Solar wind
speed: 343.7 km/sec
density: 5.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 0359 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B2
1850 UT Nov27
24-hr: B4
0301 UT Nov27
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2359 UT
Daily Sun: 27 Nov 15
Not one of these sunspots has the type of unstable magnetic field that poses a threat for strong flares. Solar activity is low. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 48
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 Nov 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 27 Nov 2015

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 104 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 27 Nov 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
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 12.6 nT
Bz: 3.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 0357 UT
Coronal Holes: 26 Nov 15

There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
Noctilucent Clouds The northern season for NLCs is finished. According to NASA's AIM spacecraft, the last clouds were observed over Greenland on Aug. 27th. Now the waiting begins for the southern season expected to begin in November.
Switch view: Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula, East Antarctica, Polar
Updated at: 11-27-2015 20:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2015 Nov 27 2240 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
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 Nov 27 2240 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
25 %
25 %
15 %
15 %
Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015
What's up in space

Marianne's Heaven On Earth Aurora Chaser Tours invites you to join them in their quest to find and photograph the Aurora Borealis. Experience the winter wonderland in the Tromsø Area.

Chase the Light Tours

NO CHANCE OF FLARES: Solar activity is low. There are four sunspot groups on the Earth-facing side of the sun, but not one of them has the type of unstable magnetic field that poses a threat for strong explosions. NOAA forecasters say there is a scant 5% chance of M-flares and no more than a 1% chance of X-flares on Nov. 27th. Solar flare alerts: text or voice

SOLAR PROMINENCES: With no sunspots actively flaring, the face of the sun is quiet. The edge of the sun, however, is not. Astronomers are monitoring three large prominences--plumes of magnetized plasma jutting tens of thousands of kilometers into space. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured all three in a single image on Nov. 27th:

None of these structures is stable. Magnetic fields holding the plasma aloft are twisted, tangled, and prone to explosive magnetic reconnection. Any of the three could erupt at any moment.

Because the prominences are so large--each one is taller than Earth--they make easy targets for backyard solar telescopes. Amateur astronomers are encouraged to train their optics on the edge of the sun. Solar flare alerts: text or voice

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

THE MOLTEN FROSTY MOON: According to folklore, this week's full Moon is the "Frosty Moon," named after the ground frosts of northern autumn, which sparkle so beautifully in full moonlight. When John Stetson of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, watched the moonrise on Nov. 25th, however, the Frosty Moon appeared to be melting:

"Earth's atmosphere, acting as a lens, bent the light on the horizon to create this effect," explains Stetson. "It is called an Etruscan Vase moonrise."

This phenomenon is most often seen when the Moon is rising over a body of water. Stetson was watching from the shore of Casco Bay. The lower Moon (the base of the Etruscan Vase) is an inverted image of the upper Moon produced by refraction in a layer of warmer and less dense air close to the water's surface. "The temperature of water in the Bay was 51 degrees," says Stetson. "This created a layer of relatively warm air just above the water's surface. The ambient air temperature was much lower, only 41 degrees." In short, conditions were perfect for the mirage.

Browse the realtime photo gallery for more images of the Frosty Moon--molten and otherwise.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

THANKSGIVING SKIES (UPDATED): Thanksgiving is the biggest travel holiday of the year in the United States. Millions of people board airplanes and fly long hours to visit friends and family. Dreading the trip? Think of it as a sky watching opportunity. There are some things you can see only through the window of an airplane, like this:

This is called "the glory"--a bulls-eye of softly colored rings surrounding the shadow of the airplane cast on cloudtops.

The picture shown above was taken by pilot and reader Ulrich Beinert. "The glory is always centered on the photographer's position in the plane," Beinert notes. "In my case it was around the cockpit." When passengers see the glory, however, the body of the plane is in the bulls-eye: example.

Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains the phenomenon: "The rings are formed when light is scattered backwards by individual water droplets in the clouds. The more uniform the size of the droplets, the more rings you will see. They swell and contract as you travel over clouds with smaller or larger droplets."

In this article, Cowley describes even more things you can see through the airplane window. Happy Thanksgiving!

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

Realtime Noctilucent Cloud 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

On Nov. 27, 2015, the network reported 12 fireballs.
(12 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 November 28, 2015 there were 1637 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2015 VE66
Nov 21
7.5 LD
63 m
2015 WZ1
Nov 22
1.6 LD
5 m
2015 VO142
Nov 24
1 LD
7 m
2015 VH2
Nov 24
12.9 LD
14 m
2003 EB50
Nov 29
48.8 LD
2.2 km
2007 BG29
Dec 1
54.1 LD
1.1 km
2015 VZ145
Dec 8
9.2 LD
80 m
1998 WT24
Dec 11
10.9 LD
1.1 km
2011 YD29
Dec 24
9.7 LD
24 m
2003 SD220
Dec 24
28.4 LD
1.8 km
2008 CM
Dec 29
22.8 LD
1.5 km
2004 MQ1
Jan 2
55.4 LD
1.1 km
1999 JV6
Jan 6
12.6 LD
410 m
1685 Toro
Jan 22
60.9 LD
1.7 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.
  Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere
Situation Report -- Oct. 30, 2015 Stratospheric Radiation (+37o N)
Cosmic ray levels are elevated (+6.1% above the Space Age median). The trend is flat. Cosmic ray levels have increased +0% in the past month.
Sept. 06: 4.14 uSv/hr (414 uRad/hr)
Sept. 12: 4.09 uSv/hr (409 uRad/hr)
Sept. 23: 4.12 uSv/hr (412 uRad/hr)
Sept. 25: 4.16 uSv/hr (416 uRad/hr)
Sept. 27: 4.13 uSv/hr (413 uRad/hr)
Oct. 11: 4.02 uSv/hr (402 uRad/hr)
Oct. 22: 4.11 uSv/hr (411 uRad/hr)
These measurements are based on regular space weather balloon flights: learn more.

Approximately once a week, 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. Our measurements show that someone flying back and forth across the continental USA, just once, can absorb as much ionizing radiation as 2 to 5 dental X-rays. Here is the data from our latest flight, Oct. 22nd:

Radiation levels peak at the entrance to the stratosphere in a broad region called the "Pfotzer Maximum." This peak is named after physicist George Pfotzer who discovered it using balloons and Geiger tubes in the 1930s. Radiation levels there are more than 80x sea level.

Note that the bottom of the Pfotzer Maximim is near 55,000 ft. This means that some high-flying aircraft are not far from the zone of maximum radiation. Indeed, according to the Oct 22th measurements, a plane flying at 45,000 feet is exposed to 2.79 uSv/hr. At that rate, a passenger would absorb about one dental X-ray's worth of radiation in about 5 hours.

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.

  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.
  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
  the underlying science of space weather
Synergy Spray Foam Insulation of Houston TX
  Protection from the Sun!
Kotton Grammer, Search Engine Marketing
  a sponsor of
  more links...
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