Solar wind
speed: 388.4 km/sec
density: 3.9 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 0127 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A3
2258 UT Jan23
24-hr: A4
1205 UT Jan23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2359 UT
Daily Sun: 23 Jan 18
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 23 Jan 2018

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 3 days
2018 total: 10 days (43%)
2017 total: 104 days (28%)
2016 total: 32 days (9%)
2015 total: 0 days (0%)

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%)

Updated 23 Jan 2018


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 70 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 23 Jan 2018

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 1.2 nT
Bz: 0.5 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 0127 UT
Coronal Holes: 23 Jan 18

Earth is exiting a stream of solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA
Noctilucent Clouds Our connection with NASA's AIM spacecraft has been restored! New images from AIM show that the southern season for noctilucent clouds (NLCs) is underway. Come back to this spot every day to see AIM's "daily daisy," which reveals the dance of electric-blue NLCs around the Antarctic Circle..
Switch view: Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula, East Antarctica, Polar
Updated at: 01-23-2018 16:55:03
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2018 Jan 23 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
01 %
01 %
CLASS X
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: 2018 Jan 23 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
20 %
SEVERE
10 %
10 %
 
Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018
What's up in space
       
 

Lights Over Lapland is excited to announce that we now have TWO aurora webcams covering nearly a 200° view of Abisko National Park in Sweden! Watch the auroras dance live, all season long here.

 

CME TO MISS EARTH: Yesterday, Jan. 22nd, a magnetic explosion in the decaying remains of sunspot AR2696 hurled a CME into space (movie). Modelling by NOAA analysts confirms that the CME will miss Earth. No geomagnetic activity will result from the B9-category blast. Free: Aurora Alerts.

BLUE MOON LUNAR ECLIPSE: On Wednesday, Jan. 31st, there's going to be a "Blue Moon"–the second full Moon in a calendar month. People who go outside to look may see a different hue: bright orange. This Blue Moon is going to be eclipsed, swallowed by copper-colored shadow of Earth for more than an hour. The eclipse will be visible from Asia, Australia, and most of North America: visibility map.


Other time zones: UT, EST, CST, MST, PST, HST. Credit: Larry Koehn.

The bright orange color of the eclipse may be chalked up to volcanic activity–or rather, lack thereof. Atmospheric scientist Richard Keen from the University of Colorado explains:

"During a lunar eclipse, most of the light illuminating the Moon passes through Earth's stratosphere where it is reddened by scattering," he says. "If the stratosphere is loaded with dust from volcanic eruptions, the eclipse will be dark. The cataclysmic explosion of Tambora in 1815, for instance, turned the Moon into a dark, starless hole in sky during two subsequent eclipses."

But Earth is experiencing a bit of a volcanic lull. We haven't had a major volcanic blast since 1991 when Mt Pinatubo awoke from a 500 year slumber and sprayed ten billion cubic meters of ash, rock and debris into Earth's atmosphere. Recent eruptions have been puny by comparison and have failed to make a dent on the stratosphere. To Keen, the interregnum means one thing: "This eclipse is going to be bright and beautiful."


From "Two Centuries of Volcanic Aerosols Derived from Lunar Eclipse Records" by R. A. Keen

Keen studies lunar eclipses because of what they can tell us about Earth's energy balance. A transparent stratosphere "lets the sunshine in" and actually helps warm the Earth below. "The lunar eclipse record indicates a clear stratosphere has contributed about 0.2 degrees to warming since the 1980s."

"Mt. Pinatubo finished a 110-year episode of frequent major eruptions that began with Krakatau in 1883," he says. "Since then, lunar eclipses have been relatively bright, and the Jan. 31st eclipse should be no exception."

In the USA, the best time to look is during the hours before sunrise. Western states are favored: The Moon makes first contact with the core of Earth's shadow at 3:48 am Pacific Time, kicking off the partial eclipse. Totality begins at 4:52 am PST as Earth's shadow engulfs the lunar disk for more than an hour. "Maximum orange" is expected around 5:30 am PST. Easternmost parts of the USA will miss totality altogether.

"I welcome any and all reports on the brightness of this eclipse for use in my volcano-climate studies," says Keen.  While actual brightness measurements (in magnitudes) made near mid-totality are most useful, I can also make use of Danjon-scale ratings. Please be sure to note the time, method, and instruments used in your reports." Observations may be submitted here.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

VALENTINE'S DAY IS COMING: Nothing says "I Love You" like a Valentine's pendant from the edge of space. On Dec. 29, 2017, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew a payload-full of these 18k rose gold plated Valentine's pendants to the stratosphere onboard a high-altitude helium balloon:

The necklaces traveled alongside an array of cosmic ray sensors, which the students use to monitor deep-space radiation penetrating Earth's atmosphere.

You can have one for $149.95. Each glittering pendant comes with a greeting card showing the jewelry in flight and telling the story of its journey 36 km (118,110 feet) above the Sierra Nevada mountains of central California. Sales support the Earth to Sky Calculus cosmic ray ballooning program and hands-on STEM research.

