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Solar wind
speed: 360.4 km/sec
density: 2.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 0629 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: X2
0027 UT Dec20
24-hr: X2
0027 UT Dec 20
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 0600 UT
Daily Sun: 20 Dec 14
Sunspots AR2241 and AR2242 have delta-class magnetic fields that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 156
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 19 Dec 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 19 Dec
2014

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 213 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 19 Dec 2014

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.4 nT
Bz: 0.9 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 0629 UT
Coronal Holes: 20 Dec 14
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of he sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
Noctilucent Clouds As of Nov. 22, 2014, the season for southern hemisphere noctilucent clouds is underway. The south polar "daisy" pictured below is a composite of near-realtime images from NASA's AIM spacecraft.
Switch view: Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctic Penninsula, East Antarctica, Polar
Updated at: 12-19-2014 09:55:04
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2014 Dec 19 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
75 %
75 %
CLASS X
25 %
25 %
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 Dec 19 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
40 %
30 %
MINOR
20 %
30 %
SEVERE
05 %
20 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
25 %
25 %
SEVERE
60 %
65 %
 
Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014
What's up in space
 

Learn to photograph Northern Lights like a pro. Sign up for Peter Rosen's Aurora Photo Courses in Abisko National Park.

 
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WEEKEND MAGNETIC STORMS: NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% to 65% chance of minor geomagnetic storms this weekend when a pair of CMEs is expected to sideswipe Earth's magnetic field. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras after nightfall. Aurora alerts: text, voice

X-FLARE! Big sunspot AR2242 erupted on Saturday, Dec. 20th @ 00:27 UT, producing an intense X1.8-class solar flare. This picture taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows a plume of material flying away from the blast site:

Radio emissions from shock waves rippling through the sun's atmosphere suggest that a CME is en route. However, we are still waiting for data from SOHO coronagraphs to confirm the existence and trajectory of a massive storm cloud. If a CME is coming, it will probably take 2 to 3 days to reach Earth.

There has already been one Earth-effect: Extreme UV radiation from the flare ionized our planet's upper atmosphere and blacked out HF radio communications over Australia and the South Pacific. Below 10 MHz, transmissions were strongly attenuated for more than two hours. Stay tuned for updates. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

RADS ON A PLANE, CONTINUED: Regular readers may remember last month's reports by Dr. Tony Phillips of radiation measurements inside commercial airplanes. During a cross-country trip between Reno NV and Washington DC, he absorbed a dose of ionizing radiation equal to about 3 dental x-rays.

However, not every trip is so "radioactive." On Dec. 17th, he flew from Reno to San Francisco--a short hop over the Sierras to attend the American Geophysical Union meeting--and the dose was much less. These curves show his measurements during the flight:

Compared to last month's travel, there was relatively little radiation on this flight. From take-off to landing, the total dose was only about 3% of a dental X-ray -- a hundred times less than before.

Why so little? For one thing, the flight was brief, less than an hour long. Moreover, it was low. The cruising altitude of the small commuter jet was only 26,000 feet compared to as much as 39,000 feet for last month's cross-country flights. When it comes to "rads on a plane," altitude matters. The source of the radiation is cosmic rays from space; the closer you are to space, the more radiation you are going to absorb. Short, low flights like the Reno to San Francisco hop are best for avoiding exposure.

The data come from a pair of radiation detectors routinely flown to the stratosphere onboard Earth to Sky Calculus Space Weather Buoys. The pager-sized devices are sensitive to ionizing radiation such as X-rays and gamma-rays in the energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV. Ideally, the two detectors should register the same dose rates throughout the flight. Slight differences between the two curves are an indication of the uncertainty in the measurements.

It is important to note that the sensors Phillips carried onboard the plane do not detect one of the most important forms of radiation: neutrons. Neutrons provide much of the biologically effective radiation dose at altitudes of interest to aviation and space tourism. To account for these uncharged particles, the doses discussed above should be doubled or tripled. To improve our estimates of the total dose rate, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus are evaluating neutron detectors for future balloon missions and plane flights.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

EDGE OF SPACE CHRISTMAS CARDS: What do you give to the sky watcher who has everything? How about a Christmas card from the Edge of Space? For only $49.95, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus will fly your holiday greeting or favorite picture to the top of Earth's atmosphere, photograph it, and return the snapshot in time for Christmas. This holiday magic is performed using suborbital helium balloons. The group has previously flown cupcakes, shoes, US presidents, ad banners and telescopes. Contact Dr. Tony Phillips for more information.


Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery


Realtime Meteor 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 Dec. 19, 2014, the network reported 16 fireballs.
(12 sporadics, 3 December Leonis Minorids, 1 December Hydrid)

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 December 20, 2014 there were 1524 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2007 EJ
Jan 12
68.9 LD
1.1 km
1991 VE
Jan 17
40.6 LD
1.0 km
2004 BL86
Jan 26
3.1 LD
650 m
2008 CQ
Jan 31
4.8 LD
36 m
2000 EE14
Feb 27
72.5 LD
1.6 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.
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
Heliophysics
  the underlying science of space weather
Space Weather Alerts
   
  more links...
 
 
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