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Solar wind
speed: 327.8 km/sec
density: 8.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B8
1846 UT Aug27
24-hr: C4
0358 UT Aug27
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 27 Aug 14
Sunspot AR2146 has a delta-class magnetic field that harbors energy for strong solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 81
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 Aug 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 Aug 2014

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 128 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 27 Aug 2014

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.1 nT
Bz: 6.2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 27 Aug 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: 08-27-2014 13:55:09
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2014 Aug 27 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
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 Aug 27 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
35 %
30 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
20 %
20 %
30 %
20 %
Wednesday, Aug. 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

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY: Earth's magnetic field is unsettled today following the arrival of a CME during the early hours of August 27th. Around the North and South Poles, high-latitude sky watchers are reporting intermittently-bright auroras, like these photographed last night by Mike Theiss on the east coast of Iceland:

"The lights were incredible," says Theiss. "They changed intensity on and off for about 3 hours." Additional reports have come from New Zealand, Canada and northern-tier US states such as Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, Idaho, North Dakota, and Washington: photo gallery.

The CME that instigated the display was launched toward Earth on Aug. 22nd. As NOAA analysts predicted, the solar wind speed did not change much when the slow-moving CME arrived. However, the storm cloud was still effective because it contained a south-pointing magnetic field that opened a crack in Earth's magnetosphere. Solar wind is poured in to fuel the show.

High-latitude sky watchers, if it is dark where you live, be alert for auroras. Solar wind conditions continue to favor geomagnetic activity as August 27th unfolds. Aurora alerts: text, voice

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

COMET CANDIDATE LANDING SITES SELECTED: Working over the weekend, Rosetta mission planners and scientists narrowed a list of 10 candidate landing sites to only 5. They are circled in this image of the core of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko:

In mid-November, Rosetta's Philae lander will attempt to touch down in one of these locations--the first time humankind has ever landed a probe on the core of a comet.

The candidate sites are distributed as follows: three (I, B and J) on the comet's smaller lobe and two (A and C) on the larger. The comet's canyon-like neck has been excluded. All of the candidate landing sites provide at least six hours of daylight per comet rotation and offer some flat terrain. According to the ESA, every site has the potential for unique scientific discoveries by the lander's 10 instruments.

A full discussion of each site may be found in this ESA press release. By September 14th, the five candidates will have been assessed and ranked, leading to the selection of a primary landing site, for which a fully detailed strategy for the landing operations will be developed, along with a backup. Stay tuned for updates as the selection process unfolds.

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

STRATOSPHERIC SPACE WEATHER BUOY: Have you ever wondered what a lunchbox suspended 112,000 feet above Earth's surface would look like? The answer is, this:

This is actually a Space Weather Buoy--a lunchbox containing a cosmic ray detector, cameras, GPS trackers, a thermometer and other sensors. It flew to the stratosphere on August 22nd tethered to a suborbital helium balloon. In collaboration with, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been launching these buoys on a regular basis to study the effect of solar activity on Earth's upper atmosphere. Soon, they will release results from a year-long campaign covering altitudes of interest to aviation, space tourism, and ozone research.

The students wish to thank Eden Botanicals for sponsoring the August 22nd flight. (Note their logo on the corner of the payload.) This was the student group's 58th successful launch--almost all paid for by a combination of donations and commercial advertising.

Readers, would you like to sponsor the next flight of the Space Weather Buoy? For only $500 you can send your logo to the edge of space and help students continue their explorations of the stratosphere. Contact Dr. Tony Phillips for more information.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Meteor Photo Gallery

Realtime NLC 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 Aug. 27, 2014, the network reported 37 fireballs.
(36 sporadics, 1 Northern 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 August 27, 2014 there were 1495 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2014 QY33
Aug 30
6.5 LD
24 m
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
1.1 km
2001 EA16
Oct 7
35.5 LD
1.9 km
2011 TB4
Oct 9
5.8 LD
34 m
2003 UC20
Oct 31
52.4 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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