Solar wind
speed: 465.6 km/sec
density: 16.3 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 0118 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A1
1858 UT Sep23
24-hr: A1
1417 UT Sep23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2359 UT
Daily Sun: 23 Sep 18
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI

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

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 10 days
2018 total: 152 days (57%)
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 23 Sep 2018


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 68 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 22 Sep 2018

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: 2.6 nT
Bz: 0.8 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 0117 UT
Coronal Holes: 23 Sep 18

Solar wind flowing from this poorly organized coronal hole could reach Earth on Sept. 24-25. Credit: SDO/AIA
Noctilucent Clouds The season for noctilucent clouds (NLCs) in the northern hemisphere has come to an end. Images from NASA's AIM spacecraft show no NLCs around the north pole.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 09-03-2018 14:55:02
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2018 Sep 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 Sep 23 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
30 %
25 %
MINOR
10 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
25 %
30 %
SEVERE
40 %
30 %
 
Monday, Sep. 24, 2018
What's up in space
       
 

Lights Over Lapland has a brand-new website full of exciting adventures in Abisko National Park, Sweden! Take a look at our aurora activities and book your once-in-a-lifetime trip with us today!

 

EQUINOX AURORAS: Northern autumn has begun, and that means it's aurora season around the Arctic Circle. Equinox cracks in Earth's magnetic field are allowing solar wind to penetrate the magnetosphere, energizing the Northern Lights. "Hooray for Northern Autumn!" says Thomas Kast who saw an impressive display last night in Oulu, Finland. "It's impossible to sleep with these images in my mind." Browse the aurora gallery for more. Free: Aurora Alerts

ROBOTS LAND ON ASTEROID RYUGU: This weekend, Japan made history by deploying two rovers on the surface of a near-Earth asteroid. The mechanical explorers dropped from their mothership, Hayabusa2, less than 100 meters above Ryugu, and now they are hopping across the space rock's cratered landscape. This picture was taken by Rover-1A in mid-hop:

Hopping is necessary because the asteroid's gravity is too weak for simple rolling.  Instead of wheels, the rovers have rotating motors inside that allow them to shift their momentum and, thus, make little jumps across the asteroid's rugged surface. Mission controllers are taking great care that the rovers, which measure 18 cm by 7 cm and weigh only 1 kg, do not fly into space.

As historic as this achievement is, it is only the beginning: Rover-1A and 1B are on a reconnaissance mission for two more robots slated to land later this year.  In October, Hayabusa2 will release MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout), a larger lander made by the German Aerospace Center. MASCOT will be followed, in turn, by another Japanese robot.


Above: Hayabasa2 photographs its own shadow on the asteroid. Credit: JAXA

Exploring Ryugu is important. Classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid, this 900-meter wide space rock can theoretically come closer to our planet than the Moon. This makes it a potential target for asteroid mining. Hayabasa2 will discover what valuable metals may be waiting there. Ryugu is also a very primitive body, possibly containing a chemical history of the formation of our solar system billions of years ago.

Launched in December 2014, Hayabusa2 reached asteroid Ryuga in June of this year. It is scheduled to orbit the asteroid for about a year and a half before returning to Earth in late 2020, carrying samples of Ryugu for analysis by researchers. Stay tuned for updates!

A sharable version of this story is available here.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

LASER-ETCHED MILLENNIUM FALCON: It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs! On Sept. 16, 2018, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched the Millennium Falcon to the stratosphere. Riding onboard a high-altitude cosmic ray balloon, the laser-etched crystal spaceship traveled 31.9 km (104,658 feet) above Earth's surface:

You can have it for $129.95. The students are selling the Falcon to fund the Earth to Sky ballooning program. Each one comes with a greeting card showing the Falcon in flight and telling the story of its journey to the edge of space. Also included: an LED-illuminated stand. This creates a colorful visual effect and allows the Falcon to be used as a far-out night light.

Far Out Gifts: Earth to Sky Store
All sales 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 Sep. 23, 2018, the network reported 13 fireballs.
(13 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 September 24, 2018 there were 1923 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2018 SC1
2018-Sep-18
4.1 LD
8
11
2018 SJ1
2018-Sep-18
1.7 LD
15.3
35
2018 SC
2018-Sep-18
0.7 LD
14
9
2018 RM4
2018-Sep-18
11 LD
11.2
29
2018 RF8
2018-Sep-19
1.4 LD
15.8
25
2018 RB4
2018-Sep-19
17.9 LD
3.6
15
2018 SQ1
2018-Sep-20
2 LD
18.7
17
2017 SL16
2018-Sep-20
8.5 LD
6.4
25
2018 SR1
2018-Sep-22
17.1 LD
14.1
114
2018 RH6
2018-Sep-22
8.6 LD
6
11
2018 RQ1
2018-Sep-24
4.1 LD
3.1
54
2018 SK
2018-Sep-25
13.1 LD
7.7
25
2018 SS1
2018-Sep-27
6.5 LD
14.3
68
2018 SM1
2018-Sep-27
6.8 LD
5.5
98
2018 SP1
2018-Oct-04
15.3 LD
16.8
93
2018 EB
2018-Oct-07
15.5 LD
15.1
155
2014 US7
2018-Oct-17
3.2 LD
8.7
19
2013 UG1
2018-Oct-18
10.4 LD
13.4
123
2016 GC221
2018-Oct-18
8.7 LD
14.4
39
475534
2018-Oct-29
7.5 LD
18.1
204
2002 VE68
2018-Nov-04
14.7 LD
8.6
282
2010 VQ
2018-Nov-07
15.6 LD
3.8
10
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
Spaceweather.com welcomes two supporters of science communication: SEO Phoenix AZ and CRAS, the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences.
   
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