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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 434.3 km/sec
density: 6.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2349 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
2230 UT Jan01
24-hr: C2
2230 UT Jan01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 01 Jan 16
Sunspot AR2473 is decaying and no longer has the type of unstable magnetic field that harbors energy for very strong flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 18
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 01 Jan 2016

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2016 total: 0 days (0%)
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 01 Jan 2016


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 96 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 01 Jan 2016

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 6
storm
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.0 nT
Bz: 0.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2350 UT
Coronal Holes: 01 Jan 16

Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on Jan. 2-3. Credit: SDO/AIA.
Noctilucent Clouds The southern season for noctilucent clouds began on Dec. 13, 2015. The coverage of NLCs over Antarctica is rapidly multiplying as 2016 approaches.
Switch view: Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula, East Antarctica, Polar
Updated at: 01-01-2016 19:55:02
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2016 Jan 01 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
20 %
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 Jan 01 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
30 %
30 %
MINOR
15 %
15 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
30 %
30 %
SEVERE
45 %
45 %
 
Friday, Jan. 1, 2016
What's up in space
 

Marianne's Heaven On Earth Aurora Chaser Tours Chasethelighttours.co.uk 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

NEW YEAR'S GEOMAGNETIC STORM: 2016 began with an explosion--not only of fireworks, but also auroras. On Jan. 1st, a G2-class geomagnetic storm sparked bright lights around the poles as revelers around the world were ringing in the New Year. In Glenfarg, Scotland, fireworks crackled against a backdrop of green:

"Our neighbours let off some fireworks for the New Year," says photographer Stuart Walker. "They were modest compared to the organized display in Edinburgh, but looked great alongside the ongoing aurora."

The storm was the result of a CME strike on New Year's Eve (Dec. 31 @ 00:30 UT). At first the CME's impact had little effect. Indeed, we initially ruled it a "dud." But as Earth moved deeper into the CME's wake, solar wind conditions shifted to favor geomagnetic activity.

The very first sighting of auroras in 2016 may have come from Taichi Nakamura, across the International Date Line in Dunedin, New Zealand:

"It was a beautiful treat to see the auroras kick off the New Year," says Nakamura. "The display began after midnight and kept glowing with waves and beams until morning twilight painted light over the aurora. It is summer now in New Zealand and my four year old son was delighted to come with me as it is warm even at night."

Those were the first auroras of 2016. Ready for seconds? NOAA forecasters estimate a 75% chance of more polar geomagnetic storms on Jan. 1st, subsiding to 45% on Jan. 2nd as Earth moves through the wake of the CME. Aurora alerts: text or voice

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

GREEN COMET MEETS ORANGE STAR: On Jan. 1st, Comet Catalina had a close encounter with Arcturus in the early morning sky. Chris Schur of Payson AZ woke up before dawn to photograph the green comet beside the orange star:

"A really nice photo-op this morning, with the 6th magnitude comet nearly on top of Arcturus," says Schur. "Fortunately, the comet's tail pointed away from the all too brilliant star, and made for a stunning portrait."

Arcturus is an orange giant star 37 light years from Earth. Comet Catalina is much closer, only 0.00001 light years from Earth. The comet gets its green color from the gases in its atmosphere--especially diatomic carbon (C2), which glows green when illuminated by sunlight in the near-vacuum of space.

Comet Catalina will remain in the neighborhood of Arcturus for the next couple of nights as it glides through the constellation Bootes. Observing tips and sky maps may be found in this article from Sky and Telescope.

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery


Realtime Spaceweather Photo Gallery


Realtime Meteor Photo Gallery


Realtime PSC 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 Jan. 1, 2016, the network reported 10 fireballs.
(9 sporadics, 1 Quadrantid)

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 January 1, 2016 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2015 YV9
Dec 26
9.4 LD
32 m
2008 CM
Dec 29
22.8 LD
1.5 km
2015 XV351
Dec 29
5.3 LD
28 m
2015 XC352
Dec 30
5.2 LD
30 m
2015 YT1
Dec 31
13.5 LD
17 m
2004 MQ1
Jan 2
55.4 LD
1.1 km
1999 JV6
Jan 6
12.6 LD
410 m
2015 YC2
Jan 15
4.9 LD
95 m
1685 Toro
Jan 22
60.9 LD
1.7 km
2001 XR1
Jan 23
74.4 LD
1.5 km
2015 VC2
Jan 28
5.8 LD
15 m
2015 XA379
Feb 7
8.1 LD
33 m
2013 VA10
Feb 7
8.5 LD
165 m
2014 QD364
Feb 7
14 LD
16 m
2014 EK24
Feb 14
13.8 LD
94 m
2010 LJ14
Feb 16
68.5 LD
1.2 km
1999 YK5
Feb 19
51.7 LD
2.0 km
2010 WD1
Feb 22
12.3 LD
22 m
1991 CS
Feb 23
65.5 LD
1.4 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, 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. 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.
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
Kotton Grammer, Search Engine Marketing
  sponsored link
Synergy Spray Foam Insulation of Houston TX
  Protection from the Sun!
  more links...
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