Far Out Gifts: Earth to Sky Store
All proceeds support hands-on STEM education


Realtime Aurora 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 Spaceweather.com.

On Jan. 23, 2018, the network reported 23 fireballs.
(23 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 January 24, 2018 there were 1882 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2018 BD
2018-Jan-18
0.1 LD
10
3
2018 AF1
2018-Jan-18
12.4 LD
24.6
89
2018 BF3
2018-Jan-19
0.6 LD
13.5
23
2018 BC
2018-Jan-19
0.7 LD
2.7
5
2018 BX
2018-Jan-19
0.7 LD
5.8
6
2018 BP3
2018-Jan-20
1.2 LD
7
7
2018 BH3
2018-Jan-20
4.2 LD
9.1
31
306383
2018-Jan-22
14.4 LD
17.4
178
2018 AK12
2018-Jan-23
7 LD
22.3
33
2018 BT1
2018-Jan-23
15.3 LD
16.7
90
2018 AV11
2018-Jan-23
11.1 LD
9.1
34
2018 AJ
2018-Jan-23
4.7 LD
5.5
41
2018 BG1
2018-Jan-24
10.9 LD
7.3
28
2018 BP1
2018-Jan-24
19.2 LD
8.2
46
2018 BA3
2018-Jan-24
3 LD
8
22
2018 AL12
2018-Jan-26
8 LD
19.4
36
2018 BU1
2018-Jan-27
3.1 LD
11.3
44
2018 BQ
2018-Jan-27
9.3 LD
3.4
27
2018 AQ2
2018-Feb-02
13.5 LD
17.4
128
2002 CB19
2018-Feb-02
10.5 LD
15.6
36
2018 BG3
2018-Feb-03
11.9 LD
14.1
59
2018 AH12
2018-Feb-04
5.3 LD
5
15
276033
2018-Feb-04
11 LD
34
646
2018 BL1
2018-Feb-09
16.5 LD
20.2
75
2015 BN509
2018-Feb-09
12.9 LD
17.7
257
1991 VG
2018-Feb-11
18.4 LD
2.1
7
2014 WQ202
2018-Feb-11
15.1 LD
19.8
62
2016 CO246
2018-Feb-22
15.3 LD
5.4
21
2017 DR109
2018-Feb-24
3.7 LD
7.4
11
2016 FU12
2018-Feb-26
13.2 LD
4.5
15
2014 EY24
2018-Feb-27
14.8 LD
8
54
2015 BF511
2018-Feb-28
11.7 LD
5.7
39
2003 EM1
2018-Mar-07
16.6 LD
8
45
2017 VR12
2018-Mar-07
3.8 LD
6.3
282
2015 DK200
2018-Mar-10
6.9 LD
8
27
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.
  Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere

Readers, thank you for your patience while we continue to develop this new section of Spaceweather.com. We've been working to streamline our data reduction, allowing us to post results from balloon flights much more rapidly, and we have developed a new data product, shown here:

This plot displays radiation measurements not only in the stratosphere, but also at aviation altitudes. Dose rates are expessed as multiples of sea level. For instance, we see that boarding a plane that flies at 25,000 feet exposes passengers to dose rates ~10x higher than sea level. At 40,000 feet, the multiplier is closer to 50x. These measurements are made by our usual cosmic ray payload as it passes through aviation altitudes en route to the stratosphere over California.

What is this all about? Approximately once a week, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly space weather balloons to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with radiation sensors that detect cosmic rays, a surprisingly "down to Earth" form of space weather. Cosmic rays can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. Furthermore, there are studies ( #1, #2, #3, #4) linking cosmic rays with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in the general population. Our latest measurements show that cosmic rays are intensifying, with an increase of more than 13% since 2015:


Why are cosmic rays intensifying? The main reason is the sun. Solar storm clouds such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) sweep aside cosmic rays when they pass by Earth. During Solar Maximum, CMEs are abundant and cosmic rays are held at bay. Now, however, the solar cycle is swinging toward Solar Minimum, allowing cosmic rays to return. Another reason could be the weakening of Earth's magnetic field, which helps protect us from deep-space radiation.

The radiation sensors onboard our helium balloons detect X-rays and gamma-rays in the energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.

The data points in the graph above correspond to the peak of the Reneger-Pfotzer maximum, which lies about 67,000 feet above central California. When cosmic rays crash into Earth's atmosphere, they produce a spray of secondary particles that is most intense at the entrance to the stratosphere. Physicists Eric Reneger and Georg Pfotzer discovered the maximum using balloons in the 1930s and it is what we are measuring today.

  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.
STEREO
  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
NOAA 27-Day Space Weather Forecasts
  fun to read, but should be taken with a grain of salt! Forecasts looking ahead more than a few days are often wrong.
Aurora 30 min forecast
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Heliophysics
  the underlying science of space weather
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