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Solar wind
speed: 411.1 km/sec
density: 3.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
2036 UT Oct16
24-hr: M4
1303 UT Oct16
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 16 Oct 14
None of the sunspots on the sun's visible disk pose a threat for flares. However, during the next 24 hours, a much more active sunspot is expected to appear over the sun's SE limb. It could be the return of old sunspot complx AR2172-AR2173. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 90
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 16 Oct 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%)

Update 16 Oct

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 126 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 16 Oct 2014

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.0 nT
Bz: 2.2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 16 Oct 14
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. 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 Oct 16 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: 2014 Oct 16 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
25 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
30 %
30 %
30 %
30 %
Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014
What's up in space

On October 23rd there will be a partial eclipse of the Sun. Got clouds? No problem. The event will be broadcast live on the web by the Coca-Cola Science Center.

Solar Eclipse Live

ARCTIC LIGHTS: For the second day in a row, auroras are dancing around the Arctic Circle. The lights were sparked by a minor CME impact on Oct. 14th and amplified on Oct. 15th when Earth passed through a fold in the heliospheric current sheet. NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of continued polar geomagnetic storms on Oct. 16th. Aurora alerts: text, voice

GREEN COMET APPROACHES RED PLANET: On Sunday, Oct. 19th, Comet Siding Spring will pass only 140,000 km away from Mars. For comparison, that's about 1/3rd the distance between Earth and the Moon. For a while last year, astronomers thought the comet might actually hit Mars, setting off a cataclysmic climate change experiment, but now we know it's going to be a near miss. Last night, only three days before closest approach, astrophotographer Damian Peach snapped this picture:

"The comet is presently moving against the dense star clouds of the southern Milky Way," says Peach. "Soon, however, it will reach Mars."

An international fleet of Mars orbiters and rovers will observe the encounter from close range. The most interesting data could come from MAVEN, a NASA spacecraft that has reached Mars just ahead of the comet. MAVEN is designed to study the martian atmosphere. That's good, because when the comet arrives, the atmosphere of the comet will likely brush against the atmosphere of Mars, possibly sparking auroras on the Red Planet. MAVEN could record these alien lights.

"Just as exciting," adds comet researcher Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab, "is the prospect of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE camera being able to actually resolve (i.e. determine the shape of) the nucleus of the comet. ESA and NASA spacecraft have seen comet nuclei before, but comet Siding Spring is a little different. It's an 'Oort Cloud comet' on its first ever foray into our solar system. This means it is largely pristine and will likely not have undergone any major changes since it formed. We've never seen one of these comets up close. Never. We don't know exactly what to expect."

Experienced amateur astronomers with mid-sized telescopes and sensitive digital cameras should have no trouble photographing Comet Siding Spring in the nights ahead. It can be found glowing like a 12th magnitude star in the constellation Ophiuchus right next to ... you guessed it ... the planet Mars. [light curve] [ephemeris] [3D orbit]

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

FARSIDE EXPLOSION: A sunspot capable of powerful eruptions is about to rotate onto the Earthside of the sun. It announced itself on Oct. 14th by hurling a spectacular CME over the sun's southeastern limb:

The underlying explosion was hidden behind the southeastern edge of the sun. Even in eclipse, however, the blast registered M2 on the Richter Scale of Solar Flares. The actual rating must have been must higher, perhaps even X-class.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded an extreme ultraviolet movie of debris flying over the sun's limb:

Within the next 24 hours,the blast site should emerge over the limb where we can see it from Earth. Then analysts can examine its magnetic field and evaluate the potential for future eruptions. Stay tuned. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

Realtime Eclipse 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 Oct. 16, 2014, the network reported 19 fireballs.
(14 sporadics, 3 Southern Taurids, 1 Leonis Minorid, 1 October delta Aurigid)

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 October 16, 2014 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2014 TR
Oct 11
9.9 LD
16 m
2010 FV9
Oct 11
8.7 LD
36 m
2014 TV
Oct 18
4.5 LD
60 m
2014 TT35
Oct 22
6.9 LD
28 m
2014 TP57
Oct 22
8.2 LD
23 m
2014 SC324
Oct 24
1.5 LD
65 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
3.1 km
2005 UH3
Nov 22
44.4 LD
1.3 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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