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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 525.3 km/sec
density: 8.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2352 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B9
2133 UT Jul11
24-hr: B9
2133 UT Jul11
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 11 Jul 16
None of these sunspots poses a threat for strong flares. Solar activity remains low. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 46
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 11 Jul 2016

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2016 total: 16 days (8%)
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 11 Jul 2016


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 94 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 10 Jul 2016

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.4 nT
Bz: 5.5 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2353 UT
Coronal Holes: 10 Jul 16

Earth is inside a stream of solar wind flowing from this enormous coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA.
Noctilucent Clouds Images from NASA's AIM spacecraft are once again appearing on Spaceweather.com. Check back daily for space-based sightings of noctilucent clouds.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 07-11-2016 15:55:02
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2016 Jul 11 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
10 %
10 %
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 Jul 11 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
25 %
25 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
30 %
30 %
SEVERE
30 %
30 %
 
Monday, Jul. 11, 2016
What's up in space
       
 

It's waiting for you: The most successful Aurora Photo Tour on Earth! 100% success rate 4 years in a row and winner of the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award. Join LapplandMedia's aurora tours in Abisko, Swedish Lapland!

 

SUBSIDING CHANCE OF STORMS: Earth is exiting a stream of solar wind flowing from an enormous coronal hole on the sun. As the wind speed subsides, the changes of storms are subsiding along with it. NOAA forecasters estimate a 45% chance of G1-class disturbances on July 11th, dropping to 30% on July 12th. Aurora alerts: text or voice

ELECTRIC BLUE GRAVITY WAVES: As July unfolds, sky watchers are seeing noctilucent clouds almost every night over northern Europe. Created by summertime water vapor freezing around meteor smoke in the upper atmosphere, the electric-blue forms can be mesmerizing. Consider this report from photographer Inta Nuke of Carnikava, Latvia: "July 10th was heavenly. I've never seen such bright, unusual shapes--almost mysterious." Almost. Scroll past Nuke's photo for an explanation:

The luminous swirls in Nuke's picture are a sign of gravity waves.

Gravity waves are, essentially, waves of pressure and temperature kick-started in the lower atmosphere by, e.g., powerful storm systems. Gravity does not vary inside the waves; they get their name from the fact that gravity acts as a restoring force that tries to restore equilibrium to up-and-down moving air.  Gravity waves can propagate all the way from Earth's surface up to the mesosphere, where they imprint themselves on the the forms of noctilucent clouds.

Often, gravity waves break in the noctilucent zone, dumping their energy and momentum there.  Laser radar studies of noctilucent wave structures can trace this energy and tell researchers a great deal about upper atmospheric circulation.

Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery

SPACE LIGHTNING OVER EUROPE: Summer thunderstorm season is underway in Europe. As a result, space lightning is on the rise. Martin Popek photographed these specimens over Nýdek in the Czech republic on July 10th:

These are sprites--an exotic form of upper atmospheric electricity sometimes called "space lightning" because they reach altitudes associated with meteors, noctilucent clouds and auroras. Some researchers believe they are linked to cosmic rays: Subatomic particles from deep space striking the top of Earth's atmosphere produce secondary electrons that, in turn, could provide the spark that triggers sprites.

Although sprites have been seen for at least a century, most scientists did not believe they existed until after 1989 when sprites were photographed by cameras onboard the space shuttle. Now "sprite chasers" routinely photograph sprites from their own homes. "They are easily detected by certain cameras," says lightning scientist Oscar van der Velde of the Technical University of Catalonia, Spain. "If a storm is in the mood, you may record one every few minutes." Give it a try!

Realtime Sprite Photo Gallery


Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery


Realtime Aurora 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 Jul. 11, 2016, the network reported 25 fireballs.
(19 sporadics, 4 July Pegasids, 1 Microscorpiid, 1 Northern June Aquilid)

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 July 11, 2016 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2016 NJ22
Jul 7
0.7 LD
10 m
2016 MO
Jul 7
6.6 LD
45 m
2016 NN15
Jul 8
4.3 LD
20 m
2016 ND1
Jul 10
10.4 LD
42 m
2016 NK22
Jul 11
0.7 LD
7 m
2016 NC1
Jul 13
7.3 LD
34 m
2016 NS
Jul 20
8.7 LD
35 m
2002 KL6
Jul 22
26.6 LD
1.4 km
2011 BX18
Jul 25
52.7 LD
1.1 km
2016 NW15
Jul 26
13.7 LD
35 m
2016 NX22
Aug 2
13 LD
88 m
2005 OH3
Aug 3
5.8 LD
28 m
2000 DP107
Aug 12
66.5 LD
1.0 km
2004 BO41
Sep 7
38.9 LD
1.1 km
2015 KE
Sep 10
14.9 LD
23 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.
  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. For example, here is the data from a flight on Oct. 22, 2015:

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
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