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Solar wind
speed: 354.7 km/sec
density: 13.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B7
2131 UT Jul27
24-hr: C2
0551 UT Jul27
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 27 Jul 14
Solar activity remains low despot an uptick in the sunspot number. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 76
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 Jul 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%)

27 Jul 2014

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 117 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 27 Jul 2014

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.8 nT
Bz: 1.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 27 Jul 14
A stream of solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on July 28-29 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: 07-27-2014 14:55:06
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2014 Jul 27 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
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: 2014 Jul 27 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
25 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
20 %
20 %
20 %
20 %
Sunday, Jul. 27, 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

QUIET SUN: Despite an uptick in the sunspot number, solar activity remains low. AR2121 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares, but so far the quiet sunspot seems dis-inclined to erupt. A significant flare this weekend would be a surprise. Updates may be found on Twitter @spaceweatherman.

PERSEID METEOR SHOWER BEGINS: Earth is entering a broad stream of debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle, source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Although the peak of the shower is not expected until August, meteors are already flitting acrosss the night sky. On July 27th, NASA cameras caught this Perseid fireball flying over New Mexico:

Over the weekend, NASA detected a total of five Perseid fireballs, a "mini-flurry" that signals the beginning of the annual display. Normally the best time to watch would be during the shower's peak: August 11th through 13th. This year, however, the supermoon will cast an interfering glare across the nights of maximum activity, reducing visibility from 120 meteors per hour (the typical Perseid peak rate) to less than 30. Instead, late July-early August might be the best time to watch as Earth plunges deeper into the debris stream before the Moon becomes full.

If you go out meteor watching in the nights ahead, you'll likely see another shower, too: the Southern Delta Aquariids. Produced by debris from Comet 96P/Machholz, this shower peaks on July 29-30 with 15 to 20 meteors per hour. This is considered to be a minor shower, but rich enough in fireballs to merit attention. NASA will stream the display from an observing site at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. Live video begins on July 29th at 9:30 pm EDT.

Got clouds? Try listening to the Perseids and the Southern Delta Aquariids on Space Weather Radio. The audio stream is playing echoes from a forward-scatter meteor radar in Roswell, New Mexico.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

AURORAS OVER CALIFORNIA ... 10 YEARS AGO: What a difference 10 years can make. The Solar Max of 2014 has been mild, producing relatively few sunspots and meagre auroras. A decade ago, however, a much more potent Solar Max was underway. A strong solar storm on July 27, 2004, sparked Northern Lights as far south as the Anza-Borrego Desert of California:

Photographer Dennis Mammana recalls the night: "It was ten years ago--during the pre-dawn hours of July 27, 2004--that the Anza-Borrego Desert of Southern California was bathed in the most unusual of light—that of the aurora borealis. On this morning it danced over so wide an area of the northern sky that it required four wide-angle images stitched carefully together to capture it all."

"As the sky darkened the night before, solar data convinced me that we in the Desert Southwest might get a rare display of Northern Lights, so I aimed a camera north and set it to take one exposure every minute. From time to time I checked the camera's LCD screen to see if it had captured anything of interest. Then, just before 4 a.m., I discovered blue streaks across the image. 'What a lousy time for the sensor to crap out on me!', I thought. But as I scrolled through the previous images to learn where it went bad, I saw the blue streaks dancing gracefully across the scene. It was the Northern Lights!"

"I hastily threw all my gear in the back of the Jeep and headed for an interesting foreground a couple of miles away. And the photo you see is the result--perhaps the only image of the northern lights with ocotillos in the foreground!"

Mammana's recollection reminds us what a "good Solar Max" is really like. There is still hope, however, that the ongoing mini-Max might produce some mid-latitude displays. Statistics of previous solar cycles show that the strongest geomagnetic storms tend to occur during the declining phase of solar cycles--in other words, just where we are now. There may yet be SoCal auroras in the offing before this Solar Max is done. Aurora alerts: text, voice

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

VEINS OF HEAVEN: The luminous tendrils of noctilucent clouds (NLCs) have been likened to "frozen lightning", slow-moving bolts of electric-blue that slowly zig-zag across the twilight sky during the months of Arctic summer. On July 25th photographer P-M Hedén witnessed a display over Hedesunda, Sweden, that suggested a different name. He calls them "veins of Heaven":

"I was really hoping for a good show because my children came along to watch," says Hedén. "We were not disappointed. From the beginning at 23:00 local time we saw noctilucent clouds all around the sky - amazing! Around 1 a.m. we had veins of Heaven both in the sky and reflected in the water."

Seeded by meteor smoke, are Earth's highest clouds. They glow electric-blue when sunlight strikes them more than 80 km above Earth's surface. The fine structure that resembles lightning and evokes "heavenly veins" is not fully understood. This is just one of many mysteries about NLCs that NASA has sent its AIM spacecraft to investigate.

The natural habitat of noctilucent clouds is the Arctic Circle. In recent years, however, they have spread to lower latitudes with sightings as far south as Utah and Colorado. This may yet happen in 2014. Observing tips: Look west 30 to 60 minutes after sunset when the Sun has dipped 6o to 16o below the horizon. If you see blue-white tendrils zig-zagging across the sky, you may have spotted a noctilucent cloud.

Realtime NLC Photo Gallery

Realtime Comet 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 Jul. 27, 2014, the network reported 11 fireballs.
(6 sporadics, 4 Perseids, 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 July 27, 2014 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2014 OX3
Jul 21
2.2 LD
12 m
2014 OP2
Jul 24
0.5 LD
7 m
2014 OW3
Jul 29
9.6 LD
137 m
2002 JN97
Aug 2
61.4 LD
2.0 km
2001 RZ11
Aug 17
34.2 LD
2.2 km
2013 WT67
Aug 17
16.1 LD
1.1 km
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
1.0 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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