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Solar wind
speed: 452.7 km/sec
density: 4.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1833 UT Jun20
24-hr: C5
1120 UT Jun20
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 20 Jun 14
None of these sunspots poses a threat for strong flares. Solar activity is low. . Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 108
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 20 Jun2014

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%)

20 Jun 2014

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 111 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 20 Jun 2014

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.5 nT
Bz: 4.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 19 Jun 14
There are no large equatorial coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. 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: 06-20-2014 16:55:03
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2014 Jun 20 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
45 %
35 %
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: 2014 Jun 20 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
40 %
01 %
25 %
01 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
10 %
20 %
05 %
35 %
Friday, Jun. 20, 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

LAST DAY OF NORTHERN SPRING: The season are changing. On June 21st, the sun will reach its northernmost point in the sky, +23.5 degrees above the celestial equator, marking the onset of summer in the north and winter in the south. Today is the last day of northern spring. Happy solstice!

ELECTRIC-BLUE SUMMER CLOUDS: Noctulicent clouds (NLCs) are a phenomenon of summer. Ironically, that is when the top of Earth's atmosphere is cold enough to form ice crystals around meteor smoke--the "stuff" of NLCs. So, you know the summer solstice is near when the late-night sky starts to look like this:

"This fine display of NLCs lasted a number of hours and was visible all across Northern Ireland," says photographer Andy McCrea of Bangor in County Down. "These pictures were taken around 3am on June 20th."

Mark McKenna of Maghera, Northern Ireland, also saw the cloud's signature electric-blue ripples. "Last night's absolutely spectacular noctilucent cloud display was one of the best I have seen in years," he says. "The NLCs were beautiful, glowing vivid white then blue. Of note were the graceful whirls, herringbone, sharp bands and lacunosus holes, the NLCs were even casting shadows onto other NLC forms."

Long ago, NLCs were confined to the Arctic, but in recent years they have been sighted as far south as Colorado and Utah. Some researchers think the increasing visibility is a sign of climate change. Whatever the cause, sky watchers should be alert for NLCs as northern summer unfolds.

Observing tips: Look west 30 to 60 minutes after sunset when the Sun has dipped 6o to 16o below the horizon. If you see luminous blue-white tendrils spreading across the sky, you may have spotted a noctilucent cloud.

Realtime NLC Photo Gallery

CORKSCREW ERUPTION: A dark magnetic filament on the sun erupted during the late hours of June 19th. While one end of the filament remained connected to sunspot complex AR2093-AR2094, the other end corkscrewed wildly through the sun's atmosphere. Click to view the eruption, and keep an eye on the circled region:

The corkscrewing filament hurled much of itself into space. Both of NASA's STEREO probes and the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory recorded a CME emerging from the blast site: movie. A preliminary analysis suggests an expansion velocity near 600 km/s or 1.3 million mph. That may sound fast, but it is merely typical for a CME. The expanding cloud could deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field in a few days, possibly sparking a minor geomagnetic storm. Aurora alerts: text, voice

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

HALOBACTERIA SURVIVE COSMIC RADIATION: On June 7th, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus sent two vials of halobacteria to the edge of space onboard a suborbital helium balloon. The tiny astronauts set a new high-altitude ballooning record for their species: 116,000 feet. Students have just finished reducing data from the flight and found that the bacteria were exposed to cosmic radiation levels 29 times higher than Earth-normal:

The bacteria were also frozen solid. During their passage through the tropopause temperatures plummeted to -60 degrees C. They experienced this blast of cold twice, once during the ascent and again as they were parachuting back to Earth.

Amazingly, the bacteria survived. Students have incubated the microbes, and they are now growing happily in a Petri dish at +40 degrees C. The next step in the experiment is to compare the flown microbes with a control sample to determine what fraction survived the combined thermal-radiation shock of their trip to the edge of space.

Astrobiologsts have long wondered if halobacteria, a terrestrial extremophile with a special talent for shielding itself from UV radiation, could survive on the planet Mars. The Earth to Sky experiments suggest the answer may be "yes." Stay tuned for updates from the Petri dish.

See also: "Teen launch balloons to the Edge of Space" from the LA Times

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

Realtime Comet 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 Jun. 20, 2014, the network reported 9 fireballs.
( 9 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]

  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 June 20, 2014 there were 1483 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2014 LL26
Jun 10
5.3 LD
37 m
2014 MP
Jun 22
9.1 LD
31 m
2013 AG69
Jul 8
2.7 LD
15 m
2011 PU1
Jul 17
7.9 LD
43 m
2002 JN97
Aug 2
61.4 LD
2.0 km
2001 RZ11
Aug 17
34.2 LD
2.2 km
2013 WT67
Aug 17
16.1 LD
1.2 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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