Solar wind
speed: 329.7 km/sec
density: 10.0 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 1931 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A7
1834 UT Jun19
24-hr: A7
0732 UT Jun19
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 1900 UT
Daily Sun: 19 Jun 19
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 19 Jun 2019

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 31 days
2019 total: 104 days (62%)
2018 total: 221 days (61%)
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%)
2008 total: 268 days (73%)
2007 total: 152 days (42%)
2006 total: 70 days (19%)

Updated 19 Jun 2019


Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 3.58
x1010 W Cold
Max: 49.4
x1010 W Hot (10/1957)
Min: 2.05
x1010 W Cold (02/2009)
explanation | more data
Updated 19 Jun 2019

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 67 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 19 Jun 2019

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.1 nT
Bz: 2.3 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 1931 UT
Coronal Holes: 19 Jun 19


Solar wind flowing from this minor coronal hole could buffet Earth's magnetic field on June 20.
Credit: SDO/AIA

Noctilucent Clouds The northern season for noctilicent clouds is underway. Monitor the daily images from NASA's AIM spacecraft to see how the clouds spread around the Arctic Circle as northern summer unfolds.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 06-19-2019 13:55:03
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2019 Jun 18 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: 2019 Jun 18 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
15 %
MINOR
05 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
15 %
MINOR
25 %
20 %
SEVERE
20 %
15 %
 
Wednesday, Jun. 19, 2019
What's up in space
       
 

Solar minimum is here - but even now strangely beautiful auroras are dancing around the poles. Deep inside the Arctic Circle, the expert guides of Aurora Holidays in Utsjoki, Finland, can help you chase them. Book now!

 

THE SUN LOOKS LIKE A GIANT ORANGE BILLIARD BALL: Today marks the 31st consecutive day that the sun has been without spots. Images of the sun look like a big orange billiard ball--utterly blank. This is a sign of Solar Minimum, a phase of the solar cycle that brings extra cosmic rays, long-lasting holes in the sun's atmosphere, and a possible surplus of noctilucent clouds. Aurora alerts: SMS Text

MYSTERIOUS MOISTURE IN THE MESOSPHERE: The 2019 season for noctilucent clouds (NLCs) has been remarkable, maybe the best ever, with NLCs appearing as far south as Los Angeles CA and Albuquerque NM. What's going on? Researchers aren't sure, but Lynn Harvey of the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics has just found an important clue.

"The mesosphere is quite wet," she says. "Water vapor concentrations are at their highest levels for the past 12 years."


Noctilucent clouds over Piwnice, Poland, on June 18th. Credit: Piotr Majewski

Noctilucent clouds form when summertime wisps of water vapor rise to the top of the atmosphere. Water molecules stick to specks of meteor smoke, gathering into icy clouds that glow electric blue when they are hit by high altitude sunlight.

When noctilucent clouds began appearing at unusually low latitudes in early June, Harvey took a look at data from NASA's Microwave Limb Sounder--a satellite-based sensor that can measure water in the upper atmosphere. Her results are shown in the animated plot below.

"The red line is 2019, while other colors trace previous years," explains Harvey. "The plot cycles from low to high latitudes," showing a wave of moisture in the mesosphere.


It's a veritable tidal wave. Water vapor concentrations at lower latitudes (35 to 45 N) have nearly doubled their normal values, providing a surplus of H2O molecules for noctilucent clouds. Researchers aren't sure where the water is coming from, though.

"Planetary wave activity could be transporting cold air and high water vapor to the 'noctilucent zone,'" speculates James Russell of Hampton University's Center for Atmospheric Sciences. "We've seen this happen before during mid-latitude outbreaks of noctilucent clouds."

The solar cycle may be helping, too. Right now a deep Solar Minimum is underway. Ultraviolet radiation that would normally destroy water in the mesosphere is at low ebb.


Noctilucent clouds over Riga, Latvia,on June 18th. Credit: Ivo Dinsbergs

The wave appears to be breaking. "As we enter the 3rd week of June, the water has stopped increasing," notes Harvey. "Poleward of 70N the water content has been dropping for a few weeks, and right around the north pole it's getting quite dry. At mid-latitudes (35-65N), water content is still high, but it's leveling off."

No one knows what will happen next. Another wave could bring renewed sightings of NLCs at low latitudes. Or conditions could return to normal, restoring the clouds to their usual habitat near the Arctic Circle.  Says Russell, "this all points to mysteries of the atmosphere that have not been solved." Stay tuned!

Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
Free:
Spaceweather.com Newsletter

APOLLO 11 PROOF SILVER DOLLAR: To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, the United States Mint has created a commemorative 2019 Proof Silver Dollar. We decided to celebrate even more by flying the coins to the edge of space. On June 13th, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched this 99.9% silver dollar 99,022 feet above Earth's surface:

You can have it for $179.95. The students are selling the coins to support their cosmic ray ballooning program. The silver dollar is curved and reproduces the helmet of astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Reflected in Buzz's visor are Neil Armstrong, the United States flag, and the lunar lander. The opposite side of the coin shows Neil's first footprint on the Moon. Each of these coins comes with a greeting card showing the item in flight and a certificate of authenticity.

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


Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Free:
Spaceweather.com Newsletter


Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Free: Spaceweather.com Newsletter



  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 Jun. 19, 2019, the network reported 3 fireballs.
(3 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 June 19, 2019 there were 1983 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2019 LL1
2019-Jun-14
5.6 LD
8.9
15
2013 YA14
2019-Jun-14
14.7 LD
11.1
65
2019 KJ
2019-Jun-14
12.6 LD
8.1
68
2019 LQ4
2019-Jun-15
12.8 LD
11.4
39
2019 LU
2019-Jun-16
4.2 LD
8
34
2019 LR
2019-Jun-16
18.3 LD
15
34
2019 LU4
2019-Jun-18
2 LD
8.1
18
2019 LA5
2019-Jun-18
18.3 LD
7.7
29
2019 LC1
2019-Jun-19
19.2 LD
9.9
26
2019 LB2
2019-Jun-20
6.5 LD
3.4
15
2019 LM1
2019-Jun-23
9.8 LD
8.7
26
2019 LC5
2019-Jun-23
13.6 LD
11.1
42
441987
2019-Jun-24
7.7 LD
12.6
178
2008 KV2
2019-Jun-27
17.8 LD
11.4
195
2016 NN15
2019-Jun-28
9.6 LD
8.4
16
2019 LR4
2019-Jun-29
11.3 LD
8.3
31
2019 LV1
2019-Jun-29
5.2 LD
6.2
26
2015 XC352
2019-Jul-01
11.9 LD
4.1
26
2016 OF
2019-Jul-07
12.8 LD
8.5
85
2016 NO56
2019-Jul-07
3.4 LD
12.2
26
2019 KD3
2019-Jul-12
15.5 LD
8
89
2016 NJ33
2019-Jul-12
15 LD
4.5
32
2015 HM10
2019-Jul-24
12.2 LD
9.5
68
2010 PK9
2019-Jul-26
8.2 LD
16.5
155
2006 QQ23
2019-Aug-10
19.4 LD
4.7
339
454094
2019-Aug-12
17 LD
8.2
148
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

SOMETHING NEW! We have developed a new predictive model of aviation radiation. It's called E-RAD--short for Empirical RADiation model. We are constantly flying radiation sensors onboard airplanes over the US and and around the world, so far collecting more than 22,000 gps-tagged radiation measurements. Using this unique dataset, we can predict the dosage on any flight over the USA with an error no worse than 15%.

E-RAD lets us do something new: Every day we monitor approximately 1400 flights criss-crossing the 10 busiest routes in the continental USA. Typically, this includes more than 80,000 passengers per day. E-RAD calculates the radiation exposure for every single flight.

The Hot Flights Table is a daily summary of these calculations. It shows the 5 charter flights with the highest dose rates; the 5 commercial flights with the highest dose rates; 5 commercial flights with near-average dose rates; and the 5 commercial flights with the lowest dose rates. Passengers typically experience dose rates that are 20 to 70 times higher than natural radiation at sea level.

To measure radiation on airplanes, we use the same sensors we fly to the stratosphere onboard Earth to Sky Calculus cosmic ray balloons: neutron bubble chambers and X-ray/gamma-ray Geiger tubes sensitive to energies between 10 keV and 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.

Column definitions: (1) The flight number; (2) The maximum dose rate during the flight, expressed in units of natural radiation at sea level; (3) The maximum altitude of the plane in feet above sea level; (4) Departure city; (5) Arrival city; (6) Duration of the flight.

SPACE WEATHER BALLOON DATA: 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 18% since 2015:

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.

En route to the stratosphere, our sensors also pass through aviation altitudes:

In this plot, 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.

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.

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.

  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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