Spotless Days Current Stretch: 0 days
2022 total: 1 day (<1%)
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 29 Sep 2022
Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 15.14x1010W Neutral
Max: 49.4x1010 W Hot (10/1957)
Min: 2.05x1010 W Cold (02/2009) explanation | more data:gfx, txt
Updated 29 Sep 2022
Cosmic RaysSolar 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: +1.1% Elevated
48-hr change: -0.1%
Max: +11.7% Very High (12/2009)
Min: -32.1% Very Low (06/1991) explanation |more data
Updated 29 Sep 2022 @ 1700 UT
Geomagnetic Storms: Probabilities for significant
disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor
Updated at: 2022 Sep 28 2200 UTC
Thursday, Sep. 29, 2022
What's up in space
Never miss another geomagnetic storm. Sign up for Space Weather Alerts and you'll receive a text message when magnetic storms erupt. Aurora tour guides and professional astronomers use this service. You can, too!
GEOMAGNETIC STORM WATCH (G2 CLASS): NOAA forecasters say that G2-class geomagnetic storms are possible on Oct. 1st in response to a double blow: (1) A solar wind stream is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field; it is flowing from an equatorial hole in the sun's atmosphere. (2) A CME will pass very close to Earth, potentially grazing our planet; it left the sun on Sept. 28th. Stay tuned! Aurora alerts:SMS Text
MID-LATITUDE AURORAS: With NOAA predicting a G2-class geomagnetic storm for Oct. 1st, it is worth reviewing what happened during the last G2-class storm. Auroras descended into the United States as far south as Missouri:
"I was out shooting deep space objects with my telescope on Sept. 27th when my little brother noticed something way up in the sky," says photographer Tyler Schlitt of Washington, MO. "It looked like Starlink satellites. So we rushed to grab the camera, which to my surprise revealed auroras here at latitude 38 degrees."
The circumstances were much the same as what NOAA is predicting for Oct. 1st: A nearby, grazing CME and some fast-moving solar wind. Although G2-class storms are merely moderate, not strong, they can produce mid-latitude auroras that are easy to catch using off-the-shelf digital cameras with night sky exposure settings.
HUBBLE IMAGES OF ASTEROID IMPACT: When NASA's DART spacecraft slammed into asteroid Dimorphos on Sept. 26th, almost every telescope in the Solar System was watching. Here is what Hubble saw:
In these visible-light images, the asteroid tripled in brightness after DART struck. The glow remained steady for more than eight hours after impact. Some of the rays of ejecta appear to be curved, but astronomers need to take a closer look to confirm that the curvature is real and, if so, what it could mean.
Hubble plans to monitor the Didymos-Dimorphos binary system 10 more times over the next three weeks. These regular, relatively long-term observations as the ejecta cloud expands and fades will paint a more complete picture of DART's aftermath.
STERLING SILVER HUMMINGBIRD PENDANT: This hummingbird has touched space. On Sept. 22, 2022, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched the sterling silver pendant to the stratosphere onboard a cosmic ray research balloon, more than 117,710 feet high:
You can have it for $149.95. The students are selling hummingbird pendants to pay the helium bill for their cosmic ray ballooning program. Each one comes with a greeting card showing the bird and red lily in flight, and telling the story of their trip to the stratosphere and back again.
JUNO JUST BUZZED EUROPA: NASA's Juno spacecraft just made the closest flyby of Jupiter's moon Europa in more than 20 years. On Thursday, Sept. 29th, at 5:36 a.m. EDT, Juno came within 222 miles of Europa's icy surface, taking pictures with a resolution of only 0.6 miles per pixel. Juno couldn't actually see life in Europa's oceans, but the flyby could help NASA decide where future missions should look.
Above: An example of chaos terrain on Europa, photographed by NASA's Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s.
Europa is one of the most interesting places in the solar system. Since Voyager 2 flew past the moon in 1979, evidence has mounted that Europa's icy surface overlies an enormous saltwater ocean--twice the volume of Earth's oceans combined. In 1989, NASA dispatched the Galileo spacecraft to investigate. Galileo buzzed Europa repeatedly, seeing "chaos terrain" where rafts of ice had seemingly broken free and re-frozen. Researchers suspected that water from beneath the surface must be breaking through from time to time. Indeed, in 2012 the Hubble Space Telescope found evidence (later confirmed by Keck) that Europa may be venting plumes of water vapor into space. Such plumes could lead back to a habitat for life.
During the flyby "Juno imaged an area of chaos terrain called 'Annwn Regio,'" says Candice Hansen, lead scientist for JunoCam at the Planetary Science Institute. "We will be on the lookout for anything different [since Galileo visited in the 90s] because such a find would be very exciting!"
Juno's instruments can sense plumes of water vapor if the spacecraft is lucky enough to fly through one. "We would have to be at the right place at just the right time, but if we are so fortunate, it’s a home run for sure," says Scott Bolton, Juno's Principal Investigator at the Southwest Research Institute.
Depending on the availability of the Deep Space Network, first images from the flyby could be available before the weekend. Stay tuned!
Every night, a network
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 Sep 29, 2022, the network reported 9 fireballs.
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]
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 29, 2022 there were 2298 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Notes: LD means
"Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance
between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256
Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere
SPACE WEATHER BALLOON DATA: Almost 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 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 (July 2022): Atmospheric radiation is decreasing in 2022. Our latest measurements in July 2022 registered a 6-year low:
What's going on? Ironically, the radiation drop is caused by increasing solar activity. Solar Cycle 25 has roared to life faster than forecasters expected. The sun's strengthening and increasingly tangled magnetic field repels cosmic rays from deep space. In addition, solar coronal mass ejections (CMEs) sweep aside cosmic rays, causing sharp reductions called "Forbush Decreases." The two effects blend together to bring daily radiation levels down.
.Who cares? Cosmic rays are a surprisingly "down to Earth" form of space weather. They can alter the chemistry of the atmosphere, 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. A number of controversial studies (#1, #2, #3, #4) go even further, linking 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 graph labeled "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.
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