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.
| || |
(ALMOST NO) CHANCE OF FLARES: Solar activity is very low and likely to remain so for the next 24 hours. NOAA forecasters estimate a 5% chance of M-flares and no more than a 1% chance of X-flares on Jan. 12th. Solar flare alerts: text or voice.
THE STORM STARTED EARLY: We were expecting a co-rotating interaction region (CIR) to hit Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 12th. It might have arrived a day early. "Here in Inari, Finland, strong auroras appeared on Jan. 11th," reports Rayann Elzein, who photographed a magnificent green outburst over the snowy Lapland:
"This was my last night in Finnish Lapland this January, and I am flying home in a few hours," says Elzein. "What a great way to end a wonderful trip in the Arctic!"
CIRs are transition zones between fast- and slow-moving solar wind streams. Solar wind plasma piles up in these regions, producing density gradients and shock waves that do a good job of sparking auroras. The CIR of Jan. 11th is off to a good start. Aurora alerts: text or voice.
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
LEAPING SUNDOGS: At this time of year, when northern skies fill with crystals of ice, it is not unusual to see rainbow-colored splashes of light to the left and right of the sun. These are sundogs, formed by the action of ice on sunlight. Yesterday, the daughter of photographer Robert Snache saw a sundog ... and leaped:
"We had snow squalls in the late afternoon--hence the ice crystals," says Snache, who took the picture from Rama First Nation, Ontario, Canada. "The same crystals formed a smiling rainbow (circumzenithal arc) overhead and a faint 22° halo around the sun. It was a beautiful display of ice halos."
More ice halos are in the offing as northern winter deepens. Browse the gallery for sightings.
Realtime Spaceweather Photo Gallery
Realtime Meteor Photo Gallery
Realtime Comet Photo Gallery
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. 12, 2016, the network reported 15 fireballs.
(13 sporadics, 2 Canum Venaticids)
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]
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 12, 2016 there were potentially hazardous asteroids. 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 |
These measurements are based on regular space weather balloon flights: learn more.
|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) |
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.
| ||The official U.S. government space weather bureau |
| ||The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena. |
| ||Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever. |
| ||3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory |
| ||Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO. |
| ||from the NOAA Space Environment Center |
| ||the underlying science of space weather |
| ||Web-based high school science course with free enrollment |