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Solar wind
speed: 428.3 km/sec
density: 1.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1659 UT Oct10
24-hr: C1
1659 UT Oct10
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 10 Oct 13
Sunspot AR1865 poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 111
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 10 Oct 2013

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

10 Oct 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 113 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 10 Oct 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.6 nT
Bz: 1.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 10 Oct 13
Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole should reach Earth on Oct. 11-13. Credit: SDO/AIA. is now posting 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: 09-02-2013 11:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Oct 10 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
30 %
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: 2013 Oct 10 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
15 %
20 %
05 %
10 %
Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013
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

JUNO SPACECRAFT PHOTOGRAPHED: Yesterday, NASA's Juno spacecraft buzzed Earth only 347 miles above our planet's surface. It was a slingshot maneuver designed to gain velocity for Juno's long trip to Jupiter (ETA: 2016). Although the spacecraft was very faint, several amateur astronomers managed to photograph it: image gallery. The spacecraft is now hurtling away from Earth at 23,500 mph. Bon voyage, Juno!

SUNDIVING COMET: Comet ISON is not the only comet diving toward the sun. Another smaller comet is feeling the heat today. Using a coronagraph to block the sun's glare, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is monitoring the comet's death plunge:

This comet is a member of the Kreutz family. Seen falling into the sun dozens of times each year, Kreutz sungrazers are fragments from the breakup of a single giant comet many centuries ago. They get their name from 19th century German astronomer Heinrich Kreutz, who studied them in detail.

Today's sungrazer is probably doomed. The vast majority of Kreutz comets are small (no more than ~10 m wide) and they evaporate completely as they approach the sun. Comet ISON, on the other hand, is large (~0.5 km wide) and widely expected to survive its brush with the sun on Nov. 28th. It's a tale of two comets!

Update: A new movie from SOHO shows the comet making its final closest approach to the sun.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

RADIO-ACTIVE SUN: Radio amateurs, have you heard any strange roaring sounds coming from the loudspeakers of your shortwave radios this week? It might have been the sun. "The Sun has been generating Type III solar radio bursts and they appear to be intensifying," reports amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft of New Mexico. "The strongest burst so far came at 2155 UTC on October 9th." Here it is as recorded on two radios at 28 MHz and 21 MHz:

Ashcraft recommends listening to the audio using stereo headphones. "Type III bursts drift downward in frequency," he explains. "In stereo you can hear the burst pass through 28 MHz first on one speaker and then flow through 21 MHz on the other sound speaker."

Type III solar radio bursts are produced by electrons accelerated to high energies (1 to 100 keV) by solar flares. As the electrons stream outward from the sun, they excite plasma oscillations and radio waves in the sun's atmosphere. When these radio waves head in the direction of Earth, they make themselves heard in the loudspeakers of shortwave radios around the dayside of the planet.

More radio bursts could be in the offing. NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of M-class flares and a 5% chance of X-class flares during the next 24 hours. Stay tuned! Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

GREEN COMET ISON: Comet ISON is brightening as it approaches the sun. At the moment it is glowing like a 10th magnitude star, too dim for naked eye viewing but an easy target for many telescopes on Earth. "This is what the comet looked like on Oct. 8th using the 0.8m (32 inch) Schulman Telescope," reports Adam Block from the University of Arizona Skycenter atop Mount Lemmon:

ISON's green color comes from the gases surrounding its icy nucleus. Jets spewing from the comet's core contain diatomic carbon (C2) and cyanogen (CN: a poisonous gas found in many comets). Both substances glow green when illuminated by sunlight in the near-vacuum of space.

"I am certain more images of Comet ISON will be coming out shortly as it increases in brightness during its dive towards the Sun," adds Block. "Here is hoping it survives that rendezvous on Nov. 28th and emerges as something spectacular on the other side!"

Although the comet is very faint, finding it is easy. Comet ISON rises alongside Mars in the eastern sky just before dawn. Amateur astronomers, if you have a GOTO telescope, enter these coordinates. Special dates of interest include Oct. 13-15 when Mars, Comet ISON, and the first magnitude star Regulus will be clustered in a patch of sky less than 3o apart. Red Mars and blue Regulus will form a beautiful naked eye "double star" in the early morning sky. Sky maps: Oct. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.

Realtime Comet ISON Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

  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 October 10, 2013 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2013 SC21
Oct 7
8.8 LD
45 m
2013 TO4
Oct 8
6.3 LD
38 m
2013 TX68
Oct 13
5.4 LD
39 m
2000 DK79
Nov 10
49.1 LD
3.0 km
2011 JY1
Nov 13
8.2 LD
57 m
2001 AV43
Nov 18
3 LD
52 m
2010 CL19
Nov 25
37.6 LD
1.3 km
2013 NJ
Nov 26
2.5 LD
190 m
2011 YD29
Dec 28
6.1 LD
24 m
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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