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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 321.0 km/sec
density: 1.20 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 1142 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
2109 UT Apr13
24-hr: M2
0502 UT Apr13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2350 UT
Daily Sun: 13 Apr 24
Expand: labels | no labels | Carrington
New sunspots are emergoing at the circled locations. One may be the leading edge of old friend AR3615, returning after a two-week trip around the farside of the sun. . Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 83
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 Apr 2024

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2024 total: 0 days (0%)
2023 total: 0 days (0%)
2022 total: 1 day (<1%)
2021 total: 64 days (18%)
2020 total: 208 days (57%)
2019 total: 281 days (77%)
2018 total: 221 days (61%)
2017 total: 104 days (28%)
2016 total: 32 days (9%)
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%)
2008 total: 268 days (73%)
2007 total: 152 days (42%)
2006 total: 70 days (19%)

Updated 13 Apr 2024


Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 18.84x1010 W Warm
Max: 49.4
x1010 W Hot (10/1957)
Min: 2.05
x1010 W Cold (02/2009)
explanation | more data: gfx, txt
Updated 13 Apr 2024

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 153 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 13 Apr 2024

Cosmic Rays Solar Cycle 25 is intensifying, and this is reflected in the number of cosmic rays entering Earth's atmosphere. Neutron counts from the University of Oulu's Sodankyla Geophysical Observatory show that cosmic rays reaching Earth are slowly declining--a result of the yin-yang relationship between the solar cycle and cosmic rays.

Oulu Neutron Counts

Percentages of the Space Age average:
today: -3.2% Low
48-hr change: +0.6%
Max: +11.7% Very High
(12/2009)
Min: -32.1% Very Low (06/1991)
explanation | more data
Updated 13 Apr 2024 @ 0700 UT

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0.67 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2.33
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.77 nT
Bz: 2.38 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 1147 UT
Coronal Holes: 13 Apr 24

There are no significant equatorial coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun.
Credit: SDO/AIA

Polar Stratospheric Clouds
Colorful Type II polar stratospheric clouds (PSC) form when the temperature in the stratosphere drops to a staggeringly low -85C. NASA's MERRA-2 climate model predicts when the air up there is cold enough:

On Apr. 13, 2024, the Arctic stratosphere is much too warm for Type II polar stratospheric clouds. | more data.

Noctilucent Clouds
The southern season for NLCs is over. The first clouds were detected inside the Antarctic Circle on Dec. 4, 2023, by the NOAA 21 satellite. The same satellite detected the last cloud on Feb. 21, 2024. Daily maps are now blank:

noctilucent clouds
Updated: Feb 22, 2024

An instrument onboard NOAA 21 (OMPS LP) is able to detect NLCs (also known as "polar mesospheric clouds" or PMCs). Now that the southern season has ended, attention turns to the northern hemisphere. The first NLCs should appear inside the Arctic Circle in mid to late May.

SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2024 Apr 13 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
35 %
35 %
CLASS X
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: 2024 Apr 13 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
40 %
40 %
MINOR
30 %
30 %
SEVERE
05 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
25 %
25 %
SEVERE
65 %
65 %
 
Saturday, Apr. 13, 2024
What's up in space
       
 

This is an AI Free Zone! Text created by Large Language Models is spreading rapidly across the Internet. It's well-written, artificial, frequently inaccurate. If you find a mistake on Spaceweather.com, rest assured it was made by a real human being.

 

GEOMAGNETIC STORM WATCH (G1): A geomagnetic storm is possible on April 14th when two minor CMEs are expected to graze Earth's magnetic field. The storm clouds were hurled toward Earth by magnetic filament eruptions on April 11th and 12th. Neither CME is particularly potent, but their combined effect could cause a G1-class geomagnetic storm with high latitude auroras. Aurora alerts: SMS Text

A RED BLOB IN THE NIGHT SKY: Sometimes it pays to stay up late. Most people in Texas were sound asleep on April 10th at 2:14 a.m. when amateur astronomer Abdur Anwar looked up and saw a bright red blob glide over Big Bend National Park. "I photographed it using my Google Pixel 6a phone in night mode," he says.

"Is this a new aurora phenomenon?" he asks.

No, it's just SpaceX.

About 90 minutes before the red blob appeared, a Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, carrying 23 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit (Starlink Group 6-48). After the satellites were deployed, the rocket's second stage executed a de-orbit burn, creating the red blob.

It's not the first time sky watchers have noticed this phenomenon. "We are seeing 2 to 5 of them each month," says Stephen Hummel of the McDonald Observatory in Texas, who photographed a spectacular example last November.


