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Solar wind
speed: 316.7 km/sec
density: 1.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C4
1758 UT Oct13
24-hr: M1
0043 UT Oct13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 13 Oct 13
Sunspot AR1865 has a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 106
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 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

13 Oct 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 128 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 13 Oct 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.1 nT
Bz: 1.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 13 Oct 13
Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole should reach Earth on Oct. 15-16. 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 13 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
40 %
10 %
10 %
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 13 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
20 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
15 %
20 %
05 %
20 %
Sunday, Oct. 13, 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

MORNING CONJUNCTION: Mars, the 1st-magnitude star Regulus, and Comet ISON have gathered together in the pre-dawn sky only a few degrees apart. Comet ISON is invisible to the naked eye, but Mars and Regulus are bright enough to see without optics. They form a pretty red-blue "double star" that can lead telescopic observers to the comet. Sky maps: Oct. 13, 14, 15.

M-CLASS FLARE, EARTH-DIRECTED CME: October 13th began with an explosion on the sun. At 00:43 UT, sunspot AR1865 erupted, producing an M1-class solar flare and an Earth-directed CME. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the explosion's flash of extreme UV radiation:

Soon after the flare, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory recorded a faint CME emerging from the blast site. Based on the approximate speed of the expanding cloud, between 600 km/s and 800 km/s, it will probably reach Earth on Oct. 15-16. Polar geomagnetic storms are possible when the CME arrives. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

MORSE CODE BEAMED INTO SPACE: When NASA's Juno spacecraft flew past Earth on Oct. 9th, ham radio operators around the world took part in a global effort to communicate with the spacecraft. Organized by the Juno mission team and JPL, the hams slowly tapped out "Hi" in Morse code: . In New Mexico, amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft was observing the heavens with his own shortwave radio telescope when he heard the transmissions:

"The patterned keying from amateur radio operators was noted clearly on my radio telescope," says Ashcraft. "In the dynamic spectrum, shown above, it is the series of horizontal 'dots' just above 28 MHz." Listening to this seven minute extract of the signal pattern sent to Juno takes patience, so Ashcraft sped up the recording by 10 times. "Here it is," he says.

Juno listened for the message using its onboard WAVES instrument, a radio and plasma wave sensor designed to study magnetic storms at Jupiter. Did Juno actually hear anything? The Juno mission team wrote this on the event's home page: "Thank you amateur radio operators. This activity is now concluded. The Juno team hopes to share the results with you soon."

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

CHANCE OF FLARES: A pair of sunspots pointing almost-directly at Earth poses a threat for strong solar flares. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed the two active regions, AR1861 and AR1865, on Oct. 12th:

Sunspot AR1865 has a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares, while AR1861 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field capable of powering M-class eruptions. NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of M-class flares and a 15% chance of X-flares on Oct. 12th. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

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 diatomic carbon (C2) and cyanogen (CN: a poisonous gas found in many comets). 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 13, 2013 there were 1430 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2013 TX68
Oct 13
5.4 LD
38 m
2013 TM127
Oct 14
3 LD
21 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
2011 YD29
Dec 28
6.1 LD
24 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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