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Solar wind
speed: 305.6 km/sec
density: 3.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C4
1439 UT Jul04
24-hr: C4
1439 UT Jul04
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 04 Jul 14
Big sunspots AR2104 and AR2107 have "beta-gamma" magnetic fields that harbor energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 179
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 Jul 2014

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2014 total: 0 days (0%)
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%)

04 Jul 2014

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 169 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 04 Jul 2014

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 1.6 nT
Bz: 0.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 04 Jul 14
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. 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: 07-04-2014 12:55:05
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2014 Jul 04 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
60 %
60 %
10 %
10 %
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 Jul 04 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
20 %
20 %
20 %
20 %
Friday, Jul. 4, 2014
What's up in space

Listen to radar echoes from satellites and meteors, live on listener-supported Space Weather Radio.

Spaceweather Radio is on the air

INCREASING CHANCE OF FLARES: NOAA forecasters have boosted the odds of an M-class solar flare today to 60%. There are two sunspots capable of producing such flares, AR2104 and AR2107, and both are turning toward Earth. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

NOCTILUCENT OUTBURST: Sky watchers in Europe are reporting an outburst of bright noctilucent clouds (NLCs). The display began at sunset on July 3rd, filling northern horizons with electric-blue ripples, swirls, and tendrils of light. Morten Ross sends this picture from Sandbukta, Norway:

"An incredibly bright and widespread display - from northern horizon to zenith!" says Ross. "This is only the third night of July and its already much better than last year." Similar reports have come from France, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Scotland, Ireland, England, Estonia and Belgium.

Although most of the reports so far have come from Europe, the nights ahead could bring NLCs to North America as well. Monitor the realtime gallery for updates:

Realtime NLC Photo Gallery

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.

The natural habitat of noctilucent clouds is the Arctic Circle. In recent years, however, they have spread to lower latitudes with sightings as far south as Utah and Colorado. This will likely happen in 2014 as well. Observing tips: Look west 30 to 60 minutes after sunset when the Sun has dipped 6o to 16o below the horizon. If you see luminous blue-white tendrils spreading across the sky, you may have spotted a noctilucent cloud.

MONSTER ASTEROIDS CONVERGE: The two most massive objects in the asteroid belt, dwarf planet Ceres and minor planet Vesta, are converging for a close encounter in the night sky on July 4th and 5th. Last night in Italy, Gianluca Masi used a remotely operated telescope to photograph the monster asteroids only 13 arcminutes apart--less than half the width of a full Moon. The line splitting the two is a terrestrial satellite:

At closest approach on July 5th, the two asteroids will be only 10 arcminutes apart in the constellation Virgo. They are too dim to see with the unaided eye, but easy targets for binoculars and small telescopes. Observing tips are available from Sky and Telescope.

Got clouds? You can watch the close encounter online. Choose between Gianluca Masi's Virtual Telescope Project (which begins July 5th at 4:00 p.m. EDT) or Slooh's webcast (July 3rd at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time).

Quite near the two asteroids on the sky, though utterly invisible, is NASA's Dawn spacecraft. Dawn recently finished visiting Vesta and is now en route to Ceres. The ion-propelled spacecraft will enter orbit around Ceres next March. Cameras on Dawn will resolve the pinprick of light you see this weekend into a full-fledged world of unknown wonders. Stay tuned for that!

Realtime Space Weather 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 Jul. 4, 2014, the network reported 12 fireballs.
( 12 sporadics)

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 July 4, 2014 there were 1487 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2014 MV18
Jun 30
7.2 LD
80 m
2014 MJ26
Jul 2
9.7 LD
47 m
2013 AG69
Jul 8
2.7 LD
15 m
2014 MF6
Jul 9
9.1 LD
305 m
2011 PU1
Jul 17
7.9 LD
43 m
2002 JN97
Aug 2
61.4 LD
2.0 km
2001 RZ11
Aug 17
34.2 LD
2.2 km
2013 WT67
Aug 17
16.1 LD
1.1 km
2013 RZ53
Sep 9
1.9 LD
3 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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