Solar wind
speed: 511.2 km/sec
density: 3.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1335 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
0748 UT Sep27
24-hr: C1
0748 UT Sep27
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 1300 UT
Daily Sun: 27 Sep 16
The magnetic field of sunspot AR2597 is in decay and no longer poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 23
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 Sep 2016

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2016 total: 20 days (7%)
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 Sep 2016


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 87 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 27 Sep 2016

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 5 storm
24-hr max: Kp= 5
storm
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.0 nT
Bz: 3.2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1335 UT
Coronal Holes: 27 Sep 16

A large coronal hole is turning toward Earth. Solar wind flowing from the structure should reach our planet by Sept. 28-29. Credit: NASA/SDO.
Noctilucent Clouds NASA's AIM spacecraft has suffered an anomaly, and a software patch is required to fix it. As a result, current noctilucent cloud images will not return until late September 2016.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 08-06-2016 16:55:02
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2016 Sep 26 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
05 %
05 %
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: 2016 Sep 26 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
25 %
MINOR
05 %
20 %
SEVERE
01 %
15 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
10 %
MINOR
20 %
20 %
SEVERE
25 %
50 %
 
Tuesday, Sep. 27, 2016
What's up in space
       
 

Directly under the Arctic Circle! Marianne's Arctic Xpress in Tromsø offers fjord, whale and wildlife tours by day, aurora tours by night. Book Now and get a 10% discount on combo day and night adventures.

 

CORONAL HOLE TURNS TOWARD EARTH: A large coronal hole is turning toward Earth, and it is spewing a stream of high-speed solar wind. NOAA forecasters expect the stream to reach our planet on Sept. 28-29 with a 50% chance of G1-class geomagnetic storms when it arrives. At this time of year, even a gentle gust of solar wind can spark bright polar auroras. The incoming stream is almost sure to provoke a nice display. Free: Aurora Alerts


Today's coronal hole. Arrows indicate the flow of solar wind from the yawning magnetic chasm.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

BRIGHT AURORAS: Yesterday, Sept. 25th, Earth passed through a fold in the heliospheric current sheet. The crossing sparked a G1-class geomagnetic storm and bright auroras around the Arctic Circle. Christian Schartner was on an airplane flying from Munich to Iceland when the window filled with an explosion of color:

"What a fantastic start to our Iceland trip!" says Schartner.

Many people have never heard of the heliospheric current sheet. It is one of the biggest things in the solar system--a vast undulating system of electrical currents shaped like the skirt of a ballerina. Earth dips in and out of it all the time. On Sept. 25th, Earth found itself on the side of the current sheet containing negative-polarity magnetic fields. Such fields can open a crack in our planet's magnetosphere, allowing solar wind to pour in and fuel colorful displays like Schartner witnessed.

"Shooting the aurora from inside an airplane was not easy--especially without a tripod," says Schartner. "Thanks to modern technology, I was able to capture it with a fast lens and very high ISO setting."

A POLAR BEAR AT THE EDGE OF SPACE. For the past year and a half,  Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been monitoring cosmic rays in the atmosphere using high-altitude helium balloons. Their latest flight on Sept. 17th was sponsored by this bear:

Allow us to introduce you to Cora, the mascot of Cora Refining, a small company refining precious metals for the dental industry since 1976.  Their generous donation of $750 paid for all the supplies necessary to launch our radiation sensors to the stratosphere. Those Sept. 17th data have just been added to the "Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere" section of Spaceweather.com, below.  Thanks, Cora!

Readers, if you would like to contribute to our growing body of knowledge about atmospheric radiation and see your mascot, photo or logo at the edge of space, please contact Dr. Tony Phillips to sponsor a flight. Sponsorships are currently available for flights scheduled on Oct. 7th, Oct. 18th, and Oct. 27th.

THE STRANGE THING ABOUT THIS SUNSET.... Yesterday at sunset, Mila Zinkova was looking west from Pacifica CA when "something strange happened," she reports. The sun split into multiple layers and a green flash appeared. But, that wasn't the strange thing. Temperature inversions above the ocean surface frequently distort the setting sun off the Califonia coast. "Take a closer look at the picture," urges Zinkova. "Where did that vertical pillar of light at the bottom come from?" Scroll down for the answer:

"It's the spout of a whale," she explains.

In the complete video she recorded, multiple spouts can be seen grazing the bottom of the miraged sun. "Of course the sunset was unusual not because of whales, but because of some very complex temperature inversions in the atmosphere. While the lowest sun was setting, producing green flashes, the upper suns were not in a hurry to leave. They kept disappearing and reappearing."

Just another evening on the California coast.... Turn up the volume and watch it again.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery


Realtime Sprite Photo Gallery



  Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere

Updated
: Sept. 26, 2016 // Next Flight: Oct. 1, 2016

Sept. 20, 2016: 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 12% 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.

  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. 26, 2016, the network reported 17 fireballs.
(17 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 27, 2016 there were 1730 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2016 SC
Sep 25
3.1 LD
12 m
2016 SG
Sep 27
2.3 LD
20 m
2009 UG
Sep 30
7.3 LD
101 m
2100 Ra-Shalom
Oct 9
58.3 LD
1.1 km
2014 UR
Oct 18
12 LD
21 m
2005 SE71
Oct 24
72.2 LD
1.0 km
2003 TL4
Oct 27
10.1 LD
565 m
2003 YT1
Oct 31
13.5 LD
850 m
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
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Heliophysics
  the underlying science of space weather
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