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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 362.4 km/sec
density: 0.5 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
1953 UT Jan28
24-hr: B1
1953 UT Jan28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 28 Jan 19
Two days after unleashing a C5-class solar flare, sunspot AR2733 has quieted again. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 22
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 28 Jan 2019

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2019 total: 14 days (50%)
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 28 Jan 2019


Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 3.55
x1010 W Cold
Max: 49.4
x1010 W Hot (10/1957)
Min: 2.05
x1010 W Cold (02/2009)
explanation | more data
Updated 27 Jan 2019

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 74 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 28 Jan 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= 1
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.2 nT
Bz: 0.1 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 27 Jan 19

Solar wind flowing from this large coronal hole should reach Earth on Jan. 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 28 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 28 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
15 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
20 %
SEVERE
15 %
15 %
 
Monday, Jan. 28, 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!

 

WEEKEND SOLAR FLARE: On Saturday, Jan. 26th, sunspot AR2733 unleashed a C5-class solar flare--the strongest solar flare since Feb. 7, 2018. AR2733 is a member of decaying Solar Cycle 24; perhaps the explosion was the last gasp of the old solar cycle. The sunspot has since quieted and is now turning away from Earth. Free: SWx News.

SOLAR WIND, INCOMING: A large hole in the sun's atmosphere is facing Earth and spewing a stream of solar wind in our direction. Extreme ultraviolet telescopes onboard NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed the structure earlier today:

This is a "coronal hole"--a place where the sun's magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape. It looks dark because the glowing-hot plasma normally contained there is missing. In this case, it's heading for Earth. Minor G1-class geomagnetic storms are likely when the gaseous material arrives on Jan. 31st or Feb. 1st.

We've seen this coronal hole before. It opened in the summer of 2018 and has been lashing Earth with solar wind approximately once a month since then. The last time solar wind from this coronal hole reached Earth, on Dec. 27th, it sparked an outburst of green above Alaska and "the best auroras of the season" over Iceland. Aurora Alerts: SMS text, email.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

'INSANE' LIGHT PILLARS: Inside the Arctic Circle, the residents of Kiruna, Sweden, are accustomed to colorful lights in the night sky. Usually they are auroras, dancing in response to the solar wind. On Jan. 23rd, Mia Stålnacke witnessed a display that had nothing to do with space weather. "The light pillars were insane!" she says.

Light pillars are caused by ice crystals in the air which intercept manmade lights and spread them into colorful columns. No solar activity is required for the phenomenon. The only ingredients are ice and light pollution. Warm-orange colors arise from high pressure sodium lamps, while blue-white columns are caused by modern LED lamps.

"Conditions were just right for these spectacular pillars to appear with temperatures just below -20°C," says Stålnacke. "The shorter orange one on the right is the rising Moon."

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

FLY ME TO THE MOONSTONE: Are you looking for a far-out Valentine's gift? Nothing says "I love you" like a moonstone from the edge of space. The students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew this moonstone wrapped in a hand-crafted sterling silver Celtic love knot 35.1 km (115,158 feet) above Earth's surface:

You can have it for $179.95. The students are selling these pendants to support their cosmic ray ballooning program. Each one comes with a greeting card showing the item in flight and telling the story of its journey to the edge of space. All sales support the Earth to Sky Calculus cosmic ray ballooning program and hands-on STEM research.

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


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 Jan. 28, 2019, the network reported 13 fireballs.
(13 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 28, 2019 there were 1947 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2019 AX8
2019-Jan-22
18.1 LD
16.2
38
2019 BS1
2019-Jan-22
6.9 LD
13.4
20
2019 BE1
2019-Jan-22
6.5 LD
8.2
42
2019 BU1
2019-Jan-22
3 LD
14.6
21
2019 AS11
2019-Jan-23
7 LD
4.3
16
2019 BU2
2019-Jan-23
9.3 LD
8.7
31
2019 AH13
2019-Jan-23
19 LD
2.4
22
2019 BZ
2019-Jan-23
2.5 LD
8.8
11
2019 BV1
2019-Jan-24
0.4 LD
14.4
7
2019 BO2
2019-Jan-24
6.7 LD
16.6
22
2019 AJ13
2019-Jan-25
7.6 LD
6
8
2019 AN12
2019-Jan-25
9.2 LD
20.3
29
2019 BK2
2019-Jan-25
2.9 LD
14.6
15
2019 BM2
2019-Jan-25
3 LD
11.4
20
2019 AG11
2019-Jan-25
8.6 LD
7.5
20
2019 AA10
2019-Jan-26
5.8 LD
10.3
26
2019 AQ14
2019-Jan-26
7.3 LD
9.3
14
2019 BQ2
2019-Jan-27
3.3 LD
13.3
14
2019 BS2
2019-Jan-27
4.8 LD
10.1
13
2019 BR2
2019-Jan-28
1.7 LD
13.1
8
2019 AP11
2019-Jan-28
10.2 LD
7.8
32
2019 BV2
2019-Jan-28
9.1 LD
14.5
31
2019 AN11
2019-Jan-29
12.7 LD
8.1
31
2013 CW32
2019-Jan-29
13.9 LD
16.4
148
2019 BJ1
2019-Jan-30
3.4 LD
16.7
40
2019 AV2
2019-Feb-01
17.5 LD
13
204
2019 BW1
2019-Feb-02
13 LD
9.6
40
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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