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Solar wind
speed: 457.1 km/sec
density: 1.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B6
1703 UT Sep01
24-hr: C1
1420 UT Sep01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 01 Sep 13
Sunspot AR1836 poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 60
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 01 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

01 Sep 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 108 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 01 Sep 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.1 nT
Bz: 1.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 31 Aug 13
Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Aug. 31-Sept. 1. 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: 09-01-2013 11:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Sep 01 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
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 01 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
10 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
30 %
15 %
45 %
10 %
Sunday, Sep. 1, 2013
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

SPACE FENCE DISCONTINUED: The US Air Force Space Surveillance Radar or "Space Fence" has stopped transmitting. "It appears they pulled the plug at 00:00 UT (6 am Local MDT) on September 1st," reports engineer Stan Nelson, who has been monitoring the radar using an antenna in Roswell, New Mexico. The shutdown is a result of sequester budget cuts by the US Congress. The radar's final echoes came from a Russian satellite and a sporadic meteor.

GEOMAGNETIC UNREST: Earth's polar magnetic field is unsettled as our planet enters a stream of fast (~500 km/s) solar wind. The encounter is sparking the first auroras of September. This morning in Fairbanks, Alaska, photographer Ronn Murry snapped this aurora-selfie:

"It's been a long summer waiting for the auroras, but finally after months of Midnight Sun, in the early hours September 1st, the clouds and daylight gave way to the first great display of the season as we traveled back to Fairbanks, Alaska from the Arctic Circle," says Murray. "The Ice Road was muddy but the fall colors were beautiful including those in the sky!"

More auroras are in the offing. NOAA forecasters estimate a 70% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Sept. 1st when a CME (movie) is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

SWx EXPERIMENT IN RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT: In March 2012, a group of high school students in Bishop, California, used a helium balloon to launch a pair of medical radiation badges to the edge of space. The goal of their experiment was to measure high-altitude radiation levels during a solar proton storm, which was underway at the time of the flight. Usually such experiments are published in academic journals, but this time Ripley's Believe it or Not! took an interest. Why? Because the students pinned the radiation badges to a rubber chicken:

Camilla the Rubber Chicken, formerly of NASA, crewed the suborbital capsule and wore the radiation badges on a hand-knit spacesuit. She reached an altitude of 128,000 feet, withstanding temperatures as low as -63o C and air pressures as little as 1% sea level during the nearly three hour flight. More information about the flight may be found on page 235 of Dare to Look!, Ripley's latest hardbound volume available from (Note: The same picture was selected by Time magazine as one of the most surprising photos of 2012.)

The students, who call themselves Earth to Sky Calculus, are still doing space weather research. Recent and ongoing experiments include payloads to measure the effect of solar flares on the ozone layer and to assess the ability of microbes to withstand radiation storms. You can follow their activities on Facebook and Twitter.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

MAJOR FIREBALL EVENT, UPGRADED (AGAIN): NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office has upgraded its estimates of a major fireball that exploded over the southeastern USA around 2:30 AM on August 28th. Lead researcher Bill Cooke says "the fireball reached a peak apparent magnitude of -16, about 20 times brighter than a Full Moon, and cast shadows on the ground. This indicates that the meteoroid had a mass of more than 110 kg (240 lbs) and was up to a meter in diameter. It hit the top of Earth's atmosphere traveling 25 km/s (56,000 mph)." Watch the movie, then read more about the fireball below:

"This is the brightest event our network has observed in 5 years of operation," he continues. "There are reports of sonic booms reaching the ground, and data from 4 doppler radars indicate that some meteorites may have fallen along the fireball's ground track." (Note: The city in the ground track map is Cleveland, Tennessee, not Cleveland, Ohio.)

An initial calculation of the fireball's orbit suggested it might be a fragment from a Jupiter family comet. Improved estimates of the orbital parameters point to a different kind of object: a main belt asteroid. If meteorites are recovered from the Tennessee countryside, their chemical composition will tell researchers more about the origin of the fireball.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

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

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

  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 1, 2013 there were 1423 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2013 QR1
Aug 25
8.2 LD
215 m
2002 JR9
Aug 31
63.5 LD
1.4 km
2013 QE16
Sep 5
8.2 LD
21 m
2000 DK79
Nov 10
49.1 LD
3.2 km
2011 JY1
Nov 13
8.2 LD
57 m
2001 AV43
Nov 18
2.9 LD
58 m
2010 CL19
Nov 25
37.6 LD
1.3 km
2013 NJ
Nov 26
2.5 LD
180 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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