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Solar wind
speed: 405.1 km/sec
density: 2.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2337 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B4
1841 UT Aug04
24-hr: B4
0913 UT Aug04
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 04 Aug 15
None of these sunspots poses a threat for strong flares. Solar activity remains low. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 62
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 Aug 2015

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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 04 Aug 2015


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 106 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 04 Aug 2015

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.1 nT
Bz: 1.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2338 UT
Coronal Holes: 04 Aug 15

There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
Noctilucent Clouds The northern season for NLCs is underway. NASA's AIM spacecraft spotted the first noctilucent clouds over the Arctic Circle on May 19th.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 08-04-2015 19:55:02
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2015 Aug 04 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
10 %
10 %
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: 2015 Aug 04 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
30 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
30 %
SEVERE
15 %
40 %
 
Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015
What's up in space
 

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Chase the Light Tours

CO-ROTATING INTERACTION REGION: NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Aug. 6th when a co-rotating interaction region (CIR) is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. CIRs are transition zones between fast- and slow-moving solar wind streams. Solar wind plasma piles up in these regions, producing density gradients and shock waves that do a good job of sparking auroras. Aurora alerts: text or voice.

INFERIOR CONJUNCTION OF VENUS: On August 15th, Venus will pass almost directly between Earth and the sun--an event astronomers call "inferior solar conjunction." As Venus approaches the sun, the planet is turning its night side toward Earth, reducing its luminous glow to a thin sliver. Astrophotographer Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK, has been monitoring the transformation:

"A reasonably run of clear days in the UK has given me the opportunity to capture the Venusian crescent from 25 July to August 3rd, with July 26, 27 and 28 missing due to poor weather," explains Lawrence. "The progression of the crescent as Venus approaches inferior conjunction is clear."

In the days ahead, the crescent of Venus will become increasingly thin and circular. The horns of the crescent might actually touch when the Venus-sun angle is least on August 15th. This is arguably the most beautiful time to observe Venus--but also the most perilous. The glare of the nearby sun magnified by a telescope can damage the eyes of anyone looking through the eyepiece.

Anthony J. Cook of the Griffith Observatory has some advice for observers: "I have observed Venus at conjunction, but only from within the shadow of a building, or by adding a mask to the front end of the telescope to fully shadow the optics from direct sunlight. This is tricky with a refractor or a catadioptric, because the optics start at the front end of the tube. Here at Griffith Observatory, I rotate the telescope dome to make sure the lens of the telescope is shaded from direct sunlight, even through it means that the lens will be partially blocked when aimed at Venus. With our Newtonian telescope, I add a curved cardboard mask at the front end of the tube to shadow the primary mirror."

For the rest of this week Venus can still be observed without elaborate precautions in deep twilight after sunset. Every evening the crescent grows and narrows. Scan the realtime photo gallery for updates.

Realtime Venus Photo Gallery

NEUTRONS ON A PLANE: Want to experience space weather? It's easy. Just step onboard an airplane. Recently, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been monitoring cosmic radiation levels in the cabins of commercial jets. Measurements of X-rays and gamma-rays show that travelers absorb the equivalent of one or more dental X-rays on a typical flight across the USA. But X-rays and gamma-rays represent only a fraction of the total radiation evnvironment. On July 23, 2015, for the first time, they carried a neutron bubble chamber onboard. Here is what the chamber looked like at the end of a 5 hour flight from Boston to Las Vegas:

Each of the bubbles is formed by an energetic neutron passing through the chamber. By counting the bubbles, it is possible to estimate the total dose of neutron radiation. The answer, for this particular flight, was 1240 microRads (energy range 200 keV - 15 MeV). How does this compare to ionizing radiation? X-ray and gamma-ray sensors carried onboard the same plane accumulated a lesser dose of 860 microRads (energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV).

Lesson: When characterizing the radiation environment inside an airplane, neutrons are at least as important as X-rays and gamma-rays.

Among researchers it is well known that neutrons are an important form of cosmic rays, providing much of the biologically effective radiation dose at altitudes of interest to aviation and space tourism.  Low-energy neutrons also cause single-event upsets in aircraft avionics, especially devices that contain Boron 10.

During the five hours of the July 23rd flight, the radiation sensors accumulated a total dose of 2100 microRads (neutrons + X-rays + gamma-rays). This is ~140 times the dose of cosmic rays at sea level during the same 5 hours.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery


Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery


Realtime Sprite Photo Gallery


Realtime NLC 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 Aug. 4, 2015, the network reported 75 fireballs.
(41 sporadics, 23 Perseids, 6 Southern delta Aquariids, 5 alpha Capricornids)

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 August 4, 2015 there were 1602 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2005 NZ6
Aug 6
76.5 LD
1.4 km
2005 JF21
Aug 16
20.1 LD
1.6 km
2004 BO41
Aug 31
57.3 LD
1.2 km
1991 CS
Sep 4
62.1 LD
1.4 km
2014 KS76
Sep 14
8.7 LD
22 m
2004 TR12
Sep 15
58.8 LD
1.0 km
2000 FL10
Oct 10
65.7 LD
1.9 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
Columbia Northern High School
  Web-based high school science course with free enrollment
  more links...
 
 

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