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Solar wind
speed: 306.1 km/sec
density: 2.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B9
2254 UT Apr29
24-hr: B9
1056 UT Apr29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Apr 14
New sunspot AR2049 is large but magnetically simple. It poses no immediate threat for strong flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 79
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 29 Apr 2014

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2014 total: 0 days (0%)
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%)

29 Apr 2014

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 121 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 29 Apr 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: 8.3 nT
Bz: 8.3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 29 Apr 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: 02-28-2014 16:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2014 Apr 29 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
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 Apr 29 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
15 %
30 %
15 %
30 %
05 %
Tuesday, Apr. 29, 2014
What's up in space

Did you miss the lunar eclipse? No problem. The Coca-Cola Science Center recorded it for you. Click here to play the movie.

2014 Lunar Eclipse Live

MOTHER'S DAY AT THE EDGE OF SPACE: Mother's Day is right around the corner. Looking for a unique gift? How about an Edge of Space Mother's Day Card? This weekend, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus will launch a helium balloon to the stratosphere. For only $49.95, your Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthday or anniversary card could be on the payload. Profits from the flight are used to support the students' space weather balloon research program. Contact Dr. Tony Phillips for details.

AUSTRALIAN SOLAR ECLIPSE: Today when the sun set over Australia, sky watchers noticed something odd--a piece of the sun was missing. The new Moon passed in front of the sun producing a partial eclipse as deep as 70%. This was the view from Adelaide, South Australia:

"Here the eclipse peaked at 51% and was still in progress as the sun was setting," says photographer Martin Lewicki. "We could see it clearly through the clouds."

Visibility of this eclipse was restricted to Australia and the coast of Antarctica: map. While Australians witnessed a partial eclipse, in Antarctica the Moon passed directly in front of the sun, producing a "ring of fire" annular eclipse. Photographs of that phase, however, might not be forthcoming because of the remote location. Browse the eclipse gallery for updates:

Realtime Eclipse Photo Gallery

SOLAR SUPERSTORM NARROWLY MISSES EARTH: Two years ago, a Carrington-class solar storm narrowly missed Earth. If it had hit, researchers say, we could still be picking up the pieces. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

AURORAS vs TWILIGHT: Sky watchers around the Arctic Circle have a problem: too much daylight. As spring unfolds, twilight is spreading into the night, washing out all but the brightest auroras. Thomas Kast of Haukipudas, Finland, photographed the competition on April 25th:

"We aurora chasers, hunters and worshippers fight a battle against the magic midnight sun which cannot be won," says Kast. "Every night it gets brighter and the chances for auroras fade. As you can see from this photo - taken at 1.30am - the aurora is barely visible against the twilight. There are still a few nights with the sun more than 10 degrees below the horizon, but we will need a strong impact to see some nice auroras overhead."

The next impact might not be strong enough. NOAA forecasters expect a relatively weak stream of solar wind to brush past Earth's magnetic field on April 29th and 30th, sparking minor geomagnetic activity. Arctic sky watchers should be alert for auroras, but don't be surprised if all you see is twilight. Aurora alerts: text, voice

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

MYSTERIOUS SUN PILLAR ECHOS: Many of us have witnessed sun pillars--columns of light that lance upwards from the horizon just as the sun is rising or setting. They are caused by plate-shaped ice crystals in clouds that bend the rays of the low-hanging sun. While sun pillars are frequently seen, in all seasons and at all latitudes, elusive companions of sun pillars may have been frequently overlooked. They are called sun pillar "echos":

Image credit: Jon Inghram. Larger images: #1, #2

Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains: "13 years ago in Finland, three halo experts saw peculiar 'echoes' straddling an otherwise ordinary sun pillar. They could not be explained and there the matter rested for want of confirmation by another observation. Then, last week, Jon Inghram sent me several sun pillar images. He too had noticed faint 'echoes' on each side of his pillar – the mysterious ice halo was at last confirmed!"

"More details and pictures may be found in an article here. But we still cannot explain them. The Finland observers, Jon and I have each tried simulations using the flattened pyramid crystals invoked to account for elliptical halos. They do not work at all well. We need many more observations! Take plenty of pictures of each pillar. The echoes are easily overlooked or mistaken for cloud patches and have probably been seen many times. Observations under different conditions could help unravel their mystery."

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Mars 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 Apr. 27, 2014, the network reported 7 fireballs.
(7 sporadics)

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 April 29, 2014 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2014 HU2
Apr 25
3.7 LD
22 m
2014 HM4
Apr 25
1.6 LD
18 m
2014 HW
Apr 27
2.1 LD
10 m
2007 HB15
Apr 27
6 LD
12 m
2014 HL2
Apr 28
8.8 LD
25 m
2014 HE5
Apr 29
9.7 LD
36 m
2014 HV2
Apr 29
1.4 LD
27 m
2014 HL129
May 3
0.8 LD
11 m
2014 HT46
May 4
7 LD
21 m
2010 JO33
May 17
4 LD
43 m
2005 UK1
May 20
36.7 LD
1.1 km
1997 WS22
May 21
47.1 LD
1.5 km
2002 JC
May 24
48.7 LD
1.4 km
2014 HQ124
Jun 8
3.2 LD
860 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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