SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
For us is important to Study the meteor from weather balloons because we think is a place where we can avoid the weather problems (this days we have a terrible weather in Spain) . Second because the transparence of the atmosphere is so good that mean that you can point to the horizon where is the mayor volume of atmosphere available so more representative of the real activity. Third, to have a new point of view of the meteors to have orbits with higher precisions.
Solar wind speed: 490.6 km/sec density: 4.7 protons/cm3 explanation | more data Updated: Today at 2350 UT
X-ray Solar Flares 6-hr max: B3 2051 UT Jan05 24-hr: B3 2051 UT Jan05 explanation | more data Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 05 Jan 16
None of these sunspots poses a threat for strong flares. Solar activity is low. Credit: SDO/HMI
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 05 Jan 2016
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 05 2200 UTC
Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016
What's up in space
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CME MISSES EARTH... A coronal mass ejection (CME) expected to hit Earth on Jan. 3-4 did not. It appears to have missed, sailing wide of our planet. As a result, NOAA forecasters have downgraded the chance of a geomagnetic storm on Jan. 5th to 25%. Aurora alerts: text or voice
...BUT A STORM IS COMING ANYWAY: A broad hole has opened up in the sun's atmosphere, and it is spewing solar wind toward Earth. This is called a "coronal hole." It is the deep blue-colored region in this extreme UV image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:
Coronal holes are places in the sun's atmosphere where the sun's magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape. White arrows indicate solar wind plasma flowing into space.
A stream of solar wind flowing from this coronal hole could reach Earth as early as Jan. 6th. According to NOAA forecasters, there is a 60% chance of G1-class geomagnetic storms when the solar wind arrives. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on Jan. 6-7. Aurora alerts: text or voice
QUADRANTID METEOR BALLOON: When the annual Quadrantid meteor shower peaked on Jan. 4th, the skies of Spain were cloudy, and rain was falling on astronomers at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM). Determined to see the shower no matter what, they launched a helium balloon to the stratosphere where the sky way clear. "For the first time ever," reports UCM astronomy postdoc Alejandro Sánchez de Miguel, "we have photographed Quadrantid meteors from the stratosphere--in color and HD." Their video captured as many as half-a-dozen Quadrantids:
The Quadrantids are notoriously difficult to photograph. The meteors are typically faint; moreover, the shower peaks in early January when winter weather often blocks the view of northern skies. The UCM group's successful capture of Quadrantids high above the clouds is a significant accomplishment.
According to Sánchez, there are three good reasons to observe meteor showers using balloons:
"First, the stratosphere is a place where we can avoid bad weather. Lately we have been having terrible weather in Spain!"
"Second, the stratosphere is so transparent. That means we can point our cameras at the horizon and sample a large volume of atmosphere, and capture the maximum number of meteors."
"Third, the stratosphere gives us a new point of view that we can use to calculate meteoroid orbits with higher precision."
Spaceweather.com and Earth to Sky Calculus recently observed the Geminid meteor shower from the stratosphere using a helium balloon of their own: full story. Perhaps a transcontinental collaboration is in the offing. Stay tuned for more pictures from the edge of space.
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. 5, 2016, the network reported 65 fireballs. (47 sporadics, 17 Quadrantids, 1 lambda Bootid)
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 5, 2016 there were 1648 potentially hazardous asteroids.
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.