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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 410.8 km/sec
density: 3.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B3
1926 UT Nov12
24-hr: B8
0337 UT Nov12
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 12 Nov 15
None of these sunspots poses a threat for strong flares. Solar activity is low. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 64
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 12 Nov 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 12 Nov 2015

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 105 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 12 Nov 2015

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.4 nT
Bz: 1.9 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 12 Nov 15

Earth is exiting a stream of solar wind flowing from this northern coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA.
Noctilucent Clouds The northern season for NLCs is finished. According to NASA's AIM spacecraft, the last clouds were observed over Greenland on Aug. 27th. Now the waiting begins for the southern season expected to begin in November.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 09-01-2015 09:00:00
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2015 Nov 12 2210 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
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: 2015 Nov 12 2210 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
40 %
10 %
20 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
30 %
30 %
40 %
55 %
Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015
What's up in space

Marianne's Heaven On Earth Aurora Chaser Tours invites you to join them in their quest to find and photograph the Aurora Borealis. Experience the winter wonderland in the Tromsø Area.

Chase the Light Tours

MYSTERY OBJECT TO HIT EARTH ON FRIDAY THE 13TH: A piece of space junk named "WT1190F" is going to hit Earth on Nov. 13th (0620UT). It will burn up in the atmosphere off the coast of Sri Lanka, with some debris possibly reaching the water's surface. According to the European Space Agency, "its mass is not sufficient to cause any threat to the area, but the show will still be spectacular, since for a few seconds the object will become quite bright in the noon sky."

Earlier today, amateur astronomer Marco Langbroek photographed the mystery object using a 0.61-m Cassegrain telescope at Sierra Stars Observatory in Markleeville, California:

Astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell told Nature that "the object is only 1 to 2 metres in size, and its trajectory shows that it has a low density, and is perhaps hollow. That suggests an artificial object, 'a lost piece of space history that's come back to haunt us." At the moment, suspicions are focused on old Moon missions. For instance, it could be a spent rocket stage or lunar module from the Apollo program.

However, Langbroek notes that "it is not clear from which lunar mission this object is a relic: it could be from one of the American missions, but also Russian or Chinese. The object in question turns out to have been sporadically observed since 2009."

Perhaps the impact itself will provide some clues. Researchers from the European Space Agency will be observing the fireball. Stay tuned!

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

WAITING FOR THE CME: A CME expected to hit Earth's magnetic field on Nov. 11-12 has not yet arrived. This is a sign that forecast models over-estimated its velocity. A glancing-blow from the tardy storm cloud is still possible later today, Nov. 12-13, so high-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text or voice

Meanwhile in Alaska, the auroras are already active. Last night, "the whole sky was filed with green waves like a sea moving from right to left and back," says tour guide Marketa Murray who took this picture outside Fairbanks:

"The snow was reflecting amazing greens and purples," says Murray. "What a night!"

The display was caused by a stream of solar wind, which has been buffeting Earth's magnetic field ahead of the CME. Even without a CME impact, this kind of solar wind action is enough to spark geomagnetic activity and Northern Lights around the Arctic Circle. More examples may be found in the realtime photo gallery:

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

NOBEL ART EXHIBIT AT THE EDGE OF SPACE: In Barcelona, Spain, the 2015 World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates is about to begin. From Nov. 13th through 15th, dozens of Nobel Prize winners will gather to promote global peace and freedom. As they work, the laureates will be surrounded by hundreds of peace-themed paintings by young people. A preview of this unique exhibit was recently seen ... at the edge of space:

The top frame shows Dove of Peace, a painting by Aleksandra Manafova, 11, of St. Petersburg, Russia. The bottom frame displays Up with Peace, by Pace Academy freshman Caelan Corbally, 15, of Atlanta, Georgia. Both were flown to the stratosphere in October onboard an Earth to Sky Calculus research balloon.

