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Solar wind
speed: 442.6 km/sec
density: 4.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
1848 UT Nov13
24-hr: C8
0607 UT Nov13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 13 Nov 14
Decaying sunspot AR2205 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 89
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 Nov 2014

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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%)

Update 13 Nov

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 153 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 13 Nov 2014

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: 7.2 nT
Bz: 4.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 13 Nov 14
Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Nov. 17-18. 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: 11-12-2014 09:55:44
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2014 Nov 13 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
60 %
70 %
20 %
30 %
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 Nov 13 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
25 %
25 %
25 %
25 %
Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014
What's up in space

Would you like a call when things are happening in the night sky? Sign up for backyard astronomy alerts from voice or text.


BOUNCE-DOWN ON THE SURFACE OF A COMET: ESA's Rosetta spacecraft dropped its lander, Philae, onto the surface of Comet 67P yesterday. Because the lander's harpoons did not latch onto the comet's surface, Philae bounced three times before settling down. This morning, ESA engineers announced that Philae is resting in a stable position and sending its first images from the surface of the comet. ESA plans to issue another update later today. Stay tuned.

OLD SUNSPOT RETURNS: Late last month, the biggest sunspot in nearly 25 years crossed the face of the sun, blasting Earth's upper atmosphere with dozens of solar flares. Today, AR2192 returned, and it is just a shadow of its former self. Karzaman Ahmad of the Langkawi National Observatory in Malaysia photographed the old sunspot emerging over the sun's southeastern limb on Nov. 13th:

In late October, AR2192 unleashed 6 X-class solar flares and many more M-class flares. Strong HF radio blackouts were a daily occurance, and millions of people glimpsed the great sunspot during a partial solar eclipse.

For the past two weeks, the sunspot has been transiting the farside of the sun. Ahmad's photo shows that it decayed during that time. The waning remains of AR2192 do not appear to pose a threat for strong flares. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

RADS ON A PLANE: On Nov. 11th, Tony Phillips of flew from California across the USA to attend a science communications meeting in Washington DC. As an experiment, he decided to take a radiation sensor onboard the plane. The results were eye-opening. During the apex of his flight to DC, cruising 39,000 feet above the desert between Reno and Phoenix, he recorded a dose rate almost 30 times higher than on the ground below:

There was no solar storm in progress. The extra radiation was just a regular drizzle of cosmic rays reaching down to aviation altitudes. This radiation is ever-present and comes from supernovas, black holes, and other sources across the galaxy.

In a single hour flying between Reno and Phoenix, the passengers on Phillips's flight were exposed to a whole day's worth of ground-level radiation--or about what a person would absorb from an X-ray at the dentist's office. That's not a big deal for an occasional flyer, but as NASA points out, frequent fliers of 100,000 miles or more can accumulate doses equal to 20 chest X-rays or about 100 dental X-rays. Lead aprons, anyone?

The radiation sensor is the same one that Earth to Sky Calculus routinely flies to the stratosphere to measure cosmic rays. It detects 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. Indeed, when the sensor passed through TSA security at the Reno airport, it began to buzz loudly, signaling a heavy dose of X-rays in the carry-on baggage scanner. TSA agents gathered around the instrument to investigate and they were quite interested when Phillips explained its function. Several wanted to know if they themselves were exposed to radiation in the vicinity of the luggage scanner; a quick survey of the area revealed no leaks.

After boarding the plane, Phillips monitored radiation levels closely. Dose rates tripled within 10 minutes of take-off and remained high for the duration of the flight. This simple experiment shows that space weather can touch us even when the sun is quiet. Imagine what an actual solar storm could do.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

Realtime Eclipse 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. 13, 2014, the network reported 28 fireballs.
(23 sporadics, 5 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 13, 2014 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2014 UD192
Nov 9
3.1 LD
29 m
2004 JN13
Nov 18
52.4 LD
4.1 km
1998 SS49
Nov 18
73.9 LD
3.1 km
2005 UH3
Nov 22
44.4 LD
1.3 km
2007 EJ
Jan 12
68.9 LD
1.1 km
1991 VE
Jan 17
40.6 LD
1.0 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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