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Solar wind
speed: 491.9 km/sec
density: 2.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2350 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
2119 UT Jun15
24-hr: C2
2119 UT Jun15
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 15 Jun 15
Growing sunspot AR2367 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 117
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 15 Jun 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%)

Updated 15 Jun 2015

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 132 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 15 Jun 2015

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.5 nT
Bz: 1.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2350 UT
Coronal Holes: 15 Jun 15

Earth is inside a stream of solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA.
Noctilucent Clouds The northern season for NLCs is underway. NASA's AIM spacecraft spotted the first noctilucent clouds over the Arctic Circle on May 19th.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 06-15-2015 16:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2015 Jun 15 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
20 %
05 %
01 %
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 Jun 15 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
20 %
25 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
25 %
30 %
60 %
25 %
Monday, Jun. 15, 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, winner of the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award 2015.

Lapland tours

AMAZING NEWS--COMET LANDER PHONES HOME: Seven months after the European Space Agency lost contact with its comet lander, Philae, the probe has unexpectedly radioed Earth. "Philae is doing very well: It has an operating temperature of -35ºC and has 24 Watts available," says DLR Philae Project Manager Dr. Stephan Ulamec. "The lander is ready for operations." Last November, Philae bounced into shadows on the surface of comet 67P. Starved of solar power, it fell asleep. Now, with the comet approaching the sun, Philae has been able to wake up again. Congratulations to the ESA for a very pleasant surprise.

ELECTRIC-BLUE MEETS AURORA-GREEN: As predicted, a solar wind stream hit Earth's magnetic field on Sunday, June 14th, sparking a minor geomagnetic storm. People in Canada were already outdoors watching noctilucent clouds (NLCs) when the sky filled with a diffuse green glow. Mike Isaak sends this picture from Edmonton, Alberta:

"Green auroras are very pretty alongside electric-blue noctilucent clouds," says Isaak. "What a night!"

High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for both colors tonight. Seeded by meteoroids and (some say) boosted by climate change, noctilucent clouds have been growing in brightness in recent weeks. Meanwhile, NOAA forecasters estimate a 45% chance of geomagnetic storms on June 15th as the solar wind continues to blow. Photographers, submit your images here.

Realtime NLC Photo Gallery | Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

AN INCREASE IN COSMIC RAYS: For the past month, solar activity has been low. The last big burst of solar activity happened on May 5th when an X2-class solar flare erupted from the sun's eastern limb. Since then ... quiet. To investigate the effect of low solar activity on the atmosphere, and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been launching helium balloons at approximately weekly intervals. Equipped with X-ray and gamma-ray sensors, the balloons measure ionizing radiation all the way from ground level to the stratosphere. Here are the results:

During the past month of low solar activity, ionizing radiation in the stratosphere has increased by 10%. This may seem counterintuitive, but there is a simple explanation: The radiation we measure is dominated by cosmic rays--a mix of subatomic particles, X-rays and gamma-rays that come from outside the solar system. Explosions on the sun (especially CMEs) tend to push these cosmic rays away from Earth. During the past month, however, there have been relatively few CMEs. Fewer CMEs means more cosmic rays. Yin-yang.

Cosmic rays are an important form of space weather. They matter to anyone who steps foot on an airplane. According to NASA, a 100,000 mile frequent flier will absorb a dose of radiation equivalent to 10 chest X-rays--all from cosmic rays. Cosmic rays have also been linked to cloud cover, lightning, and they may play some role in climate change.

If the sun remains quiet, cosmic rays could increase even more. Stay tuned for updates from the stratosphere.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

SUNSET PLANETS: If you love stargazing, there's a date you should mark on your calendar: June. That's right, the whole month. Throughout the month of June 2015, the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, will be converging in the sunset sky. Last night in Vulcan, Alberta, photographer Alan Dyer caught them lining up with 1st-magnitude star Regulus:

"Venus and Jupiter were visible even through light clouds," says Dyer. "It was a beautiful sight."

The convergence will continue for the rest of the month. Every night you can see the two planets drawing closer together. By the end of June, Venus and Jupiter will be a jaw-dropping 1/3rd of a degree apart.  That's less than the width of a full Moon.  You'll be able to hide the pair behind the tip of your pinky finger held at arm's length.

Observing tips: When the sun goes down, step outside and look west.  You don't have to wait until the sky fades to black. Venus and Jupiter are so bright, you can see then shining through the twilight.  In fact, some people say the planets are especially beautiful when they are surrounded by the cobalt hue of the early evening sky. Browse the realtime photo gallery for daily sightings.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime NLC Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

Realtime Sprite 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. 15, 2015, the network reported 16 fireballs.
(15 sporadics, 1 June mu Cassiopeiid)

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 15, 2015 there were 1590 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2012 XB112
Jun 11
10.1 LD
2 m
2015 LF21
Jun 11
3.2 LD
28 m
2015 LK
Jun 17
7.8 LD
37 m
2015 LG
Jun 18
8.8 LD
53 m
2015 LQ21
Jun 18
12.9 LD
65 m
2015 KK57
Jun 23
8.3 LD
13 m
2005 VN5
Jul 7
12.6 LD
18 m
2015 HM10
Jul 7
1.1 LD
74 m
1994 AW1
Jul 15
25.3 LD
1.4 km
2011 UW158
Jul 19
6.4 LD
565 m
2013 BQ18
Jul 20
7.9 LD
38 m
1999 JD6
Jul 25
18.8 LD
1.6 km
2005 NZ6
Aug 6
76.5 LD
1.4 km
2005 JF21
Aug 16
20.1 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
Columbia Northern High School
  Web-based high school science course with free enrollment
  more links...
©2015 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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