

Realtime Comet ISON Photo Gallery

Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]

  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 27, 2013 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2013 SP19
Sep 21
1.8 LD
7 m
2013 SK20
Sep 29
2.3 LD
15 m
2000 DK79
Nov 10
49.1 LD
3.0 km
2011 JY1
Nov 13
8.2 LD
57 m
2001 AV43
Nov 18
3 LD
52 m
2010 CL19
Nov 25
37.6 LD
1.3 km
2013 NJ
Nov 26
2.5 LD
190 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...
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