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Solar wind
speed: 458.3 km/sec
density: 2.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B7
2141 UT Oct09
24-hr: M2
0148 UT Oct09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Oct 13
Emerging sunspot AR1865 poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 99
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 09 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

09 Oct 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 112 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 09 Oct 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 5
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.7 nT
Bz: 1.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 09 Oct 13
Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole should reach Earth on Oct. 11-12. 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 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
25 %
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: 2013 Oct 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
20 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
30 %
15 %
40 %
05 %
Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013
What's up in space

When is the best time to see auroras? Where is the best place to go? And how do you photograph them? These questions and more are answered in a new book, Northern Lights - a Guide, by Pal Brekke & Fredrik Broms.

Northern Lights - a Guide

AN UPDATE FROM THE MOON: Earlier today, NASA's LADEE spacecraft completed a successful firing of its main engine to adjust its orbit around the Moon. This follows an earlier burn on Oct. 6th that put the spacecraft into lunar orbit in the first place. LADEE is now in a 4 hour elliptic orbit, with the perilune (low point) at the desired altitude for commissioning. A final burn is scheduled for Oct. 12th, which will settle the spacecraft into the commissioning orbit. LADEE is on a mission to study the Moon's exotic atmosphere, which is mightily affected by space weather.

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 sparked a G1-class geomagnetic storm (subsiding) and bright auroras around the Arctic Circle. Harald Albrigtsen sends this picture from Tromsø, Norway:

"This is a 10s exposure at ISO 1600," he says. Novice aurora photographers who wish to take similar pictures may find more photo settings here.

Earth is passing through the wake of the CME where a region of high-speed solar wind continues to buffet our planet's magnetic field. NOAA forecasters, who suspect that a second CME might arrive on Oct. 9th, estimate a 65% chance of polar geomagnetic storms during the next 24 hours. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

M-CLASS SOLAR FLARE: Solar activity is picking up. New sunspot AR1865 erupted this morning (Oct. 9th at 01:48 UT), producing the strongest solar flare in nearly two months. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the M2.8-class eruption: movie. Earth was not in the line of fire, but future eruptions could be geoeffective as the sunspot turns toward our planet in the days ahead. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

JUNO SPACECRAFT BUZZES EARTH TODAY: NASA's Juno spacecraft will slingshot past Earth today, October 9th, for a velocity boost en route to Jupiter. At closest approach (19:21 UT, 12:21 PDT) 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.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

GREEN COMET ISON: Comet ISON is brightening as it approaches the sun. At the moment it is glowing like a 10th magnitude star, too dim for naked eye viewing but an easy target for many telescopes on Earth. "This is what the comet looked like on Oct. 8th using the 0.8m (32 inch) Schulman Telescope," reports Adam Block from the University of Arizona Skycenter atop Mount Lemmon:

ISON's green color comes from the gases surrounding its icy nucleus. Jets spewing from the comet's core 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.

"I am certain more images of Comet ISON will be coming out shortly as it increases in brightness during its dive towards the Sun," adds Block. "Here is hoping it survives that rendezvous on Nov. 28th and emerges as something spectacular on the other side!"

Although the comet is very faint, finding it is easy. Comet ISON 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. 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 9, 2013 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
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
39 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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