You are viewing the page for Jul. 5, 2013
  Select another date:
<<back forward>>
SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids Internet Shopping Sites high quality binoculars excellent weather stations all-metal reflector telescopes rotatable microscopes
 
Solar wind
speed: 347.4 km/sec
density: 0.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C4
1942 UT Jul05
24-hr: C8
1301 UT Jul05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 05 July 13
Sunspot AR1785 has a beta-gamma-delta magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 109
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 05 Jul 2013

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Update
05 Jul 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 138sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 05 Jul 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 12.8 nT
Bz: 10.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 05 Jul 13
Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole could reach Earth on July 6-8. Credit: SDO/AIA.

Spaceweather.com is now posting daily satellite images of noctilucent clouds (NLCs), which hover over Earth's poles at the edge of space. The data come from NASA's AIM spacecraft. The north polar "daisy" pictured below is a composite of near-realtime images from AIM assembled by researchers at the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP).
Noctilucent Clouds
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 07-05-2013 11:55:02
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Jul 05 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
55 %
55 %
CLASS X
10 %
10 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2013 Jul 05 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
25 %
25 %
MINOR
10 %
10 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
25 %
25 %
SEVERE
40 %
35 %
 
Friday, Jul. 5, 2013
What's up in space
 

Listen to radar echoes from satellites and meteors, live on listener-supported Space Weather Radio.

 
Spaceweather Radio is on the air

EARTH AT APHELION: Today, you are farther from the sun than usual. Earth's orbit around the sun is not a perfect circle, it's an ellipse, and on July 5th, Earth is at the most distant end of the curve. Astronomers call this "aphelion." When we are at aphelion, the sun appears smaller in the sky (by 1.7%) and global solar heating is actually a little less (by 3.5%) than the yearly average. This provides scant relief from northern summer heat; click here for reasons why.

BIG SOUTHERN SUNSPOTS: One of the biggest sunspot groups of Solar Cycle 24 is emerging near the sun's southeastern limb. AR1785 has a "beta-gamma-delta" magnetic field that harbors energy for powerful X-class solar flares. Another active region trailing behind it, AR1787, is only slightly less potent, with a magnetic field capable of M-class eruptions. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed the sprawling complex during the early hours of July 5th:

These sunspots are a sign that the sun's southern hemisphere is waking up. For most of the current solar cycle, the northern half of the sun has dominated sunspot counts and flare production. The south has been lagging behind--until now. June brought a surge in southern sunspots, and the trend is continuing in July. This "southern awakening" could herald a double-peaked Solar Maximum due in late 2013-early 2014.

The largest dark cores in sunspot complex AR1785-1787 are as wide as Earth, making the ensemble an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. Amateur astronomers are encouraged to monitor developments, as NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of M-flares during the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

ELECTRIC BLUE: Observers of noctilucent clouds often describe their appearance as "electric blue." On July 3rd, Nature provided a color-check when a lightning storm erupted in Szubin, Poland, right in front of a noctilucent display. Marek Nikodem photographed the ensemble:

"I took the picture about 2 hours after sunset," says Nikodem. "This was an absolutely amazing evening." (Can't find the noctilucent clouds? Click here.)

The pale blue colors of the two phenomena are similar, but the resemblance is superficial. Lightning is hot, a genuinely electric discharge that heats the air to 30,000o C or more. The high temperature of the lightning's plasma (ionized air) gives it the same blue color as a hot O-type star. On the other hand, noctilucent clouds are cold, made of ice that crystallizes at the edge of space where the air temperature is -160o C. The tiny ice crystals in noctilucent clouds scatter blue light from the setting sun, which accounts for their lightning-like color.

2013 is shaping up to be a good year for noctilucent clouds (NLCs). The clouds surprised researchers by appearing early this year, and many bright displays have already been recorded. Once confined to the Arctic, NLCs have been sighted in recent years as far south as Utah, Colorado, and Nebraska. They might spread even farther south in 2013.

Observing tips: Look west 30 to 60 minutes after sunset when the sun has dipped 6o to 16o below the horizon. If you see luminous blue-white tendrils spreading across the sky, you've probably spotted a noctilucent cloud.

Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]

SPACE WEATHER BALLOON CLIFFHANGER: On July 2nd a recovery team reached the payload of a space weather balloon launched on June 30th. It was the second attempt to retrieve the balloon from its mountainous landing site in the Sierra Nevada mountains of central California. The first attempt late on July 1st was aborted due to challenging terrain and fading sunlight. This time, the team started earlier and in the full light of midday they found the landing site. It turned out to be a cliffhanger:

As shown above, the payload was dangling from a shear cliff face more than 1400 feet above the foot of the Nevahbe Ridge. Super-climber Michael White, a member of the Earth to Sky Calculus student group that launched the balloon, was able to reach the landing site and snag the payload from the safety of a small ledge just above the parachute. The shoe in the photo belongs to Michael.

This balloon was launched at the peak of a record-setting heat wave in the southwestern USA, bringing temperatures as high as 128 F to desert areas around the launch site. The goal of the curiosity-driven flight was to discover whether the heat wave extended all the up to the Edge of Space. To help answer the question, the balloon's payload was outfitted with two HD video cameras, a pair of GPS trackers, a GPS altimeter, a cryogenic thermometer and an ozone sensor.

Students are analyzing the footage and data now. Stay tuned for results!

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery


Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery


Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

  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 July 5, 2013 there were 1397 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2013 NH4
Jul 6
4.3 LD
30 m
2013 NJ4
Jul 7
3.9 LD
15 m
2001 PJ9
Jul 17
29.2 LD
1.1 km
2006 BL8
Jul 26
9.3 LD
48 m
2003 DZ15
Jul 29
7.6 LD
153 m
2005 WK4
Aug 9
8.1 LD
420 m
1999 CF9
Aug 23
24.7 LD
1.1 km
2002 JR9
Aug 31
63.5 LD
1.4 km
1992 SL
Sep 23
70 LD
1.1 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.
  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
Space Weather Alerts
   
  more links...
©2010 Spaceweather.com. All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
©2013 Spaceweather.com. All rights reserved.