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Solar wind
speed: 441.4 km/sec
density: 6.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2349 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2223 UT Jan03
24-hr: M1
0947 UT Jan03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 03 Jan 15
Growing sunspot AR2253 has a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 113
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 03 Jan 2015

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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%)

Update 03 Jan 2015

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 146 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 03 Jan 2015

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 5
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.8 nT
Bz: 0.1 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2348 UT
Coronal Holes: 03 Jan 15
Solar wind flowing from this large coronal hole will sail mostly south of Earth, but a glancing blow from the stream could spark auroras on Jan. 3-4. Credit: SDO/AIA.
Noctilucent Clouds As of Nov. 22, 2014, the season for southern hemisphere noctilucent clouds is underway. The south polar "daisy" pictured below is a composite of near-realtime images from NASA's AIM spacecraft.
Switch view: Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctic Penninsula, East Antarctica, Polar
Updated at: 01-03-2015 09:55:04
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2015 Jan 03 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
30 %
05 %
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: 2015 Jan 03 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
30 %
15 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
30 %
30 %
40 %
40 %
Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015
What's up in space

Learn to photograph Northern Lights like a pro. Sign up for Peter Rosen's Aurora Photo Courses in Abisko National Park.

Lapland tours

WEEKEND METEOR SHOWER: The annual Quadrantid meteor shower, caused by debris from shattered comet 2003 EH1, peaks on Sunday, January 4th. Because the debris stream is narrow, the shower is expected to be brief, producing a surge of 50 to 100 meteors per hour around 0400 Universal Time. The timing of the peak and the location of the shower's radiant favor observers in northern Europe. No matter where you live, you can listen for Quadrantid echoes from Spaceweather's live meteor radar.

SUNSPOT SUNSET: Only a few days ago, sunspot AR2253 did not exist. Now the fast-growing active region is wider than the planet Jupiter. Yesterday, flying high above London, pilot Brian Whittaker photographed the behemoth sunspot as a blemish on the sunset:

"Clear skies over London, England, gave a great sunset with sunspots detectable," says Whittaker, who took the picture from the cockpit. "I checked the latest image of the sun from the Solar Dynamics Observatory on, and found that the main 'blemish' corresponded perfectly to AR2253."

AR2253 has been mostly quiet since it first appeared at the end of 2014. However, this could be the calm before the storm. The rapidly growing sunspot has an unstable 'delta-class' magnetic field that harbors energy for powerful X-class solar flares. Any such eruption this weekend would be Earth-directed. Solar Flare alerts: text, voice

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

THE INCREDIBLE TAIL OF COMET LOVEJOY: Warning: Looking at this picture might cause you to buy a telescope. Ready? Here is bright Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2), photographed by amateur astronomer Gerald Rhemann on Dec. 23rd:

To capture the image, Rhemann used a 12-inch remotely controlled telescope in Namibia. Lovejoy's sinuous blue tail was so long (more than 6 degrees of arc) he couldn't fit it into a single field of view. "I had to combine six frames," he says. In fact, it is even too big for this web page. Click on the truncated tail, above, to see the whole thing.

He took the picture more than a week ago. The comet is significantly brighter now. Observers around the world are saying they can see it with the unaided eye from dark sky sites. The comet is shining like a 5th magnitude star, and is expected to double in brightness by mid-January. To the naked eye, it looks like a green fuzzball. Mid-sized backyard telescopes reveal the comet's magnificent blue tail.

Observers should look for the comet passing through the constellation Lepus south of Orion. Consult these finder charts from Sky & Telescope. For accurate pointing of telescopes, an ephemeris from the Minor Planet Center is available.

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 Jan. 3, 2015, the network reported 13 fireballs.
(11 sporadics, 2 Quadrantids)

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 3, 2015 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2014 YC42
Dec 30
4.2 LD
46 m
2014 YE15
Dec 30
2.9 LD
10 m
2014 YD15
Dec 31
1.6 LD
19 m
2014 YE42
Jan 3
4.3 LD
94 m
2014 YP34
Jan 4
8.8 LD
27 m
2007 EJ
Jan 12
68.9 LD
1.1 km
1991 VE
Jan 17
40.6 LD
1.0 km
2004 BL86
Jan 26
3.1 LD
650 m
2008 CQ
Jan 31
4.8 LD
36 m
2000 EE14
Feb 27
72.5 LD
1.6 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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