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Solar wind
speed: 374.8 km/sec
density: 3.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M1
1733 UT Sep28
24-hr: M5
0258 UT Sep28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 28 Sept 14
Sunspot AR2175 has a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 159
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 Sep 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 27
Sep 2014

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 158 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 27 Sep 2014

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.8 nT
Bz: 1.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 27 Sep 14
A stream of solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on Sept. 27-28. 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 Sep 28 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
75 %
75 %
20 %
20 %
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 Sep 28 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
25 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
25 %
25 %
35 %
35 %
Sunday, Sep. 28, 2014
What's up in space

On October 8th there will be a total eclipse of the Moon. Got clouds? No problem. The event will be broadcast live on the web by the Coca-Cola Science Center.

Lunar Eclipse Live

SOLAR FLARE: Weekend fireworks were predicted, and the sun complied. On Sunday, Sept. 28th (0258 UT), the magnetic canopy of sunspot AR2173 erupted, producing an M5-class solar flare. The sun was high overhead in Australia when Matt Wastell of Brisbane photographed the explosion:

Extreme UV radiation from the flare ionized the top of Earth's atmosphere, disturbing the normal propagation of radio transmissions around our planet. In particular, there was a limited blackout of HF radio communications and a probable loss of shortwave radio contact in daylit areas for some tens of minutes.

At the moment, we do not know if this explosion hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) toward Earth. Based on the impulsiveness (brevity) of the flare, we think not. A final answer awaits coronagraph data from the SOHO and STEREO spacecraft.

Wastell's picture, which he took using a solar telescope tuned to the red glow of solar hydrogen, shows more than a half-dozen dark magnetic filaments winding across the face of the sun. Like sunspots, these filaments pose a threat for flares. When a magnetic filament collapses it can hit the stellar surface and explode, causing a type of "spotless" explosion called a Hyder flare.

Taking into account all of the sunspots as well as the filaments, NOAA forecasters estimate a 65% chance of M-class flares and a 10% chance of X-flares in the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

MEANWHILE IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE: While much attention is being paid to the fact that September's equinox kicked off aurora season in the Northern Hemisphere, we should not forget that the Southern Hemisphere has just experienced the exact same equinox. It is aurora season there, too. Petr Horálek sends this example of Southern Lights over Lauder, New Zealand, on Sept 25th:

"The auroras burned very low above the southern horizon here at the NIWA atmospheric research station," Horálek says. "The opened dome is the BOOTES telescope, which is used to detect the optical afterglow of distant gamma-ray bursts. A green lidar behind me reflected from the dome, giving it a green hue."

For reasons researchers do not fully understand, at this time of year even gentle gusts of solar wind can ignite beautiful auroras. Right now Earth is passing through a minor stream of solar wind that has both poles aglow. Browse the realtime aurora gallery for sightings. Aurora alerts: text, voice

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

MARS vs. ANTI-MARS: Shining bright red in the heart of the constellation Scorpius, 1st-magnitude star Antares is often mistaken for Mars. In Greek, "Antares" means "rival of Mars" or "anti-Mars," so-named because it is about the same brightness and color as the Red Planet. As September comes to a close, the rivals are converging. Jeff Dai sends this photo of Mars and Antares setting side-by-side behind Mount Balang in Sichuan, China:

"I was looking southwest in the evening sky on Sept. 20th when a conspicuous pair of ruddy objects grabbed my attention," says Dai. "Red planet Mars is moving in for a close encounter with its ancient rival, the red supergiant star Antares."

On Sept. 28th and 29th, the nights of closest approach, Mars and Antares will be only a few degrees apart, a conjunction tight enough to fit behind your outstretched palm. Sept. 29th is the best night to look because the Moon will join the display, lining up to form a near-vertical column of heavenly bodies just above the southwestern horizon. Sept. 27th is a good night, too, but for a different reason: A slender crescent Moon will pass very close to Saturn not far from Antares and Mars. Sky maps: Sept. 25, 26, 27, 28, 29.

Can't remember all these dates? Let do the remembering for you. Sign up for backyard astronomy alerts.

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 Sep. 28, 2014, the network reported 1 fireballs.
(1 sporadic)

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 September 28, 2014 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2014 SC145
Sep 25
7.6 LD
28 m
2014 SU223
Sep 26
2 LD
17 m
2009 FG19
Sep 26
34.6 LD
1.1 km
2014 SS261
Sep 28
6.4 LD
23 m
2014 SS260
Sep 28
2.8 LD
21 m
2014 SS143
Sep 29
3.6 LD
16 m
2014 SH224
Sep 29
2.3 LD
24 m
2014 SZ144
Sep 29
3.9 LD
37 m
2014 NE52
Sep 30
61.2 LD
1.1 km
2014 SX261
Oct 3
9 LD
151 m
2014 SB145
Oct 6
4.4 LD
23 m
2001 EA16
Oct 7
35.5 LD
1.9 km
2011 TB4
Oct 9
5.8 LD
34 m
2010 FV9
Oct 11
8.7 LD
36 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
3.2 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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