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Solar wind
speed: 416.0 km/sec
density: 4.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
2100 UT Sep02
24-hr: C3
1315 UT Sep02
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 02 Sept 14
Earth-facing sunspot AR2152 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 94
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 02 Sep 2014

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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%)

02 Sep 2014

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 127 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 02 Sep 2014

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: 5.0 nT
Bz: 2.2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 02 Sep 14
Solar wind flowing from this sprawling coronal hole could keep solar wind speeds elevated for the next 3 to 5 days. . Credit: SDO/AIA. posts 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: 09-02-2014 12:55:12
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2014 Sep 02 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
35 %
01 %
05 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2014 Sep 02 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
25 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
15 %
20 %
10 %
20 %
Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014
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

FILAMENT ERUPTION, POSSIBLY EARTH-DIRECTED: For days, amateur astronomers around the world have been monitoring an enormous filament of dark plasma snaking across the face of the sun. Today it erupted. A movie from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory seems to show debris from the blast hurtling in the general direction of Earth. Stay tuned for coronagraph data, which could confirm or refute an Earth-directed CME.

SIGNIFICANT FARSIDE FLARE: A sunspot located just behind the sun's northeastern limb exploded yesterday, Sept. 1st @ 1105 UT, producing "a significant solar flare," according to NOAA analysts. NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft, stationed over the farside of the sun, recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash.:

A fast CME emerged from the blast site traveling approximately 2000 km/s (4.5 million mph): movie. The flare also produced strong radio bursts and a farside solar proton storm. Only the intervening limb of the sun prevented potentially-strong Earth effects.

When flares occur on the Earthside of the sun, we classify them according to their X-ray intensity: C (weak), M (medium), or X (strong). Farside explosions, however, cannot be precisely classified because none of the spacecraft stationed over the farside of the sun are equipped with X-ray sensors. The appearance of the flare at UV wavelengths, plus other factors such as the CME and radiation storm, suggests that this was an X-class event.

Soon, the source of the explosion will reveal itself as solar rotation carries it up and over the sun's NE limb. Earth-directed solar activity could be just a few days away. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

NOCTILUCENT CLOUD SEASON ENDS: Data from NASA's AIM spacecraft suggest that the northern summer season for noctilucent clouds (NLCs) has ended. "We'll have to wait for the definitive processing to determine for certain the last day of the northern 2014 season, but I think it was probably 26 August," says AIM science team member Cora Randall of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder, CO. Click to view a video racap of the season:

NLCs are Earth's highest clouds. Seeded by "meteor smoke," they form at the edge of space 83 km above Earth's surface. When sunlight hits the tiny ice crystals that make up these clouds, they glow electric blue.

NLCs appear during summer because that is when water molecules are wafted up from the lower atmosphere to mix with the meteor smoke. That is also, ironically, when the upper atmosphere is coldest, allowing the ice crystals of NLCs to form. Because they are a summertime phenomenon, NLCs switch back and forth between the hemispheres--northern in May through August, southern in November through February.

The "noctilucent daisy" shown on will probably remain blank until November when NLC activity normally shifts to the southern hemisphere.  Stay tuned for more electric blue ... in a few months.

Realtime NLC Photo Gallery

RED SPRITES AND GREEN GRAVITY WAVES: As northern summer comes to a close, electrical storms are rumbling across the USA. After nightfall, red sprites can be seen dancing across the cloudtops. On Aug. 20th, Tom A. Warner photographed these specimens above New Underwood, South Dakota:

"On the night of Aug 20th, intense storms developed in north central South Dakota," says Warner. "Skies cleared out to the west and offered a chance to capture some sprites from the northern activity."

He saw not only sprites, but also green-glowing gravity waves. The waves are, literally, the ripple effect of a powerful thunderstorm on the mesosphere some 80 km above Earth's surface. From space, these waves look like a giant atmospheric bull's eye. From the ground, they appear to be green ripples in the sky, as shown in Warner's images.

Left to themselves, gravity waves would be invisible to the human eye. We see them, however, because they are colored green by an aurora-like phenomenon called "airglow." Airglow is caused by an assortment of chemical reactions in the upper atmosphere driven mainly by solar ultraviolet radiation. Gravity waves rippling away from the central axis of a thunderstorm cause temperature and density perturbations in the upper atmosphere. Speaking simplistically, those perturbations alter the chemical reaction rates of airglow, leading to more-bright or less-bright bands depending on whether the rates are boosted or diminished, respectively.

Inhabiting the upper reaches of Earth's atmosphere alongside meteors, noctilucent clouds and some auroras, sprites and mesospheric gravity waves are true space weather phenomena. Now is a good time to see them.

Realtime Sprite Photo Gallery

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora 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

On Sep. 2, 2014, the network reported 46 fireballs.
(40 sporadics, 3 alpha Aurigids, 3 Southern delta Aquariids)

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 September 2, 2014 there were 1496 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2014 QO295
Aug 31
4.7 LD
16 m
2014 RA
Aug 31
0.1 LD
8 m
2014 QL365
Sep 1
5.5 LD
17 m
2014 QT295
Sep 5
6.7 LD
28 m
2013 RZ53
Sep 9
1.9 LD
3 m
2002 CE26
Sep 9
47.9 LD
1.8 km
2009 RR
Sep 16
2 LD
34 m
2006 GQ2
Sep 19
65.9 LD
1.1 km
2009 FG19
Sep 26
34.6 LD
1.1 km
2014 NE52
Sep 30
61.2 LD
1.1 km
2001 EA16
Oct 7
35.5 LD
1.9 km
2011 TB4
Oct 9
5.8 LD
34 m
2003 UC20
Oct 31
52.4 LD
1.0 km
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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