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Solar wind
speed: 319.4 km/sec
density: 14.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2258 UT Dec13
24-hr: C4
0315 UT Dec13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 13 Dec 13
Sunspot AR1918 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 156
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 Dec 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
13 Dec 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 165 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 13 Dec 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 10.7 nT
Bz: 7.9 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 13 Dec 13
Solar wind flowing from this large coronal hole could reach Earth on Dec. 15-17. Credit: SDO/AIA.

Spaceweather.com posts 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: 12-13-2013 11:55:02
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Dec 13 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
30 %
30 %
CLASS X
05 %
05 %
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 Dec 13 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
40 %
30 %
MINOR
20 %
10 %
SEVERE
05 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
15 %
MINOR
25 %
30 %
SEVERE
60 %
40 %
 
Friday, Dec. 13, 2013
What's up in space
 

When is the best time to see auroras? Where is the best place to go? And how do you photograph them? These questions and more are answered in a new book, Northern Lights - a Guide, by Pal Brekke & Fredrik Broms.

 
Northern Lights - a Guide

EDGE OF SPACE CHRISTMAS CARDS: What do you give to the sky watcher who has everything? How about a Christmas card from the Edge of Space? For only $49.95, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus will fly your holiday greeting or favorite picture to the top of Earth's atmosphere, photograph it, and return the snapshot in time for the holidays. It's a unique gift! The group has previously flown cupcakes, shoes, US presidents, ad banners and telescopes. This holiday magic is performed using suborbital helium balloons. Contact Dr. Tony Phillips for more information.

GEMINID METEOR SHOWER--IT'S UNDERWAY: Last night, NASA's network of all-sky meteor cameras detected 47 Geminid fireballs over the United States. Even more are expected tonight as Earth passes through a stream of debris from rock comet 3200 Phaethon. "There is a nice show going on right now," says Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. Cooke and other forecasters expect the shower to peak on Dec. 13-14. The best time to look is during the "magic hour" before sunrise on Saturday, Dec. 14th. [sky map]

The multiple cameras of NASA's fireball network are able to measure the orbits of the meteoroids it sees. Here are the orbits of last night's fireballs:

Earth is the blue dot where all the orbits intersect. The orbits are color-coded by velocity: blue is faster, red is slower. Note the cluster of yellow orbits. Those are Geminids. The other orbits in the diagram correspond to various minor showers and random ("sporadic") meteors. Takeaway: Not every meteor you see tonight will be a Geminid.

Theoretically, the Geminid peak could produce as many as 120 meteors per hour. However, glare from the nearly-full Moon could reduce the number of visible meteors 2- to 3-fold. Cooke advises looking during the hours just before local sunrise. "At that time, the Moon will be low or even below the horizon, improving your chances of seeing the show."

You can listen to radar echoes from the Geminids, unaffected by moonlight, on Space Weather Radio. Also, tune into NASA's live web chat about the Geminids on Friday the 13th beginning at 11 pm EST.

Realtime Meteor Photo Gallery

INCOMING CMES, CHANCE OF STORMS: Yesterday, December 12th, a pair of magnetic filaments on the sun erupted in quick succession between 0300 UT and 0630 UT. The explosions hurled a pair of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) into space. SOHO recorded the clouds racing away from the sun at approximately 1.1 million mph (500 km/s):

Although neither explosion was squarely Earth-directed, the two clouds could deliver glancing blows to Earth's magnetic field on Dec. 14th or (more likely) the 15th. NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of polar geomagnetic storms when the clouds arrive. Aurora alerts: text, voice

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

ELECTRIC-BLUE CLOUDS OVER ANTARCTICA: The season for noctilucent clouds has begun in the southern hemisphere. NASA's AIM spacecraft is monitoring a vast bank of rippling electric-blue NLCs blanketing almost all of Antarctica. This two week movie chronicles the onset of the clouds in late November and their rapid spread into December:

NLCs are Earth's highest clouds. Seeded by "meteor smoke," they form at the edge of space 83 km above Earth's surface. When sunlight hits the tiny ice crystals that make up these clouds, they glow electric blue.

NLCs appear during summer because that is when water molecules are wafted up from the lower atmosphere to mix with the meteor smoke. That is also, ironically, the time when the upper atmosphere is coldest, allowing the ice crystals of NLCs to form.

In recent years NLCs have intensified. Some researchers believe this is a sign of climate change. One of the greenhouse gases that has become more abundant in Earth's atmosphere since the 19th century is methane. "When methane makes its way into the upper atmosphere, it is oxidized by a complex series of reactions to form water vapor," explains Hampton University Professor James Russell, the principal investigator of AIM."This extra water vapor is then available to grow ice crystals for NLCs."

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery


Comet ISON Photo Gallery


Realtime Comet 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 Dec. 13, 2013, the network reported 78 fireballs.
(47 Geminids, 24 sporadics, 3 December Monocerotids, 1 sigma Hydrid, 3 December Leonis Minorids)

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 December 13, 2013 there were 1446 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2013 XH17
Dec 11
7.1 LD
38 m
2013 XY8
Dec 11
2 LD
50 m
2011 YD29
Dec 28
6.1 LD
24 m
2007 SJ
Jan 21
18.9 LD
1.9 km
2012 BX34
Jan 28
9.6 LD
13 m
2006 DP14
Feb 10
6.2 LD
730 m
2000 EM26
Feb 18
8.8 LD
195 m
2000 EE14
Mar 6
64.6 LD
1.8 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...
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