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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 468.8 km/sec
density: 7.1 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2210 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
1913 UT Jan26
24-hr: C5
1322 UT Jan26
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 26 Jan 19
Despite being a relic of decaying Solar Cycle 24, sunspot AR2733 is still growing. The active region is crackling wirh minor B-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 27
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 26 Jan 2019

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2019 total: 14 days (54%)
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 26 Jan 2019


Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 3.40
x1010 W Cold
Max: 49.4
x1010 W Hot (10/1957)
Min: 2.05
x1010 W Cold (02/2009)
explanation | more data
Updated 25 Jan 2019

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 72 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 26 Jan 2019

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.7 nT
Bz: -1.0 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 26 Jan 19

Solar wind flowing from this large coronal hole should reach Earth on Jan. 30th or 31st. 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 Jan 26 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
05 %
05 %
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 Jan 26 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
20 %
SEVERE
20 %
15 %
 
Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019
What's up in space
       
 

Lights Over Lapland has a brand-new website full of exciting adventures in Abisko National Park, Sweden! Take a look at our aurora activities and book your once-in-a-lifetime trip with us today!

 

C-CLASS SOLAR FLARE: Today at 13:22 UT, big sunspot AR2733 produced a C5-class solar flare: image. C-class flares are not major explosions. However, this is the strongest solar flare in nearly a year, and it breaks the quiet of a deep Solar Minimum. More activity is possible in the hours and days ahead as the sunspot continues to grow and develop. Stay tuned. Free: SWx News

AURORAS DANCE OVER THE ISLAND OF POLAR BEARS: Last night, the sky above Svalbard, Norway, filled with auroras. Purple and green sheets of light swirled over the snowy landscape at 8 AM local time--still dark because the sun will not rise for another 3 weeks. Sophie Cordon photographed the display:

Svalbard is also known as "the island of polar bears." The bear population in the Svalbard archipelago and Barents Sea actually exceeds the human population. So the audience for the geomagnetic storm was primarily ursine. Most of the humans in the area are concentrated in Longyearbyen, a small town in Svalbard where Cordon took the picture.

The display was sparked by a stream of fast-moving solar wind that engulfed our planet for two days beginning on Jan. 23rd. Earth is exiting the stream now, but another is on the way. A hole in the sun's atmosphere is spewing solar wind in our direction. Estimated time of arrival: Jan. 30th. The island of polar bears is about to get another light show. Aurora Alerts: SMS text, email.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

FAR OUT VALENTINE'S GIFT: Valentine's Day is only 3 weeks away. Need a far-out gift? Consider the Valentine's Space Rose. This one flew 104,843 feet above the snow-capped Sierras of California on Jan. 19th:

You can have it for $149.95. The rose is laser-etched into a block of optical-quality borosilicate crystal with the words "I Love You" curving below the stem. The students of Earth to Sky Calculus are selling these  to support their cosmic ray ballooning program.

Each rose comes with a greeting card showing the item in flight and telling the story of its journey to the edge of space. Also included is an LED stand that fills the bloom with 4 luminous colors.

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

LUNAR PARHELIC CIRCLE: A parhelic circle is an unforgettable sight. Thin and pale, it circles the zenith in a majestic arc, always keeping the same distance above the horizon--crossing directly through the sun. On Jan. 24th, Sheila Wiwchar of Kaleida, Canada, saw a parhelic circle but, strangely, the sun was nowhere around. This parhelic circle was passing through the Moon:

It was quite a sight," she says. "The circle filled the entire night sky! I set up a timelapse wondering if it would last, and it did." Her 3-hour video of the phenomenon is a must-see.

Parhelic circles are normally caused by sunlight reflecting from the vertical faces of ice crystals--millions of them floating in thin cirrus clouds spread almost evenly across the wide blue sky. In this case, bright moonlight performed the same trick. As Les Cowley notes in his authoritative web page on the subject, "the parhelic circle appears simple yet more ray paths contribute to it than in any other halo. Some are very intricate."

Note: Because this circle is caused by moonlight rather than sunlight, it is correctly called a "parselenic circle."

Realtime Eclipse Photo Gallery


Realtime Space Weather 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 Jan. 25, 2019, the network reported 11 fireballs.
(11 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 January 26, 2019 there were 1947 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2019 AZ8
2019-Jan-20
13.7 LD
10
25
2019 AO8
2019-Jan-20
10.4 LD
11.3
27
2019 AX8
2019-Jan-22
18.1 LD
16.2
38
2019 BE1
2019-Jan-22
6.5 LD
8.2
43
2019 AS11
2019-Jan-23
7 LD
4.3
16
2019 AH13
2019-Jan-23
19 LD
2.4
22
2019 BZ
2019-Jan-23
2.5 LD
8.8
11
2019 AJ13
2019-Jan-25
7.6 LD
6
8
2019 AN12
2019-Jan-25
9.2 LD
20.3
29
2019 AG11
2019-Jan-25
8.6 LD
7.5
20
2019 AA10
2019-Jan-26
5.7 LD
10.2
28
2019 AQ14
2019-Jan-26
7.3 LD
9.3
14
2019 AP11
2019-Jan-28
10.2 LD
7.7
31
2019 AN11
2019-Jan-29
12.7 LD
8.1
31
2013 CW32
2019-Jan-29
13.9 LD
16.4
148
2019 AV2
2019-Feb-01
17.5 LD
13
204
2019 BH1
2019-Feb-03
11.1 LD
21
54
2013 RV9
2019-Feb-06
17.9 LD
5.9
68
2017 PV25
2019-Feb-12
7.3 LD
6.1
43
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
108
2018 DE1
2019-Feb-27
19.8 LD
6.5
28
2016 FU12
2019-Feb-27
15.4 LD
5.2
15
2015 EG
2019-Mar-04
1.2 LD
9.6
26
2013 EG68
2019-Mar-13
19.3 LD
17
37
2012 VZ19
2019-Mar-13
7.7 LD
8
27
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
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