Linden Longino, CEO of International Paint Pals, is organizing the Nobel Art exhibit, and he arranged to have these samples sent to the stratosphere.

"One hundred countries were invited to have children participate in the exhibition, and 83 said 'yes'--a phenomenal response," says Longino. "Out of 2,000 works of art we received, the best 166 (two from each country) were chosen to be displayed at the Nobel Summit. Of those, two were further selected for the Earth to Sky 'space exhibit' because of their relevance to flight and their 'uplifting' nature."

Longino's donation of $1000 to Earth to Sky Calculus not only propelled two fine pieces of art to the edge of space, but also allowed the students of Earth to Sky to continue their ongoing measurements of cosmic radiation in the stratosphere with two space weather balloon flights in October. Thank you, Linden!

Realtime Taurid Photo Gallery

Realtime Meteor 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 Nov. 12, 2015, the network reported 28 fireballs.
(20 sporadics, 8 Northern Taurids)

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 November 12, 2015 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2015 VT64
Nov 9
9.7 LD
26 m
2015 VM64
Nov 10
5.5 LD
26 m
2015 VH65
Nov 11
5.9 LD
11 m
2015 VR64
Nov 12
3 LD
13 m
2015 VU65
Nov 14
5.2 LD
26 m
2005 UL5
Nov 20
5.9 LD
390 m
2015 VE66
Nov 21
7.4 LD
60 m
2015 VH2
Nov 24
12.9 LD
15 m
2003 EB50
Nov 29
48.8 LD
2.2 km
2007 BG29
Dec 1
54.1 LD
1.1 km
1998 WT24
Dec 11
10.9 LD
1.1 km
2011 YD29
Dec 24
9.7 LD
24 m
2003 SD220
Dec 24
28.4 LD
1.8 km
2008 CM
Dec 29
22.8 LD
1.5 km
2004 MQ1
Jan 2
55.4 LD
1.1 km
1999 JV6
Jan 6
12.6 LD
410 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.
  Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere
Situation Report -- Oct. 30, 2015 Stratospheric Radiation (+37o N)
Cosmic ray levels are elevated (+6.1% above the Space Age median). The trend is flat. Cosmic ray levels have increased +0% in the past month.
Sept. 06: 4.14 uSv/hr (414 uRad/hr)
Sept. 12: 4.09 uSv/hr (409 uRad/hr)
Sept. 23: 4.12 uSv/hr (412 uRad/hr)
Sept. 25: 4.16 uSv/hr (416 uRad/hr)
Sept. 27: 4.13 uSv/hr (413 uRad/hr)
Oct. 11: 4.02 uSv/hr (402 uRad/hr)
Oct. 22: 4.11 uSv/hr (402 uRad/hr)
These measurements are based on regular space weather balloon flights: learn more.

Approximately once a week, and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly "space weather balloons" to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with radiation sensors that detect cosmic rays, a surprisingly "down to Earth" form of space weather. Cosmic rays can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. Our measurements show that someone flying back and forth across the continental USA, just once, can absorb as much ionizing radiation as 2 to 5 dental X-rays. Here is the data from our latest flight, Oct. 22nd:

Radiation levels peak at the entrance to the stratosphere in a broad region called the "Pfotzer Maximum." This peak is named after physicist George Pfotzer who discovered it using balloons and Geiger tubes in the 1930s. Radiation levels there are more than 80x sea level.

Note that the bottom of the Pfotzer Maximim is near 55,000 ft. This means that some high-flying aircraft are not far from the zone of maximum radiation. Indeed, according to the Oct 22th measurements, a plane flying at 45,000 feet is exposed to 2.79 uSv/hr. At that rate, a passenger would absorb about one dental X-ray's worth of radiation in about 5 hours.

The radiation sensors onboard our helium balloons detect X-rays and gamma-rays in the energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.

  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
Synergy Spray Foam Insulation of Houston TX
  Protection from the Sun!
  more links...
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