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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 385.7 km/sec
density: 6.5 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A2
2103 UT Aug30
24-hr: A5
0102 UT Aug30
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 30 Aug 18
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 30 Aug 2018

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 1 day
2018 total: 133 days (55%)
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 30 Aug 2018


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 71 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 30 Aug 2018

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.5 nT
Bz: 0.7 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2348 UT
Coronal Holes: 30 Aug 18

There are no large equatorial coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA
Noctilucent Clouds The season for noctilucent clouds in he northern hemisphere is underway. Check here daily for the latest images from NASA's AIM spacecraft.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 08-30-2018 12:55:02
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2018 Aug 30 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 Aug 30 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
20 %
SEVERE
20 %
15 %
 
Thursday, Aug. 30, 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!

 

SOLAR MINIMUM CONDITIONS ARE IN EFFECT: The sun is spotless again. For the 133rd day this year, the face of the sun is blank.To find a year with fewer sunspots, you have to go back to 2009 when the sun was experiencing the deepest solar minimum in a century. Solar minimum has returned, bringing extra cosmic rays, long-lasting holes in the sun's atmosphere, and strangely pink auroras. Free: Aurora Alerts.

LIGHTNING AND AURORAS: You don't see this every day--at least, not in Indiana. On Sunday morning, Aug. 26th, Hongming Zheng trained his camera on an electrical storm passing through West Lafayette. Just as a lightning bolt jumped across a gap in the clouds, a patch of green appeared in the background:

"It was the aurora borealis," says Zheng. "I took the picture around 3:33am as an unexpected geomagnetic storm brought Northern Lights down to Indiana--a rare sight at 40°N. Unfortunately, a full moon washed out most of the aurora. Otherwise it would have been a spectacular green and red glow against a black sky."

The geomagnetic storm started on Aug. 25th when a coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth's magnetic field, opening a crack in our planet's magnetosphere. Solar wind poured in to fuel auroras seen from the Arctic Circle to Indiana.  Not bad for solar minimum.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

RARE ICE HALOS OVER SYDNEY: Today something unusual happened in the sky above Sydney, Australia. The rising sun was preceded by a network of luminous curls, circles and arches. "It was a very rare display," says Adriano Massatani who photographed the sunrise:

These luminous forms are called ice halos, because they caused by sunlight shining through icy crystals in cirrus clouds. Usually ice halos are simple, like a solitary pillar or an uncomplicated ring. In this case, however, a complex assortment of halos criss-crossed the sky. In Massatani's photo, we see a circumzenithal arc, an upper tangent arc, an upper suncave Parry arc, a 22-degree halo, a 46 degree halo, a supralateral arc,  and a pair of sundogs.

That's not all. "Later, I also saw a complete parhelic circle--something I have been hoping to see for years," says Massatani.

The variety of halos Massatani witnessed was caused by a corresponding variety of ice crystals with rare gem-like perfection and unusually precise crystal-to-crystal alignment. What are the odds? No one knows. Certainly, though, it was a lucky day in Sydney.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

IRIDESCENT SPACE PYRAMID: Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been traveling around the world launching cosmic ray balloons to map Earth's radiation field. This runs up a big helium bill. To help pay it, we sent this iridescent crystal pyramid to the stratosphere:

You can have it for $149.95. The students are selling this pyramid and several others like it to fund the Earth to Sky ballooning program. Each one comes with a greeting card showing the pyramid in flight and telling the story of its journey to the edge of space. All sales support hands-on STEM research.

Far Out Gifts: Earth to Sky Store
All sales support hands-on STEM education


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. 30, 2018, the network reported 18 fireballs.
(18 sporadics)

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 30, 2018 there were 1912 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2018 QH1
2018-Aug-27
13.2 LD
12.5
27
2018 LQ2
2018-Aug-27
9.4 LD
1.5
39
2016 GK135
2018-Aug-28
16.8 LD
2.8
9
2016 NF23
2018-Aug-29
13.2 LD
9
93
1998 SD9
2018-Aug-29
4.2 LD
10.7
51
2018 DE1
2018-Aug-30
15.2 LD
6.5
28
2001 RQ17
2018-Sep-02
19.3 LD
8.3
107
2015 FP118
2018-Sep-03
12.3 LD
9.8
490
2018 QA
2018-Sep-03
17.5 LD
20.4
73
2017 SL16
2018-Sep-20
8.5 LD
6.4
25
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
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

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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