Solar wind
speed: 489.9 km/sec
density: 6.8 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2010 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B8
1617 UT Jan27
24-hr: C1
1223 UT Jan27
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2015 UT
Daily Sun: 27 Jan 22
Expand: labels | no labels
New sunspot AR2938 is crackling with C-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 71
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 Jan 2022

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2022 total: 0 days (0%)
2021 total: 64 days (18%)
2020 total: 208 days (57%)
2019 total: 281 days (77%)
2018 total: 221 days (61%)
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 27 Jan 2022

Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 9.42
x1010 W Cool
Max: 49.4
x1010 W Hot (10/1957)
Min: 2.05
x1010 W Cold (02/2009)
explanation | more data: gfx, txt
Updated 26 Jan 2022

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 102 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 27 Jan 2022

Cosmic Rays Solar Cycle 25 is beginning, and this is reflected in the number of cosmic rays entering Earth's atmosphere. Neutron counts from the University of Oulu's Sodankyla Geophysical Observatory show that cosmic rays reaching Earth are slowly declining--a result of the yin-yang relationship between the solar cycle and cosmic rays.

Oulu Neutron Counts

Percentages of the Space Age average:
today: +7.3% High
48-hr change: -0.8%
Max: +11.7% Very High
Min: -32.1% Very Low (06/1991)
explanation | more data
Updated 27 Jan 2022 @ 0700 UT

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: 4.9 nT
Bz: 2.7 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2010 UT
Coronal Holes: 27 Jan 22

Solar wind flowing from this minor coronal hole should reach Earth on Jan 29-30
. Credit: SDO/AIA

Noctilucent Clouds The southern hemisphere season for noctilucent clouds has begun. NASA's AIM spacecraft detected the first electric-blue puffs over Antarctica on Dec. 14th.
Switch view: Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula, East Antarctica, Polar
Updated at:
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2022 Jan 26 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
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: 2022 Jan 26 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
20 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
25 %
25 %
20 %
25 %
Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022
What's up in space

Lights Over Lapland has a full catalogue of exciting adventures in Abisko National Park, Sweden! Check out our daytime and evening activities and book your adventure!


CO-ROTATING INTERACTION REGION: A co-rotating interaction region (CIR) could hit Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 29th, according to NOAA forecasters. CIRs are transition zones between slow- and fast-moving streams of solar wind. They contain shock waves and compressed magnetic fields that often do a good job sparking auroras. Think of them as mini-CMEs. If this one arrives as predicted, Arctic sky watchers might witness an outburst of lights this weekend. Aurora alerts: SMS Text.

NOCTILUCENT OUTBURST--CONTINUED: Did the Tonga volcano cause an outburst of noctilucent clouds (NLCs)? The jury's still out. However, new data from NASA's AIM spacecraft confirm that something happened in the mesosphere. This 8-day movie shows NLCs blooming around the South Pole after the volcano erupted:

NLCs are Earth’s highest clouds. They form when water vapor rises up from Earth to the edge of space where H2O molecules can stick to specks of meteor dust. NLCs are, literally, frosted meteor smoke.

On Jan. 15th, the Tonga volcano blasted a plume of ash, sulfurous aerosols and water vapor more than 55 km high, only 30 km below where NLCs form. In the days that followed the eruption, natural upwelling may have carried water vapor the rest of the way to the noctilucent zone.

Data from NASA’s Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) show that weather in the mesosphere (where NLCs are found) did indeed change days after the eruption. Temperatures dropped, and water vapor increased:

Both changes boost noctilucent clouds. But was Tonga responsible? We still don't know. Researchers are looking through the data in search of a direct link. Stay tuned.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Free: Newsletter

AURORA SURPRISE: A co-rotating interaction region (CIR) hit Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 25th. The impact sparked an unexpected display of auroras over Iceland. "A magnificent arch began glowing from east to west," reports Christopher Mathews from Hraunborg (near Reykjavík). "Soon it split into multiple streamers and lit up the night!"

"This was an unexpected treat and a reminder that the aurora can put on a show when you least expect it!" says Mathews.

