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Solar wind
speed: 419.6 km/sec
density: 2.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2350 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2135 UT Jan31
24-hr: C1
2135 UT Jan31
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 31 Jan 15
Three sunspots have magnetic fields that harbor energy for M-class solar flares: AR2268, AR2271 and AR2277. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 193
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 30 Jan 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%)

Update 30 Jan 2015

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 165 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 30 Jan 2015

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 13.0 nT
Bz: 2.9 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2350 UT
Coronal Holes: 30 Jan 15
A Solar wind flowing this large southern coronal hole will brush against Earth's magnetic field in late Jan.-early Feb. Credit: SDO/AIA.
Noctilucent Clouds As of Nov. 22, 2014, the season for southern hemisphere noctilucent clouds is underway. The south polar "daisy" pictured below is a composite of near-realtime images from NASA's AIM spacecraft.
Switch view: Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctic Penninsula, East Antarctica, Polar
Updated at: 01-31-2015 16:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2015 Jan 31 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
70 %
60 %
25 %
20 %
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 Jan 31 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
25 %
15 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
30 %
30 %
50 %
30 %
Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015
What's up in space

Learn to photograph Northern Lights like a pro. Sign up for Peter Rosen's Aurora Photo Courses in Abisko National Park.

Lapland tours

INCREASING CHANCE OF FLARES: NOAA forecasters have boosted the odds of an M-class solar flare today to 70%. The source could be any one of three active sunspots: AR2268, AR2271, or AR2277. Mild to moderate HF radio blackouts and ionospheric disturbances are possible on Jan. 31st. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

ROCKET, LAUNCHED: This morning, Jan 31st, NASA launched the SMAP satellite from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. SMAP's Delta II rocket lifted off into a pre-dawn sky that provided a dark backdrop for the engine's glowing exhaust. Ken Maytag photographed the display from Carpinteria, California:

"Launches from Vandenberg are always spectacular here on the Santa Barbara coast," says Maytag. "This one did not disappoint."

SMAP is on a "mud mission." From high above Earth, it will track the water in soils beneath our feet. This relatively unmonitored reservoir of global H2O plays an important role in our planet's weather and climate. One of the things SMAP can do, which other satellites cannot, is sense whether the ground is frozen or thawed. This will help researchers determine how much carbon plants are removing from the atmosphere each year, thus improving our current understanding of global warming. Visit the SMAP home page for more information.

For more views of SMAP leaving Earth, stay tuned to's realtime photo gallery:

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

RED AIRGLOW: The OGLE telescope in Las Campanas, Chile, is hunting for signs of Dark Matter in the Milky Way using a technique called "microlensing." This week, to highlight OGLE's mission, astrophotographer Yuri Beletsky lined up his camera behind the observatory dome with the Milky Way in the background. He captured not only the center of the galaxy, but also a fine display of red airglow:

"The Milky Way emerged from the top of the dome like a stellar fountain," says Beletsky. "Red airglow is quite prominent in the background."

Airglow is aurora-like phenomenon in the upper atmosphere caused by chemical reactions driven mainly by solar ultraviolet radiation. Human eyes seldom notice the faint glow, but It can be photographed on almost any clear dark night, anywhere in the world.

The curious thing about Beletsky's photo is not the presence of airglow, but rather its color--red. Airglow is usually green, the color of light from abundant oxygen atoms in a layer 90-100 km high. Red airglow comes from oxygen, too, but in a more rarefied layer of air 150 - 300 km high. Why did red dominate green on the night of Beletsky's photo shoot? The wavy structure of the red glow offers a clue: High-altitude gravity waves might have altered the temperature and density of the upper atmosphere just enough to favor red. Consider it a beautiful mystery.

UPDATE: Steve Smith of the Center for Space Physics at Boston University thinks the red color might be caused by OH instead of O. "Yuri Beletsky took a wonderful photo of the Milky Way and airglow," he says. "I don't think that the red airglow is due to O(1D) emission from 250 km. I think its probably due to OH from near 85 km. The Meinel bands extend from ~600nm into the IR and although the visible bands are fainter those in the IR, they are still reasonably bright. Also, the wave structures are also well-defined - that is unusual (but not impossible) in O(1D) emission."

Realtime Aurora 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. 31, 2015, the network reported 4 fireballs.
(4 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 January 31, 2015 there were 1541 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2004 BL86
Jan 26
3.1 LD
680 m
2015 AK45
Jan 26
4.7 LD
23 m
2015 BE92
Jan 29
3.2 LD
10 m
2015 BD511
Jan 30
4.5 LD
19 m
2008 CQ
Jan 31
4.8 LD
36 m
2015 BF92
Feb 7
8.5 LD
65 m
2015 AZ43
Feb 15
7.7 LD
87 m
2000 EE14
Feb 27
72.5 LD
1.6 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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