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Solar wind
speed: 508.2 km/sec
density: 5.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2241 UT Oct08
24-hr: C1
1511 UT Oct08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 08 Oct 13
None of these sunspots poses a threat for strong flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 76
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 Oct 2013

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

08 Oct 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 112 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 08 Oct 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 5 storm
24-hr max: Kp= 5
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 17.1 nT
Bz: 10.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 08 Oct 13
Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole should reach Earth on Oct. 10-12. Credit: SDO/AIA. is now posting 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: 09-02-2013 11:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Oct 08 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2013 Oct 08 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
30 %
25 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
25 %
30 %
65 %
40 %
Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013
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

CME IMPACT, GEOMAGNETIC STORM: An interplanetary shock wave, possibly the leading edge of a CME, hit Earth's magnetic field on October 8th at approximately 2015 UT (1:15 pm PDT). The impact has sparked a minor (G1-class) geomagnetic storm that could intensify in the hours ahead. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

JUNO SPACECRAFT TO FLY BY EARTH: NASA's Juno spacecraft will slingshot past Earth on October 9th for a velocity boost en route to Jupiter. At closest approach the spacecraft will be only 347 miles above Earth's surface. This map shows the spacecraft's ground track:

During the flyby, Juno's science instruments will be activated to sample the Earth environment--a practice run for data-taking when the spacecraft reaches Jupiter in 2016. Despite the shutdown of the US government, "the flyby will continue as planned," says Juno principal investigator Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute. "The commands associated with our instruments were already on board before the shutdown."

To celebrate this event, the Juno team invites amateur radio operators around the world to say "HI" to Juno in a coordinated Morse Code message. Juno's radio and plasma wave experiment, called Waves, should be able to detect the message if enough people participate. Please join in, and help spread the word to fellow amateur radio enthusiasts.

The spacecraft will not be visible to the unaided eye. Estimates of its maximum brightness range from magnitude +7.5 to +8.5. Such a faint object moving rapidly across the sky will be a challenge for even large backyard telescopes. There is a slim chance, however, that sky watchers could see a "Juno flare" if sunlight glints off the spacecraft's large solar arrays. Anyone who successfully photographs the spacecraft is encouraged to submit their images.

PS: If you want to see a really bright spacecraft, download our Satellite Tracker app and check out the International Space Station.

GIANT PROMINENCE, GONE: At the end of the day on Oct. 7th, reports of a giant prominence emerging over the sun's northeastern limb began to come in from around the world. "It was huge and easily visible in my Lunt 80mm solar scope," says Paul Haese, who sends this picture from Glenalta, South Australia:

By the morning of Oct. 8th, the prominence was gone. The structure's magnetic underpinnings became unstable and erupted, flinging part of itself into space. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the blast: movie. A coronal mass ejection is now emerging from the blast site, but Earth is not in the line of fire.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

SUNSET PLANETS: The crescent Moon is gliding by Venus, forming a pretty duo in the sunset sky. Last night, Brian Emfinger photographed the two bright bodies over Little Rock, Arkansas:

"The Moon and Venus provided a excellent backdrop to the Little Rock skyline," says Emfinger.

It's going to happen again tonight. Venus and the Moon are so bright, they pop out of the twilight long before the sunset sky fades to black. If you go out to look, be alert for Earthshine--a ghostly glow illuminating the crescent's dark terrain. Earthshine is sunlight reflected from our own planet onto the Moon. A crescent Moon with Earthshine framed by twilight blue is one of the most beautiful sights in the heavens. Sky maps: Oct. 7, 8.

Realtime Sunset Photo Gallery

COMET ISON IN COLOR: Comet ISON is brightening as it approaches the sun. Estimates by experienced observers put the comet between 10th and 11th magnitude. That's too dim to see with the unaided eye, but bright enough for color photography through mid-sized backyard telescopes. Michael Jäger of Weißenkirchen, Austria, observed the comet on Oct. 5th and found that it was green:

To image the comet, Jäger combined multiple exposures through red, green, blue, ultraviolet and infrared filters. Details may be found here.

ISON's green color comes from the gases surrounding its icy nucleus. Jets spewing from the comet's core probably contain cyanogen (CN: a poisonous gas found in many comets) and diatomic carbon (C2). Both substances glow green when illuminated by sunlight in the near-vacuum of space.

Finding Comet ISON is easy. It rises alongside Mars in the eastern sky just before dawn. Amateur astronomers, if you have a GOTO telescope, enter these coordinates. Special dates of interest include Oct. 13-15 when Mars, Comet ISON, and the first magnitude star Regulus will be clustered in a patch of sky less than 3o apart. Red Mars and blue Regulus will form a beautiful naked eye "double star" in the early morning sky. Sky maps: Oct. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.

Realtime Comet ISON Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

  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 October 8, 2013 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2013 TR12
Oct 4
0.6 LD
8 m
2013 SU24
Oct 5
5.1 LD
49 m
2013 SC21
Oct 7
8.8 LD
45 m
2013 TO4
Oct 8
6.3 LD
38 m
2013 TX68
Oct 13
5.4 LD
38 m
2000 DK79
Nov 10
49.1 LD
3.0 km
2011 JY1
Nov 13
8.2 LD
57 m
2001 AV43
Nov 18
3 LD
52 m
2010 CL19
Nov 25
37.6 LD
1.3 km
2013 NJ
Nov 26
2.5 LD
190 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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