You are viewing the page for Jul. 6, 2015
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids Internet Shopping Sites high quality binoculars excellent weather stations all-metal reflector telescopes rotatable microscopes
Solar wind
speed: 483.5 km/sec
density: 3.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M1
2040 UT Jul06
24-hr: M1
2040 UT Jul06
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 06 Jul 15
Sunspot 2381 is growing rapidly and could soon pose a threat for strong flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 131
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 06 Jul 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%)

Updated 06 Jul 2015

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 117 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 06 Jul 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= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.4 nT
Bz: 0.5 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 06 Jul 15

Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA.
Noctilucent Clouds The northern season for NLCs is underway. NASA's AIM spacecraft spotted the first noctilucent clouds over the Arctic Circle on May 19th.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 07-06-2015 17:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2015 Jul 06 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
45 %
45 %
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: 2015 Jul 06 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
20 %
20 %
20 %
20 %
Monday, Jul. 6, 2015
What's up in space

Come to Tromsø and share Marianne's passion for rural photography: invites you to experience "Heaven on Earth" with an aurora, fjord, fishing, whale watching, photography or sightseeing tour.

Chase the Light Tours

FAST-GROWING SUNSPOT: During the past 48 hours, sunspot AR2381 has more than quadrupled in size. A movie from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the active region's rapid development:

Invisible only a few days go, AR2381 now has multiple dark cores larger than Earth, and the entire complex spans more than 100,000 km of solar "terrain." These dimensions make it an easy target for backyard solar telescopes.

If the sunspot's development proceeds apace, it could soon pose a threat for strong M-class solar flares. Stay tuned. Solar flare alerts: text or voice.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

RED SPRITES OVER EUROPE: As northern summer unfolds, electrical storms are rumbling across Europe. After nightfall, red sprites can be seen dancing across the cloudtops. Petr Horálek of Ustupky, Czech Republic, photographed these specimens on July 6th:

"There were strong convective thunderstorms visible from my observing site at the Seč reservoir," says Horálek. "I waited almost 3 hours--and finally the sprites appeared. I could see one of them with my naked eye even in strong moonlight."

"Sprites are a true space weather phenomenon," says lightning scientist Oscar van der Velde of the Technical University of Catalonia, Spain. "They develop in mid-air around 80 km altitude (the same altitude as noctilucent clouds and meteors). This happens when a fierce lightning bolt draws lots of charge from a cloud near Earth's surface. Electric fields [shoot] to the top of Earth's atmosphere--and the result is a sprite. The entire process takes about 20 milliseconds." Some researchers believe that cosmic rays play a role, too: subatomic particles from deep space strike the top of Earth's atmosphere, providing the "spark" that ignites this strange form of upward lightning.

Although sprites have been seen for at least a century, most scientists did not believe they existed until after 1989 when sprites were photographed by cameras onboard the space shuttle. Now "sprite chasers" routinely photograph sprites from their own homes. Give it a try!

Realtime Sprite Photo Gallery

CANADIAN WILDFIRE SEASON: "Minnesota has several unusual seasons: winter, mosquito, and road construction, to name a few," says Aaron Seefeld of Hastings, MN. "Over the last few years, another season has emerged - Canadian wildfire season. The skies turn grey and objects in the sky turn red, if they're visible at all." He photographed this smoke-reddened Moon on July 3rd:

"On the night of 3 July, a waning full Moon was masked by the smoke particles hanging in the air," says Seefel. "It was supposed to rise at 22:02 local time, but - despite 'clear' skies - didnt appear until close to 23:00. When it did start to emerge, it was deep red."

The smoke plumes from Canadian wildfires are so large and dense that NASA satellites have been photographing them from space. Here is an example from the Terra satellite on June 30th.

In addition to reddening the Moon, Canadian smoke is also dimming the sun, allowing big sunspots like AR2381 to pop into view at sunset. Charles Russell sends this report from Greenville, Michigan: "The thick smoke in the upper atmosphere as a result of the wildfires in Canada acted as a filter, which allowed me to see and capture this photo with clusters of sunspots clearly visible on the solar disk!"

"Canadian wildfire season" is affecting the skies of more than a dozen US states. Monitor the realtime photo gallery for more smokey sightings.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

SUMMER SPACE BREW: On June 27th, and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched a helium balloon to the stratosphere carrying an array of high-energy radiation sensors. The purpose of the flight was to monitor how the upper atmosphere is recovering from the intense geomagnetic storm of June 22-23. (Answer: It has recovered. The radiation environment in the stratosphere is back to normal.) These packets of brewer's yeast went along for the ride:

The yeast packets pictured above traveled 109,904 feet above Earth's surface. En route to the stratosphere, they experienced temperatures as low as -64 C and doses of ionizing radiation more than 50x Earth-normal. Conditions "up there" are akin to the planet Mars.

The test-tube-like object between the two yeast packets is a bubble chamber for measuring neutrons. The dose of neutron radiation measured during the flight was three times higher than the dose of ionizing radiation, amounting to more than 150x Earth-normal.

What kind of beer will these "space yeast" brew? You can find out for yourself. For only $49.95 we will send you a packet of brewer's yeast flown to the edge of space. The following varieties are available: Windsor English-style Ale, BRY-97 American West Coast Ale, Saflager 23, Safale US-05, Safbrew T-58, and Safbrew WB-06. To place your order, contact Dr. Tony Phillips. All proceeds support student research.

Realtime NLC 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. 6, 2015, the network reported 4 fireballs.
(4 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 6, 2015 there were 1594 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2015 MO116
Jul 7
4.9 LD
67 m
2005 VN5
Jul 7
12.6 LD
18 m
2015 HM10
Jul 7
1.1 LD
81 m
1994 AW1
Jul 15
25.3 LD
1.3 km
2011 UW158
Jul 19
6.4 LD
540 m
2013 BQ18
Jul 20
7.9 LD
38 m
1999 JD6
Jul 25
18.8 LD
1.6 km
2005 NZ6
Aug 6
76.5 LD
1.4 km
2005 JF21
Aug 16
20.1 LD
1.6 km
2004 BO41
Aug 31
57.3 LD
1.2 km
1991 CS
Sep 4
62.1 LD
1.4 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
Columbia Northern High School
  Web-based high school science course with free enrollment
  more links...
©2015 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
©2019 All rights reserved.