You are viewing the page for Feb. 12, 2019
  Select another date:
<<back forward>>
SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 377.6 km/sec
density: 4.9 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2349 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A1
1801 UT Feb12
24-hr: A1
1801 UT Feb12
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 12 Feb 19
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 12 Feb 2019

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 12 days
2019 total: 26 days (60%)
2018 total: 221 days (61%)
2017 total: 104 days (28%)
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%)
2008 total: 268 days (73%)
2007 total: 152 days (42%)
2006 total: 70 days (19%)

Updated 12 Feb 2019


Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 3.86
x1010 W Cold
Max: 49.4
x1010 W Hot (10/1957)
Min: 2.05
x1010 W Cold (02/2009)
explanation | more data
Updated 12 Feb 2019

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 70 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 12 Feb 2019

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.5 nT
Bz: 0.9 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2348 UT
Coronal Holes: 12 Feb 19

Solar wind flowing from this south polar coronal hole could graze Earth's magnetic field on Feb. 13th, causing minor geomagnetic unrest.. Credit: SDO/AIA
Noctilucent Clouds The southern season for noctilucent clouds (NLCs) has begun! NASA's AIM spacecraft is detecting electric blue clouds at the edge of space over Antarctica.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at:
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2019 Feb 12 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
01 %
01 %
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: 2019 Feb 12 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
35 %
MINOR
01 %
10 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
20 %
MINOR
25 %
35 %
SEVERE
15 %
40 %
 
Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019
What's up in space
       
 

Solar minimum is here - but even now strangely beautiful auroras are dancing around the poles. Deep inside the Arctic Circle, the expert guides of Aurora Holidays in Utsjoki, Finland, can help you chase them. Book now!

 

GEOMAGNETIC UNREST POSSIBLE THIS WEEK: Solar wind flowing from a south polar hole in the sun's atmosphere might graze Earth's magnetic field on Feb. 13th or 14th. If so, Arctic sky wacthers will get a nice Valentine's gift from the heavens as geomagnetic unrest sparks auroras--possibly pink. Aurora Alerts: SMS text, email.

SURPRISE! ULTIMA THULE IS A PANCAKE: When NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flew past Ultima Thule last month, first-look images suggested the Kuiper Belt object was shaped like a snowman. New data just beamed back by the distant spacecraft tell a different story. It's a pancake! The puzzling revelation comes from images taken behind Ultima Thule, showing its crescent phase:

The outlines of the "crescent," in addition to the way background stars winked in and out behind Ultima Thule's nightside, allowed mission scientists to make a new 3D model of Ultima Thule.

Instead of a snowman, "it would be closer to reality to say Ultima Thule's shape is flatter, like a pancake," says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute. "We've never seen something like this orbiting the sun."

Researchers thought they understood how Ultima Thule formed. Billions of years ago in the distant reaches of the infant solar system, a rotating cloud of icy bodies coalesced to form two small spheres. Those sphere eventually bumped and stuck together, forming a "snowman."

But... a pancake? "The new images are creating scientific puzzles about how such an object could even be formed," says Stern.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

VALENTINE'S GIFTS FROM THE EDGE OF SPACE: Valentine's Day is this week. Nothing says "I love you" like a gift from the edge of space. Everything in the Earth to Sky Store is 10% off from now until Feb. 14th:

Everything in the store has been flown to the stratosphere onboard cosmic ray balloons, which the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launch approximately once a week to monitor atmospheric radiation. All sales support our cosmic ray ballooning program and help launch young scientists into research careers through hands-on STEM education.

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

DIAMOND DUST SKI HALO: Ski resorts are great places to see sun halos--rings of light that surround the sun when ice crystals fill the air. Spaceweather.com reader Yuichi Takasaka was skiing at the SilverStar Mountain Resort in British Columbia yesterday when he witnessed this specimen:

"It was pretty cold at -22.8C in the morning, but we went to ski anyway and were blessed with amazing scenery!" says Takasaka.

Ordinary sun halos are caused by ice crystals floating in high cirrus clouds."Ski halos," on the other hand, are formed by ice crystals near the ground, kicked into the air by the action of skis and snow-making machines.

A special type of crystal called "diamond dust" grows slowly downwind of ski-slope snow blowers. These man-made crystals tend to be more optically perfect than natural crystals in clouds, producing extra-bright, extra-sharp halos. A close look at Takasaka's picture shows specks of light in the air. Those are the glittering crystals of diamond dust which make ski  halos so beautiful.

"Diamond dust created a 22-degree halo, sundogs, and a circumzenithal arc for more than 2 hours," says Takasaka. "After staring at the sky for so long, we were too frozen to keep skiing ... lol!"

