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Solar wind
speed: 697.8 km/sec
density: 1.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M1
2151 UT Jan13
24-hr: M1
2151 UT Jan13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 13 Jan 14
Decaying and departing, sunspot AR1944 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 118
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 Jan 2014

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2014 total: 0 days (0%)
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%)

13 Jan 2014

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 155 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 13 Jan 2014

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.3 nT
Bz: 4.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 13 Jan 14
Earth is inside a stream of solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA. posts 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: 01-12-2014 10:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2014 Jan 13 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
50 %
10 %
15 %
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: 2014 Jan 13 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
Monday, Jan. 13, 2014
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

JUPITER AND THE MOON: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look east. The waxing full Moon is approaching Jupiter for a close encounter on Jan. 14th. The two brightest objects in the evening sky are easy to see even from urban areas with strong light pollution. Backyard astronomy alerts: text, voice.

FAST SOLAR WIND: Blowing with gusts as fast as 800 km/s (1.8 million mph), a stream of solar wind is buffeting Earth's magnetic field. Because the density of the stream is so low, it is not causing strong geomagnetic storms. Nevertheless, some bright auroras have appeared around the Arctic Circle:

Asko Aikkila sends this picture from Kuusamo, Finland. "Last night when I was going to sleep, I looked through the bedroom window and saw silent auroras dancing in the moon light. I snapped the picture right through the window. It was a very pleasant way to experience the Northern Lights."

Arctic sky watchers should remain alert for auroras on Jan. 13-14 as the solar wind continues to blow. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

CYGNUS AND THE ISS: On Jan. 12th, a robotic arm on the ISS reached out and snagged another spaceship--Orbital Sciences Corporation's Cygnus cargo carrier. Cygnus reached the ISS on time despite a launch delay last Wednesday caused by stormy space weather. The docking on Sunday morning at 8:05 am EST marked the first successful contracted cargo delivery by Orbital Sciences.

Only five hours before docking, the two spacecraft flew over the Netherlands where veteran satellite observer Marco Langbroek was waiting with his camera to take this picture:

"The Cygnus cargoship was too faint to be seen by the naked eye for most of the pass, but around 5:57:05 UTC it briefly flared to mag +2 and the close duo ISS-Cygnus was suddenly and briefly well visible as a result," says Langbroek. "This picture shows the moment when the Cygnus flared."

Cygnus delivered almost 2800 lbs of equipment and crew supplies to the space station. This includes dozens of new science experiments including 23 designed by students. One newly arrived investigation will study the behavior of ants in microgravity. Another will probe the decreased effectiveness of antibiotics during spaceflight--a possible problem for astronauts on long space journeys. Yet another will explore how different materials burn in microgravity to improve fire safety in future spacecraft. More information is available from NASA.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

SPACE WEATHER BALLOON UPDATE: The payload of a space weather balloon launched Jan. 8th by the students of Earth to Sky Calculus has been recovered from its landing site in Death Valley National Park. The purpose of the flight was to study a solar radiation storm in progress at the time of the launch. Analyzing the data will take a few days. Meanwhile, here is the view from the stratosphere:

These pictures were taken by a pair of Hero3+ cameras looking out of the payload capsule. The upper frame shows the Sierra Nevada mountain range, unusually brown for this time of year as California endures a historic drought. The lower frame captures the balloon popping at an altitude of approximately 100,000 feet. Click on each frame for a closer look. The landscape shot was made using the Hero3+'s new "superview mode"--a favorite of snowboarders and now, for the first time, balloonists!

Update: Here are some more images from tthe flight: A sundog over Owens Valley, Death Valley from the Edge of Space, Coyote Flats.

In addition to cameras, the payload contained an x-ray/gamma-ray dosimeter, a GPS altimeter, and a cryogenic thermometer. Together these instruments can form a complete thermal and radiation profile of the atmosphere throughout the flight. The students plan to pay special attention to data collected at aviation altitudes to learn how much radiation air travelers absorb during periods of high solar activity. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Venus Photo Gallery

Realtime Comet 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 Jan. 13, 2014, the network reported 5 fireballs.
(5 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]

On Jan. 12, 2014, the network reported 11 fireballs.
(10 sporadics, 1 Canum Venaticid)

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 January 13, 2014 there were 1450 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2014 AE29
Jan 9
4.1 LD
15 m
2014 AW32
Jan 10
0.5 LD
14 m
2014 AZ32
Jan 11
6.2 LD
28 m
2007 SJ
Jan 21
18.9 LD
1.9 km
2012 BX34
Jan 28
9.6 LD
13 m
2006 DP14
Feb 10
6.2 LD
730 m
2000 EM26
Feb 18
8.8 LD
195 m
2000 EE14
Mar 6
64.6 LD
1.8 km
2003 QQ47
Mar 26
49.9 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
Space Weather Alerts
  more links...
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