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Solar wind
speed: 558.7 km/sec
density: 0.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2207 UT Aug22
24-hr: C4
0506 UT Aug22
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 22 Aug 13
Sunspot AR1820 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 149
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 22 Aug 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

22 Aug 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 130 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 22 Aug 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.7 nT
Bz: 4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 22 Aug 13
Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Aug. 23-24. 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: 08-22-2013 11:55:03
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Aug 22 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
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: 2013 Aug 22 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
40 %
10 %
25 %
01 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
30 %
25 %
45 %
60 %
Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013
What's up in space

Listen to radar echoes from satellites and meteors, live on listener-supported Space Weather Radio.

Spaceweather Radio is on the air

POLAR STORM WARNING: Two CMEs are heading for Earth. The plasma clouds were expelled from the sun on August 20-21 by a pair of erupting magnetic filaments. NOAA forecasters expect the CMEs to arrive on August 23-24, possibly sparking geomagnetic storms around the poles. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

AURORA SEASON BEGINS: Around the Arctic Circle, summer is long and bright. Auroras vanish in the glow of the midnight sun. News flash: the auroras are back. "Tonight I saw the first auroras of the new season in Oulu, Finland," says Thomas Kast, who took this picture on August 22nd:

"This is how the sky looked at ten minutes past midnight," says Kast. "The orange color on the left is twilight, just between sunset and sunrise, and the waves of the Baltic Sea were lit up by the Full Moon. Above it all were some surprisingly strong Northern lights. I saw needles, purple color, and even a very faint corona."

With autumn approaching, Arctic nights are rapidly darkening. This means more auroras are in the offing. NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% - 45% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on August 22 - 23.

Says Kast: "What a promising start!"

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

TRUE BLUE MOON? Was Tuesday night's full Moon a "Blue Moon?" Some observers say "yes," but not because the Moon turned blue. Behold this picture of last night's moonrise over Volterraio Castle on the Island of Elba, Italy, then scroll down for further discussion:

"The Full Moon of Aug. 20-21 is a 'seasonal Blue Moon,'" explains photographer Stefano De Rosa, "because it is the third of four full moons in a single season."

But wait--isn't a Blue Moon the second full Moon in a calendar month? That would be the modern definition, which became popular in the late 20th century. De Rosa's definition is an older and, some would say, truer definition of "Blue Moon."

Which definition is correct? Both and neither. It's all folklore! The only true-blue Moon is a Moon that actually turns blue. And, yes, that can happen. Under certain circumstances volcanic dust and ash from forest fires can scatter the reds out of moonlight, leaving only a blue-cratered disk behind.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]

Realtime Comet 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 August 22, 2013 there were 1421 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
1999 CF9
Aug 23
24.7 LD
1.1 km
2013 QR1
Aug 25
8.2 LD
215 m
2002 JR9
Aug 31
63.5 LD
1.4 km
2013 PX6
Sep 21
68.6 LD
1.0 km
2000 DK79
Nov 10
49.1 LD
3.2 km
2011 JY1
Nov 13
8.2 LD
57 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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