Listen to radar echoes from satellites and meteors, live on listener-supported Space Weather Radio.
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INCOMING CMEs: A pair of CMEs that left the sun on April 1st and 2nd have probably merged and will deliver a combined glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field late on April 4th. NOAA forecasters estimate a 50% chance of geomagnetic storms in reponse to the impact. High-latitude sky watchers should Aurora alerts: text, voice
THREE EXPLOSIONS: Yesterday, during the late hours of April 3rd, three active regions on the sun exploded in quick succession. Play the movie, then consider the question: Was that three explosions, or just one? (continued below)
Visually, the rapid-fire explosions appear to be causally linked, and indeed they might have been. Since 2010, when SDO was launched, solar physicists have increasingly appreciated the interconnectedness of explosions on the sun. SDO's full-disk view has shown that magnetic instabilities can hop from one sunspot to another, propagating hundreds of thousands of kilometers to cause chain reactions on a titanic scale. The Global Eruption of August 2010 is the iconic example.
When eruptions are as big as this, it's hard for Earth to stay out of the line of fire. Watch the movie again. Material hurled away from the rightmost blast site could form the basis of a CME that reaches Earth in a few days. Stay tuned for updates about this possibility. Solar flare alerts: text, voice
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
DAYLIGHT REQUIRED: In the night sky, there are thousands of stars visible to the unaided eye, and thousands of times more stars in range of backyard optics. Not a single one of those faraway balls of fire, however, looks any bigger than a pinprick. For a better view of a star, you need some daylight:
This star is the sun. Francois Rouviere of Mougins, France, took the picture on March 31st using no more than a 7-inch refracting telescope and an "H-alpha" filter tuned to the red glow of solar hydrogen.
"I caught this impressive explosion at the sun's western limb near sunspot AR2014," says Rouviere. "The inset, which is at a wavelength 1 Å shorter than H-alpha, shows fast moving material blue-shifted by the Doppler effect."
Got a solar telescope? NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of M-class flares and a 5% chance of X-flares on April 4th. Train those optics on the daylight sky. Solar flare alerts: text, voice
Note: Always use safe solar filters when observing the sun. Unfiltered sunlight, focused by optics, can cause serious eye damage.
Realtime Mars Photo Gallery
Realtime Comet Photo Gallery
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
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 Spaceweather.com.
On Apr. 2, 2014, 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 April 4, 2014 there were 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 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.
| ||The official U.S. government space weather bureau |
| ||The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena. |
| ||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 |
| ||Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO. |
| ||from the NOAA Space Environment Center |
| ||the underlying science of space weather |