Solar wind
speed: 588.2 km/sec
density: 14.6 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 0327 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1800 UT Aug21
24-hr: C5
0317 UT Aug21
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2359 UT
Daily Sun: 20 Aug 17
Sprawling sunspot AR2671 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 43
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 20 Aug 2017

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2017 total: 56 days (24%)
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 20 Aug 2017


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 83 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 20 Aug 2017

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 6 storm
24-hr max: Kp= 6
storm
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.1 nT
Bz: -2.6 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 0327 UT
Coronal Holes: 20 Aug 17

Earth is inside a stream of solar wind flowing from this large northern coronal hole. Credit: NASA/SDO.
Noctilucent Clouds They're back! Images of noctilucent clouds from NASA's AIM spacecraft are available again. The spacecraft's orbit had recently changed, requiring a new way to point AIM's science instruments. This problem has now been solved, and "daily daisies" have returned to Spaceweather.com.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 08-20-2017 15:55:03
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2017 Aug 21 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
25 %
25 %
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: 2017 Aug 21 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
25 %
10 %
MINOR
05 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
25 %
25 %
SEVERE
35 %
20 %
 
Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017
What's up in space
       
 

Lights Over lapland is excited to announce that Autumn Aurora Adventures are available for immediate booking! Reserve your adventure of a lifetime in Abisko National Park, Sweden today!

 

SPACE WEATHER SERVICE ALERT: On Monday, Aug. 21st, during the Great American Solar Eclipse, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus plan to launch as many as a dozen space weather balloons into the Moon's shadow. Floating high above the path of totality, cameras will snap pictures while cosmic ray sensors map radiation levels. Because webmaster Dr. Tony Phillips is leading one of the launch teams, regular updates to Spaceweather.com might not take place on Aug. 20th and 21st. The consolation prize will be unique data and photos, post-eclipse. Sorry for the interruption! Browse: Realtime Eclipse Photo Gallery

WHY GO TO THE PATH OF TOTALITY? The USA is about to experience an historic solar eclipse. In most places, the eclipse will be partial--that is, the Moon will cross the sun off-center leaving only a crescent-shaped portion of the solar disk exposed. Is it really worth the trip to the path of totality when you can see most of the sun covered from the comfort of your own home? Pulitzer prize winner Annie Dillard witnessed both types of eclipse in 1979, and her comparison might help you make up your mind:

"A partial eclipse is very interesting. It bears almost no relation to a total eclipse. Seeing a partial eclipse bears the same relation to seeing a total eclipse as kissing a man does to marrying him, or as flying in an airplane does to falling out of an airplane."

During the minutes of totality, the whole world changes. Saying that day turns into night barely scratches the surface of it. The shadow of the Moon lances down to Earth from a quarter million miles away. On one end is you; on the other end is a million square miles of dusty lunar terrain. You're connected, and you can feel the cold.


Image Credit & Copyright: Tunç Tezel (TWAN), Alkim Ün

Darkness inside the path of totality has an alien quality. Because the shadow is only 70 miles wide, you can see daylight at the edges even while you stand in the dark core. This distant scattered light produces a slight reddish glow and unusual shadow effects. Many birds stop singing, daytime flower blossoms begin to close as if for the night, and bees return to their hives.

"What you see in an eclipse is entirely different from what you know," says Dillard, whose brilliant essay "Total Eclipse" is a must-read for anyone deciding whether to stay home ... or have their minds blown.

Realtime Eclipse Photo Gallery

WEIRD WAYS TO OBSERVE THE SOLAR ECLIPSE: During the Great American Solar Eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017, only a narrow slice of the USA will experience totality--the magical moment when the disk of the Moon completely covers the sun. The rest of the country will see a partial eclipse. The sun, still blindingly bright, will turn into a crescent as the Moon passes in front of it off-center. How do you safely observe this phenomenon? Believe it or not, you probably already own a solar eclipse viewer. It's in your kitchen. John Stetson of Maine demonstrates: 

"It's a vegetable steamer," explains Stetson. "During the eclipse on the 21st, sunbeams projected through holes in the steamer will appear as crescents."

"The Chinese were the first to record the use of pinhole projection to observe eclipses in 500 BCE," he adds. "At the beginning of Western Civilization, Aristotle also wrote about this phenomenon."

Looking through his kitchen in Brisbane, Australia, Duncan Waldron found something else that works. "Try a water biscuit," he suggests. "With smaller holes, you'll see more detail of the bright crescent Sun."

This proves that you have have your eclipse and eat it, too.

Anything with pinholes or tiny gaps can serve this purpose. Colanders are ideal. Even a tree will do the trick. Sunbeams lancing through gaps in the leafy canopy form crescent shaped spots on sidewalks and other surfaces. "Here is my son, Charley, standing behind a bush on June 10, 2002 during a partial eclipse," says Stetson. "Crescents may be seen projected onto his shirt."

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

SOLAR ECLIPSE PENDANTS: Would you like to support our Solar Eclipse Balloon Network? Here's one way: Buy a space pendant. This solar eclipse-themed necklace flew to the stratosphere on July 2, 2017, attached to the payload of an Earth to Sky Calculus space weather balloon:


The payload contained more just like it. If you buy one now for $99.95, we will fly it back to the stratosphere during the Great American Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017, where it will be enveloped by the Moon's cool shadow above our launch site in Oregon. No additional charge! Just make a note in the COMMENTS BOX of the shopping cart: "Please fly my pendant into the eclipse!" Each pendant comes with a greeting card showing the jewelry in flight and telling the story of its journey to the stratosphere and back again.

More items from the edge of space may be found in the Earth to Sky Store. All proceeds support atmospheric radiation monitoring and hands-on STEM education.

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


Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery


Realtime Noctilucent Cloud 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. 21, 2017, the network reported 18 fireballs.
(16 sporadics, 2 Northern delta Aquariids)

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 22, 2017 there were 1803 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2017 PD25
2017-Aug-16
9.7 LD
7.9
32
2017 QN2
2017-Aug-20
0.6 LD
15.3
9
2017 QO1
2017-Aug-21
10.6 LD
3.7
14
2017 PV25
2017-Aug-22
5.5 LD
6.5
42
2017 QT1
2017-Aug-22
2.6 LD
20.6
15
2017 PE
2017-Aug-24
19.4 LD
7.1
46
2017 QJ2
2017-Aug-25
9.1 LD
20.2
22
2017 QX1
2017-Aug-26
12.9 LD
7
38
2017 QU1
2017-Aug-27
16.2 LD
10.1
37
2017 PL26
2017-Aug-28
14.2 LD
8.4
129
2017 QN1
2017-Aug-30
5.5 LD
10.6
18
2017 QP2
2017-Aug-30
10.1 LD
7.5
33
2017 QQ1
2017-Aug-31
4.8 LD
10.1
39
3122
2017-Sep-01
18.5 LD
13.5
5376
2017 OP68
2017-Sep-10
20 LD
11.7
296
2014 RC
2017-Sep-11
15.1 LD
8.9
16
2017 PR25
2017-Sep-23
17.9 LD
13.5
224
1989 VB
2017-Sep-29
7.9 LD
6.3
408
2012 TC4
2017-Oct-12
0.1 LD
7.6
16
2005 TE49
2017-Oct-13
8.5 LD
11.2
16
2013 UM9
2017-Oct-15
17 LD
7.8
39
2006 TU7
2017-Oct-18
18.7 LD
13.3
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

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
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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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