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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 546.7 km/sec
density: 4.8 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2352 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2203 UT Sep02
24-hr: C7
1541 UT Sep02
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 02 Sep 17
Sunspot AR2674 is growing and has developed a "beta-gamma" magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 62
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 02 Sep 2017

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2017 total: 56 days (23%)
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 02 Sep 2017


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 87 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 02 Sep 2017

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 5
storm
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.4 nT
Bz: -2.1 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2352 UT
Coronal Holes: 02 Sep 17

Earth is inside a stream of solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: NASA/SDO.
Noctilucent Clouds Latest images from NASA's AIM spacecraft show that the 2017 northern summer season for noctilucent clouds has finished.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 09-01-2017 22:55:03
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2017 Sep 02 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
15 %
15 %
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 Sep 02 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
25 %
20 %
MINOR
10 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
25 %
SEVERE
20 %
25 %
 
Saturday, Sep. 2, 2017
What's up in space
       
 

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

 

INCREASING CHANCE OF FLARES: Double sunspot AR2674 is rapidly growing, increasing in both area and spot count: movie. As the sunspot grows, its magnetic field is becoming unstable, posing a threat for M-class solar flares. Any such explosions today would be Earth-directed. Free: Solar Flare Alerts

SOLAR WIND SPARKS AURORAS: Intermittent G1-class geomagnetic storms are underway on Sept. 2nd as Earth passes through a fast-moving stream of solar wind. Flowing from a canyon-shaped hole in the sun's atmosphere, the gusty stream is lighting up our planet's poles with dynamic auroras. Last night, Marketa S. Murray photographed this display over the countryside near Fairbanks, Alaska:

"September is beautiful in Alaska with mild temperatures, fall colors and the reflections of auroras," says Murray. "Last night was again an incredible night."

More high-latitude auroras are possible tonight as the solar wind continues to blow at speeds near 600 km/s. Monitor the aurora gallery for sightings. Free: Aurora Alerts

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

A NEW KIND OF SPRITE? Barely 30 years ago, many researchers did not believe that upper atmospheric lightning existed—until 1989 when researchers from the University of Minnesota captured them on video tape. Now there is a menagerie of accepted forms: sprites, elves, gigantic jets, gnomes. These "transient luminous events" (TLEs) appear above thunderclouds, reaching toward space rather than lancing down to the ground like regular lightning.

On Aug.14th, Thomas Ashcraft may have spotted a new kind of sprite. "I was photographing a cluster of sprites over a thunderstorm in western Oklahoma when something curved snaked up behind the main cluster." This frame from his video of the event shows the strange form:

What was it? Experts aren't sure.

Lightning researcher Oscar van der Velde at the Technical University of Catalonia says it could be a troll—a type of TLE that sometimes appears underneath sprites, crawling up tendrils dangling beneath the luminous clusters. "I have recorded many trolls," says van der Velde, "but never such weird curving ones. This is a really exceptional display."

Jozsef Bo'r of the Geodetic and Geophysical Research Institute in Hungary thinks it might be a type of gigantic jet. Gigantic jets are like sprites on steroids—powerful and bright. "A working hypothesis is that the red sprites in the photo occurred first and deposited a cloud of positive charge above the thundercloud. A subsequent gigantic jet was itself rich in positive charge and had to bend around the positive cloud on its way up."

Or it could be something unprecedented. "Even after almost 30 years of sprite observations, we are still seeing new things," says Walter Lyons, past president of the American Meteorological Society and a longtime observer of sprites. "Over the years I have seen thousands of sprites, but only a few curved structures like this -- so this is pretty rare."

"I don't know what to call them," says Ashcraft, who regularly monitors the sky around his private observatory in New Mexico for strange phenomena, "but I am going to keep my eyes open for more."

Realtime Sprite Photo Gallery

EDGE OF SPACE ECLIPSE PENDANTS: On Aug. 21st during the Great American Solar Eclipse, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched 11 space weather balloons from the path of totality. They aimed to photograph the Moon's shadow from the stratosphere--and they succeeded. As a fundraiser, some of the balloons carried pendants into the eclipse. Here's one dipping in and out of the Moon's shadow more than 86,000 feet above the Malheur National Forest in eastern Oregon:

During the 2.5 hour flight, the pendants were wrapped in the Moon's shadow for more than two minutes, experiencing a spooky darkness colder than -50 C.

You can have one for $149.95. Each pendant comes with a unique gift card showing the jewelry passing through the Moon's shadow and floating at the top of Earth's atmosphere. The interior of the card tells the story of the flight and confirms that this gift has been to the edge of space and back again.

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


Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery


Realtime Space Weather 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. 2, 2017, 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 2, 2017 there were 1803 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2017 PL26
2017-Aug-28
14.2 LD
8.4
130
2017 RC
2017-Aug-28
2.4 LD
10.1
9
2017 QN1
2017-Aug-30
5.5 LD
10.5
17
2017 QR35
2017-Aug-30
6.4 LD
6.9
32
2017 QP2
2017-Aug-30
10.1 LD
7.5
33
2017 QQ1
2017-Aug-31
4.8 LD
10.2
39
3122
2017-Sep-01
18.5 LD
13.5
5376
2017 QT17
2017-Sep-01
17.3 LD
10
55
2017 QG18
2017-Sep-01
4.4 LD
6.6
13
2017 QV32
2017-Sep-02
12 LD
11
21
2017 QR32
2017-Sep-02
2.8 LD
18
17
2017 QB35
2017-Sep-03
0.9 LD
4.1
5
2017 RB
2017-Sep-06
3.8 LD
5.2
9
2017 OP68
2017-Sep-10
20 LD
11.7
287
2017 QK18
2017-Sep-11
14.8 LD
7.8
46
2014 RC
2017-Sep-11
15.1 LD
8.9
16
2017 PR25
2017-Sep-23
17.9 LD
13.5
241
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
171576
2017-Oct-22
5.8 LD
21.2
677
2003 UV11
2017-Oct-31
15 LD
24.5
447
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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