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Solar wind
speed: 435.4 km/sec
density: 6.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1708 UT Dec05
24-hr: M1
1225 UT Dec05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 05 Dec 14
Earth-facing sunspot AR2222 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 137
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 05 Dec 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%)

Update 05 Dec

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 158 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 05 Dec 2014

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.3 nT
Bz: 1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2348 UT
Coronal Holes: 05 Dec 14
Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on Dec. 8-9. 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: 12-04-2014 11:55:03
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2014 Dec 05 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
40 %
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: 2014 Dec 05 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
25 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
25 %
30 %
20 %
30 %
Friday, Dec. 5, 2014
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

CONGRATULATIONS TO NASA: NASA's new Orion spacecraft, designed to carry astronauts to Mars and beyond, has splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. Today's successful test flight took the spacecraft more than 10 times higher than the International Space Station. Orion circled Earth twice and passed through the inner Van Allen Radiation Belt--a challenging test for any spacecraft. Check NASA's Orion blog for post-flight briefings and more.

ELLIPTICAL MOON HALOS: Luminous halos around the Moon are not unusual. Ice crystals in the air catch moonbeams and bend them into circular rings. On Dec. 3rd, however, Sophie Melanson of Moncton, NB, Canada, witnessed a Moon halo that was not circular, but rather elliptical:

"I was driving to my Intro to Photography class when I noticed this beautiful bright halo around the Moon," says Melanson. "I've seen moon halos many times before, but never this shape. Glad I was able to capture it and share!"

Although physicists have been studying ice halos for decades, not all are understood. "Elliptical halos are one of the puzzles," says atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. " We can simulate them by invoking hexagonal plate-like crystals topped by almost flat pyramid faces.  However, the simulations do not fit very well and such crystals are unphysical. Crystal facets like to form along planes where there are lots of atoms or molecules – almost flat pyramids do not fit the bill at all.    Perhaps some peculiar distorted snowflake types instead?"

Whatever causes these elliptical halos, they are beautiful, and more could be in the offing. The Moon is waxing full this week, reaching peak brightness on Dec. 6. Bright moonlight can reveal rare halos that often go unnoticed--elliptical and otherwise. Sky watchers are encouraged to look around the Moon in the nights ahead.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

M6-CLASS SOLAR FLARE: The magnetic canopy of sunspot AR2222 erupted on Dec. 4th at 18:25 UT, producing an M6-class solar flare. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the explosion's extreme ultraviolet flash:

The explosion did not hurl a CME into space, so Earth-effects of the blast were limited to a brief HF radio blackout around the western hemisphere. NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of additional M-flares during the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

THE RETURN OF THE EVENING STAR: For the past two months Venus has been passing behind the sun. Now the second planet is emerging from the glare, setting the stage for The Return of the Evening Star. Yesterday in Spain, the astrophotography group Project Nightflight spotted the silvery light of Venus beaming through the Atlantic sunset:

"Venus is beginning a new evening apparition," says Project Nightflight. "After sunset it is very low in the sky and sets quickly. To catch a glimpse of the Evening Star, you will need crisp skies and an unobstructed view of the western horizon. A pair of binoculars will help spot it."

"Visibility will improve during the weeks ahead," they add. "By the end of December, Venus should be plainly visible even from mid northern latitudes."

A date of particular interest is Dec. 22nd when a super-slender 2% crescent Moon will pass Venus in the evening twilight. Astrophotographers, ready your cameras!

Realtime NLC Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

Realtime Comet 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 Dec. 5, 2014, the network reported 10 fireballs.
(5 sporadics, 3 sigma Hydrids, 1 Quadrantid, 1 Geminid)

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 December 5, 2014 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2014 WD366
Dec 1
8.3 LD
14 m
2014 WO365
Dec 1
3.2 LD
26 m
2014 WC201
Dec 2
1.4 LD
27 m
2014 WB366
Dec 5
8 LD
50 m
2014 WY365
Dec 6
8.8 LD
30 m
2014 WX202
Dec 7
1 LD
5 m
2014 WC366
Dec 9
4.2 LD
39 m
2014 WU200
Dec 10
1.2 LD
7 m
2014 UV210
Dec 13
7.2 LD
21 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
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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