Realtime Comet 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 Feb. 12, 2019, the network reported 9 fireballs.
(9 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 February 12, 2019 there were 1947 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2019 BK4
2019-Feb-06
4.2 LD
9.2
13
2013 RV9
2019-Feb-06
17.9 LD
5.9
68
2019 BB5
2019-Feb-07
11.1 LD
6.4
16
2019 CH4
2019-Feb-07
19.7 LD
13
31
2019 BA5
2019-Feb-08
13.9 LD
9.2
32
2019 CE3
2019-Feb-08
16.1 LD
9.4
32
2019 CB2
2019-Feb-10
2.7 LD
13
23
2019 CN2
2019-Feb-11
1.5 LD
7.9
8
2019 CY2
2019-Feb-12
8 LD
13.1
16
2019 CG4
2019-Feb-12
1.8 LD
7.9
6
2017 PV25
2019-Feb-12
7.3 LD
6.1
43
2013 MD8
2019-Feb-19
15.1 LD
13.6
51
2019 CY1
2019-Feb-20
3.3 LD
13.4
27
455176
2019-Feb-20
19.2 LD
26.5
269
2016 CO246
2019-Feb-22
15.8 LD
5.5
23
2019 BF1
2019-Feb-24
11.2 LD
9.1
119
2019 CK1
2019-Feb-24
16.4 LD
10.2
32
2019 CJ
2019-Feb-25
7.4 LD
4.8
26
2019 CF4
2019-Feb-26
15.6 LD
3.7
14
2018 DE1
2019-Feb-27
19.8 LD
6.5
28
2016 FU12
2019-Feb-27
15.4 LD
5.2
15
2019 CT4
2019-Mar-02
6.3 LD
12.3
52
2019 CW
2019-Mar-04
19.2 LD
11.6
65
2015 EG
2019-Mar-04
1.2 LD
9.6
26
2012 DF31
2019-Mar-09
9.1 LD
15.3
47
2019 CM4
2019-Mar-11
13.8 LD
12.1
91
2013 EG68
2019-Mar-13
19.3 LD
17
37
2012 VZ19
2019-Mar-13
7.7 LD
8
27
2019 CL2
2019-Mar-19
10.3 LD
7.5
69
2016 GE1
2019-Apr-04
3.9 LD
10.1
17
2014 UR
2019-Apr-09
13 LD
4.6
17
2016 GW221
2019-Apr-09
10.1 LD
5.3
39
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

SOMETHING NEW! We have developed a new predictive model of aviation radiation. It's called E-RAD--short for Empirical RADiation model. We are constantly flying radiation sensors onboard airplanes over the US and and around the world, so far collecting more than 22,000 gps-tagged radiation measurements. Using this unique dataset, we can predict the dosage on any flight over the USA with an error no worse than 15%.

E-RAD lets us do something new: Every day we monitor approximately 1400 flights criss-crossing the 10 busiest routes in the continental USA. Typically, this includes more than 80,000 passengers per day. E-RAD calculates the radiation exposure for every single flight.

The Hot Flights Table is a daily summary of these calculations. It shows the 5 charter flights with the highest dose rates; the 5 commercial flights with the highest dose rates; 5 commercial flights with near-average dose rates; and the 5 commercial flights with the lowest dose rates. Passengers typically experience dose rates that are 20 to 70 times higher than natural radiation at sea level.

To measure radiation on airplanes, we use the same sensors we fly to the stratosphere onboard Earth to Sky Calculus cosmic ray balloons: neutron bubble chambers and X-ray/gamma-ray Geiger tubes sensitive to energies between 10 keV and 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.

Column definitions: (1) The flight number; (2) The maximum dose rate during the flight, expressed in units of natural radiation at sea level; (3) The maximum altitude of the plane in feet above sea level; (4) Departure city; (5) Arrival city; (6) Duration of the flight.

SPACE WEATHER BALLOON DATA: 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 18% since 2015:

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.

En route to the stratosphere, our sensors also pass through aviation altitudes:

In this plot, 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.

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.

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.

  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
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
Spaceweather.com welcomes these supporters of science communication: SEO Phoenix AZ and CRAS, the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences and Windshield Replacement Phoenix and Breast Augmentation Phoenix and Dentist Chandler, AZ.
   
Look no further to find the best Comox Valley Real Estate listings and homes for sale
   
NASA Near Earth Asteroid Home Page
   
Chicago SEO Expert
   
Search Kelowna Real Estate Listings & Homes for Sale easily.
Find help on all Calgary Homes For Sale and Real Estate Listings. Great source for Edmonton Real Estate Listings & Homes For Sale
   

To find reviews of new online casino sites in the UK try The Casino DB where there are hundreds of online casino reviews complete with bonuses and ratings.

Looking for a new online casino? Try Casimpo the new site dedicated to making online casino simple and easy for all.

  These links help Spaceweather.com stay online. Thank you to our supporters!
  more links...
       
©2018 Spaceweather.com. All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
©2013 Spaceweather.com. All rights reserved.