Above: The launch of Starlink 6-48 ninety minutes before the red blob appeared over Texas.

The blob is created by a chemical reaction. The de-orbiting rocket engine sprays water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) into the upper atmosphere--as much as 400lbs of exhaust gasses. A complicated series of charge exchange reactions between these molecules and O+ atoms produces red light at a wavelength of 6300 Å–coincidentally, the same color as red auroras.

Texas seems to be a great place to observe the blobs; it's where most of them have been seen. Texas is favored because, for Starlink missions launched from Florida, it's the correct place for a de-orbit burn to splash the rocket's second stage into the South Atlantic. The burns happen about 90 minutes after launch--just when Anwar saw the blob.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Free:
Spaceweather.com Newsletter

AMBER DRAGONFLY SPACE PENDANT: This dragonfly has touched space. The students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched it to the stratosphere onboard a cosmic ray research balloon, 109,228 feet above California's Sierra Nevada:

You can have it for $179.95. Made of genuine Baltic Amber with a sterling silver exoskeleton, the pendant measures 1 1/4 inch and comes with a matching 18-inch sterling silver chain. The wings of the dragonfly include four pieces of natural amber colored Cognac, Olive Green and Honey Yellow.

The students are selling space pendants to pay the helium bill for their cosmic ray ballooning program. Each one comes with a greeting card showing the jewelry in flight and telling the story of its trip to the stratosphere and back again.

Far Out Gifts: Earth to Sky Store
All sales support hands-on STEM education


Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Free:
Spaceweather.com Newsletter


Realtime Comet Photo Gallery
Free:
Spaceweather.com Newsletter

  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 Spaceweather.com.

On Apr 13, 2024, the network reported 2 fireballs.
(2 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 April 13, 2024 there were 2349 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2024 GS3
2024-Apr-08
10.3 LD
10.3
31
2024 ED6
2024-Apr-08
5.5 LD
6.7
52
2024 GB4
2024-Apr-08
4.2 LD
8.2
25
2024 GQ
2024-Apr-08
5.6 LD
9.9
13
2005 FG
2024-Apr-08
18.4 LD
5.5
57
2020 BP13
2024-Apr-09
15.2 LD
6.8
209
2024 GW4
2024-Apr-09
0.4 LD
12.1
6
2024 GV2
2024-Apr-09
0.3 LD
4.7
5
2024 GQ1
2024-Apr-09
1.4 LD
13.4
7
2024 GY4
2024-Apr-09
0.3 LD
9.3
4
2024 GX3
2024-Apr-10
0.2 LD
10.2
4
2024 FT2
2024-Apr-10
11.8 LD
11.9
33
2024 GJ2
2024-Apr-11
0 LD
14.4
3
2024 GU3
2024-Apr-11
9.6 LD
7.7
25
2024 GA2
2024-Apr-12
14.4 LD
13.9
30
2021 RJ19
2024-Apr-12
19.6 LD
11.4
25
2024 FX3
2024-Apr-12
9.5 LD
11.7
28
2021 GQ5
2024-Apr-13
8.8 LD
7.5
7
2024 GT2
2024-Apr-13
2.3 LD
6.8
12
2024 GV3
2024-Apr-13
1.3 LD
10.9
7
2024 FP3
2024-Apr-13
2.7 LD
6.3
22
2024 GE3
2024-Apr-13
10 LD
7.3
22
2024 GA1
2024-Apr-14
9.5 LD
18.1
53
2024 GB3
2024-Apr-14
19.6 LD
17.1
46
2023 FN13
2024-Apr-14
3.3 LD
4.9
13
2022 UO1
2024-Apr-14
16.7 LD
14
33
2024 GW
2024-Apr-15
11.2 LD
8.7
26
2024 GL2
2024-Apr-15
10.9 LD
8.6
13
2024 GO1
2024-Apr-15
8.5 LD
9.1
13
517681
2024-Apr-15
18.4 LD
14.2
589
439437
2024-Apr-15
8.5 LD
16.5
609
2024 FJ4
2024-Apr-15
14.3 LD
9.5
32
2024 GN2
2024-Apr-16
1.2 LD
18.5
18
2024 GF3
2024-Apr-16
13.9 LD
12.9
26
2024 GM1
2024-Apr-17
3.5 LD
10.4
26
2024 GF5
2024-Apr-17
9.7 LD
7.4
13
2024 FF4
2024-Apr-18
16.1 LD
13
50
2023 HU3
2024-Apr-18
15.9 LD
19.1
35
2024 FU4
2024-Apr-19
19.2 LD
7.5
30
2021 JW2
2024-Apr-19
1.6 LD
5.1
11
2017 SA20
2024-Apr-19
3.8 LD
6.2
8
2024 FT4
2024-Apr-19
19.3 LD
5.2
21
2024 GD5
2024-Apr-20
13.9 LD
4.5
14
2024 GM
2024-Apr-21
18.7 LD
10.8
90
2024 GW3
2024-Apr-21
19.5 LD
13.3
39
2021 VH2
2024-Apr-25
9.3 LD
2.7
6
2024 FG5
2024-Apr-26
12.5 LD
9.1
37
2024 GR1
2024-Apr-27
19.6 LD
7.2
51
2024 GS4
2024-Apr-28
10.6 LD
12.8
33
2021 GD3
2024-Apr-30
11.4 LD
3.5
14
2022 TN1
2024-Apr-30
18.6 LD
17.7
295
2022 AA5
2024-May-02
12 LD
8.9
67
2024 FR5
2024-May-05
4.9 LD
5.2
50
2021 JG9
2024-May-10
16.9 LD
16.1
32
2016 FT14
2024-May-10
19.9 LD
5.9
39
2015 KJ19
2024-May-14
15.8 LD
23.1
112
2014 WF6
2024-May-14
7.2 LD
18.9
47
2021 JN10
2024-May-14
17.5 LD
13.2
33
2021 JJ
2024-May-15
17.2 LD
5.8
28
2022 WN2
2024-May-17
13.7 LD
5.5
6
2019 VB5
2024-May-21
7.8 LD
6.3
2
2008 LD
2024-May-28
7.7 LD
4.5
6
2021 LV
2024-May-29
12 LD
15.5
9
1998 KY26
2024-Jun-01
12 LD
5.3
27
2016 JC6
2024-Jun-01
19.9 LD
7.1
188
2008 YN2
2024-Jun-05
10.5 LD
7.7
20
2021 LW3
2024-Jun-06
9.7 LD
9.8
86
2024 CR9
2024-Jun-11
19.2 LD
7.4
435
Notes: LD means "Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU.
  Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere

