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Solar wind
speed: 467.5 km/sec
density: 3.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
2028 UT Aug09
24-hr: C2
2028 UT Aug09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Aug 13
Sunspot AR1813 has a beta-gamma magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 90
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 09 Aug 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

09 Aug 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 104 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 09 Aug 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.9 nT
Bz: 2.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 09 Aug 13
A coronal hole is emerging over the sun's NE limb. 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: 08-09-2013 14:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Aug 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
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 Aug 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
40 %
20 %
20 %
05 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
25 %
25 %
60 %
60 %
Friday, Aug. 9, 2013
What's up in space

They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store.

Own your own meteorite

CHANCE OF STORMS: NOAA forecastesrs estimate a 60% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on August 10th when one and perhaps two CMEs are expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. The incoming clouds were propelled from the sun by a flurry of erupting magnetic filaments on Aug. 6-7. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

PERSEID EARTHGRAZER: Last night a bright meteor skimmed the top of Earth's atmosphere over rural New Mexico, passing almost directly above the private observatory of amateur astronomer Thomas Ashcraft. Wide-field cameras and radio receivers captured the flight of this Perseid earthgrazer:

Play the movie again and listen to the soundtrack. The eerie-sounding echoes are caused by terrestrial TV signals bouncing off the meteor's ionized trail. "In the radio meteor community, Perseids are known as 'blue whizzers' due to their fast speed and zinging radio reflections," notes Ashcraft.

More Earthgrazers are in the offing. Every night, Earth is plunging deeper into the debris stream of comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. The best time to look for earthgrazers is between 9:30 and 10:30 pm local time as the shower's radiant climbs over the northeastern horizon. That's when the geometry favors meteoroids skimming across the top of the atmosphere like a stone skipping across the surface of a pond. Earthgrazers are slow and colorful. (Regular non-Earthgrazing Perseids, on the other hand, are best seen after midnight.)

Forecasters expect the 2013 Perseid meteor shower to peak on the nights of August 12-13 with as many as ~100 meteors per hour. Stay tuned!

Realtime Meteor Photo Gallery

SPACE CHASE (Updated): On August 3rd, Japan launched a robotic spacecraft, the HTV-4, to re-supply the International Space Station (ISS). Last night, Larry Sloss saw the HTV-4 in hot pursuit of the ISS in the twilight skies over Priest Lake, Idaho:

"The HTV-4 was trailing the ISS by just 3 seconds," says Sloss.

Many observers noted "HTV-4 flares" this week. Apparently sunlight is glinting off a flat surface of the spacecraft, briefly raising its luminosity to match that of the much larger ISS. Sloss saw one too: "In the image, a brief, bright flare from the HTV-4 is slightly offset from the ISS trail."

HTV-4 has an interesting payload. Among the 5.4 tons of food, spare parts, and other supplies are Kirobo, a talking robot to join the crew of the ISS, and Firestation, an experiment to study mysterious Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes. Update: The HTV-4 docked to the space station at 11:38 EDT on Friday, Aug. 9th. Unloading has commenced.

Turn your smartphone into a field-tested ISS tracker: Download the Simple Flybys App.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

SPRITES AND JETS OVER OKLAHOMA CITY: High above Earth in the realm of meteors and noctilucent clouds, a strange form of lightning dances at the edge of space. Researchers call the bolts "sprites," and they are as beautiful as they are mysterious. Jason Ahrns, a graduate student from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, photographed a cluster of bright red sprites over Oklahoma City on August 6th. Click on the arrow to view a rare high-speed movie of the phenomenon:

"I normally study auroras," says Ahrns, "but I've become involved in sprites as a side interest." At the time of the photo, Ahrns was flying onboard a Gulfstream V operated by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). "We try to get off to the side of sprite-producing storms, ideally about 200 km away, and film them with a couple of Phantom cameras running at 10,000 frames per second. One of the Phantoms has a diffraction grating in front of it to capture high speed spectra, which I don't think has ever been done before."

"We've also managed to record a few sprites over a lightning mapping array so we can identify the exact lightning strike that caused the sprite," he continues. "This has also never done before, and should provide insight into what type of lightning causes sprites."

"Lately," says Ahrns, "I've begun slipping my personal camera into a spare window of the airplane, and the results have been so impressive that we're planning to make a dSLR (digital camera) a regular part of future campaigns. On August 3rd I recorded some blue jets over Oklahoma city; I believe these are the first blue jets recorded by an ordinary dSLR." More tales of sprite-chasing may be found on Ahrns' personal blog.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]

Realtime Comet 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 August 9, 2013 there were 1397 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2013 PJ10
Aug 4
1 LD
49 m
2005 WK4
Aug 9
8.1 LD
420 m
2013 PS13
Aug 9
0.5 LD
14 m
1999 CF9
Aug 23
24.7 LD
1.1 km
2002 JR9
Aug 31
63.5 LD
1.4 km
2013 PX6
Sep 21
69.8 LD
1.0 km
1992 SL
Sep 23
70 LD
1.1 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
Space Weather Alerts
  more links...
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