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Solar wind
speed: 344.1 km/sec
density: 2.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1812 UT Sep09
24-hr: M4
0030 UT Sep09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Sept 14
Sunspot AR2157 and AR2158 have delta-class magnetic fields that harbor energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 158
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 Sep 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%)

08 Sep 2014

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 151 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 08 Sep 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: 4.1 nT
Bz: 3.2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1601 UT
Coronal Holes: 08 Sep 14
Sola wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Sept. 10-11. . 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: 09-02-2014 12:55:12
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2014 Sep 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
75 %
75 %
30 %
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 Sep 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
25 %
20 %
20 %
20 %
Tuesday, Sep. 9, 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

CHANCE OF FLARES: The odds of a strong flare today remain high. NOAA forecasters estimate a 70% chance of M-class flares and a 30% chance of X-flares on Sept. 9th. The likely source would be AR2157 or AR2158; both sunspots have unstable magnetic fields that harbor energy for powerful Earth-directed explosions. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

LONG DURATION FLARE AND EARTH-DIRECTED CME: Earlier today, the magnetic canopy of sunspot AR2158 erupted, producing an explosion that lasted more than 6 hours. The flare peaked on Sept. 9th at 00:30 UT with a classification of M4 on the Richter Scale of Solar Flares. Long-duration flares tend to produce bright CMEs, and this one was no exception. Coronagraphs onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory observed a CME racing out of the blast site at nearly 1,000 km/s (2.2 million mph):

Most of the storm cloud is heading north of the sun-Earth line, but not all. A fraction of the CME will deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field, probably during the late hours of Sept. 11th or early hours of Sept. 12th. In the past few weeks, glancing blows from minor CMEs have sparked beautiful auroras around the Arctic Circle. This CME could do the same. Stay tuned for updates to the forecast. Aurora alerts: text, voice

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

ASTEROID FLYBY TODAY: A strange and interesting asteroid is flying past Earth today. 2002 CE26 is a binary system consisting of a primary space rock 3.5 km in diameter orbited by a moon about one-tenth as wide. The strange thing is, radar data suggest that the asteroid's moon might have an even smaller moon of its own. Alberto Quijano Vodniza of the University of Narino Observatory in Colombia photographed the potentially-triple system streaking through the constellation Pegasus on Sept. 2nd:

At closest approach on Sept. 9th, 2002 CE26 will be 18.4 million km (0.123 AU) from Earth. That is relatively far away, but because of the asteroid's large size, it is still possible to obtain meaningful data from the flyby. NASA astronomers will be pinging the system using the Goldstone radar in the Mojave desert. The Goldstone team says "we should be able to get coarse-resolution images of the primary. Echoes from the secondary will be weak and on the edge of detectability."

They also encourage experienced amateur astronomers to monitor the flyby: "This object should reach 14th magnitude while at favorable solar elongations, so it should be an excellent target for lightcurves.  Lightcurves might detect the signature of at least one satellite and could help refine the orbital period." [3D orbit] [ephemeris]

HARVEST MOON: The northern autumnal equinox is less than two weeks away. That makes today's full Moon the "Harvest Moon"--i.e, the full Moon closest to the beginning of Fall. Last night, Bill Vaughn photographed the waxing Harvest moonrise over Pinnacle Peak, Arizona:

"The rain finally cleared in the Phoenix area, making way for a super moonrise." he says.

The name "Harvest Moon" harkens back to a bygone era. Before the days of electric lights, farmers relied on moonlight to harvest crops which ripened all at once in autumn. They couldn't afford to stop working at sunset, so "harvest moonlight" was essential to their operations. The flow of electricity has made the Moon obsolete as a source of practical illumination, but not as an object of beauty. Step outside tonight at sunset, look east and enjoy the view.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

Realtime Sprite Photo Gallery

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

Realtime NLC 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 Sep. 9, 2014, the network reported 17 fireballs.
(15 sporadics, 1 September epsilon Perseid, 1 Southern delta Aquariid)

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 September 9, 2014 there were 1500 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2014 QT295
Sep 5
6.7 LD
28 m
2014 RC
Sep 7
0.1 LD
19 m
2014 RJ11
Sep 8
3 LD
15 m
2013 RZ53
Sep 9
1.9 LD
3 m
2002 CE26
Sep 9
47.9 LD
1.8 km
2009 RR
Sep 16
2 LD
34 m
2006 GQ2
Sep 19
65.9 LD
1.1 km
2009 FG19
Sep 26
34.6 LD
1.1 km
2014 NE52
Sep 30
61.2 LD
1.1 km
2001 EA16
Oct 7
35.5 LD
1.9 km
2011 TB4
Oct 9
5.8 LD
34 m
2003 UC20
Oct 31
52.4 LD
1.0 km
2004 JN13
Nov 18
52.4 LD
4.1 km
1998 SS49
Nov 18
73.9 LD
3.2 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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