SPACE WEATHER BALLOON DATA: Almost once a week, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly space weather balloons to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with sensors that detect secondary cosmic rays, a form of radiation from space that can penetrate all the way down to Earth's surface. Our monitoring program has been underway without interruption for 7 years, resulting in a unique dataset of in situ atmospheric measurements.

Latest results (July 2022): Atmospheric radiation is decreasing in 2022. Our latest measurements in July 2022 registered a 6-year low:

What's going on? Ironically, the radiation drop is caused by increasing solar activity. Solar Cycle 25 has roared to life faster than forecasters expected. The sun's strengthening and increasingly tangled magnetic field repels cosmic rays from deep space. In addition, solar coronal mass ejections (CMEs) sweep aside cosmic rays, causing sharp reductions called "Forbush Decreases." The two effects blend together to bring daily radiation levels down.

.Who cares? Cosmic rays are a surprisingly "down to Earth" form of space weather. They can alter the chemistry of the atmosphere, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. According to a study from the Harvard T.H. Chan school of public health, crews of aircraft have higher rates of cancer than the general population. The researchers listed cosmic rays, irregular sleep habits, and chemical contaminants as leading risk factors. A number of controversial studies (#1, #2, #3, #4) go even further, linking cosmic rays with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.

Technical notes: The radiation sensors onboard our helium balloons detect 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.

Data points in the graph labeled "Stratospheric Radiation" correspond to the peak of the Regener-Pfotzer maximum, which lies about 67,000 feet above central California. When cosmic rays crash into Earth's atmosphere, they produce a spray of secondary particles that is most intense at the entrance to the stratosphere. Physicists Eric Regener and Georg Pfotzer discovered the maximum using balloons in the 1930s and it is what we are measuring today.

  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.
STEREO
  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.
SolarMonitor.org
  information about sunspots based on the latest NOAA/USAF Active Region Summary
Starlink Satellite Statistics
  current counts of failed and deployed Starlink satellites from Jonathan's Space Page. See also, all satellite statistics.
The Aerospace Corporation
  Authoritative predictions of space junk and satellite re-entries
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
NOAA 27-Day Space Weather Forecasts
  fun to read, but should be taken with a grain of salt! Forecasts looking ahead more than a few days are often wrong.
Aurora 30 min forecast
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Live Aurora Webcam
  from Lights over Lapland
Heliophysics
  the underlying science of space weather

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