CIRs are transition zones between slow- and fast-moving solar wind streams. They often contain shock waves that do a good job sparking auroras. CIRs are also notoriously difficult to predict--hence the surprise.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Free: Newsletter

"I LOVE YOU MORE" MOONSTONE PENDANT: Valentine's Day is coming! Nothing says "I love you" like a moonstone from space. This one hitched a ride on an Earth to Sky Calculus cosmic ray research balloon, floating 112,201 feet above the Sierra Nevada mountains of central California:

You can have it for $142.95. The students are selling these sterling silver infinity-wrapped moonstone pendants to support their ballooning program. Engraved with "I Love You More," it makes a romantic Valentine's gift. Each one comes with a greeting card showing the moonstone in flight and telling the story of its trip to the stratosphere and back again.

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

  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 Jan 26, 2022, the network reported 6 fireballs.
(6 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 January 27, 2022 there were 2255 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2022 BR1
11.1 LD
2022 BN
0.2 LD
2022 BU
10.2 LD
2022 BT
0.3 LD
2022 BO1
1.9 LD
2017 XC62
18.7 LD
2022 BF
1.3 LD
2022 BB
2.2 LD
2022 BD1
0.5 LD
2021 BZ
17.6 LD
2022 AN5
10.2 LD
2022 BP1
6.2 LD
2022 AG6
7.6 LD
2022 BB1
9.7 LD
2022 BY
15.6 LD
2022 BF1
6.2 LD
2022 AA
6.6 LD
2018 CA1
9.8 LD
2022 AV4
19.2 LD
2007 UY1
13.9 LD
2020 DF
12 LD
2018 CW2
2.2 LD
2020 CX1
7.2 LD
14 LD
2017 CX1
15.2 LD
2016 QJ44
19.6 LD
2021 QO2
20 LD
2020 UO4
18.5 LD
12.8 LD
2021 UL7
11.5 LD
2020 DC
3.9 LD
2021 EY1
10.1 LD
2015 DR215
17.5 LD
2018 GY
11.9 LD
2016 FZ12
2.2 LD
2020 SQ
2.8 LD
2013 BO76
13.3 LD
2011 GE3
7.6 LD
2012 FX35
13.7 LD
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: Almost once a week, and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly space weather balloons to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with sensors that detect secondary cosmic rays, a form of radiation from space that can penetrate all the way down to Earth's surface. Our monitoring program has been underway without interruption for 7 years, resulting in a unique dataset of in situ atmospheric measurements.

Latest results (Nov. 2021): Our balloons have just measured a sudden drop in atmospheric radiation. It happened during the strong geomagnetic storms of Nov. 3-4, 2021. Here are the data:

This is called a "Forbush decrease," named after American physicist Scott Forbush who studied cosmic rays in the early 20th century.  It happens when a CME from the sun sweeps past Earth and literally pushes cosmic rays away from our planet. Radiation from deep space that would normally pepper Earth's upper atmosphere is briefly wiped out.

We have measured Forbush decreases before. For example, here's one from Sept. 2014. The Forbush Decrease of Nov. 3-4, 2021, was the deepest in the history of our 7-year atmospheric monitoring program. Radiation levels in the stratosphere over California dropped nearly 20%, more than doubling the previous record from our dataset. 

En route to the stratosphere, our sensors also pass through aviation altitudes, so we can sample radiation where planes fly. This plot shows how the Forbush decrease was restricted to the stratosphere; it did not affect lower levels of the atmosphere:

The dose rates shown above are expressed 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 higher you fly, the more radiation you will absorb.

.Who cares? Cosmic rays are a surprisingly "down to Earth" form of space weather. They can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. According to a study from the Harvard T.H. Chan school of public health, crews of aircraft have higher rates of cancer than the general population. The researchers listed cosmic rays, irregular sleep habits, and chemical contaminants as leading risk factors. Somewhat more controversial studies (#1, #2, #3, #4) link cosmic rays with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.

.Technical notes: 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.

Data points in the first graph ("Stratospheric Radiation") correspond to the peak of the Regener-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 Regener and Georg Pfotzer discovered the maximum using balloons in the 1930s and it is what we are measuring today.

  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.
  information about sunspots based on the latest NOAA/USAF Active Region Summary
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
  the underlying science of space weather

To get the best views of the cosmos, check out the Phoenix Window Glass Replacement experts for all your window and glass needs

To get an up close view of the heavenly bodies surrounding Earth, think about selling your junk car for cash and buying a high quality telescope. welcomes these supporters of science communication: RV Sales and Arizona SEO and Arizona Business Directory and C8 Corvette | Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyer | Phoenix SEO
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NASA Near Earth Asteroid Home Page

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