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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 406.4 km/sec
density: 7.8 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2352 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2218 UT Aug29
24-hr: C2
0300 UT Aug29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Aug 17
Decaying sunspot AR2672 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 17
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 29 Aug 2017

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2017 total: 56 days (24%)
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%)

Updated 29 Aug 2017


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 82 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 29 Aug 2017

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 4
unsettled
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.5 nT
Bz: -2.1 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2351 UT
Coronal Holes: 29 Aug 17

Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole could reach Earth on Aug. 31st. Credit: NASA/SDO.
Noctilucent Clouds They're back! Images of noctilucent clouds from NASA's AIM spacecraft are available again. The spacecraft's orbit had recently changed, requiring a new way to point AIM's science instruments. This problem has now been solved, and "daily daisies" have returned to Spaceweather.com.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 08-23-2017 16:55:04
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2017 Aug 28 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
10 %
10 %
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: 2017 Aug 28 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
30 %
MINOR
01 %
10 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
25 %
20 %
SEVERE
10 %
20 %
 
Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017
What's up in space
       
 

Lights Over Lapland is excited to announce that our Customisable Aurora Adventures are available for immediate booking! Reserve your adventure of a lifetime in Abisko National Park, Sweden today!

 

GEOMAGNETIC STORM WATCH: NOAA forecasters say there is a 30% chance of minor G1-class geomagnetic storms on Aug. 31st when a fast moving stream of solar wind is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. The source of the wind is a canyon-shaped hole in the sun's atmosphere. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras this Thursday night. Free: Aurora Alerts

FLY ME TO (THE SHADOW OF) THE MOON: Last week during the Great American Solar Eclipse, many sky watchers in the path of totality noticed contrails criss-crossing the sky, a sign of airplanes dipping in and out of the Moon's shadow. Wonder what they saw? Tom A. Warner was onboard one of those planes, and he shares this view from the window seat:


"We got the unique opportunity to view the solar eclipse from 39,000 ft over Alliance, Nebraska," says Warner. "We set up a holding pattern 20 minutes prior to the Moon's first contact with the sun and orbited within the totality shadow path while watching the eclipse progress."


"We saw the shadow of the Moon race towards us from the west and the sky went very dark as we entered," he says. "We could see lights on the ground, and the view of the Moon and corona was something we will never forget. Words and pictures will never be able to fully describe what we experienced or the emotions we felt."

Many people on the ground felt the same way. But you have to wonder ... was it even better 39,000 feet high? Travel tip: Book the window seat for April 8, 2024.

Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery

UNIQUE SOLAR ECLIPSE POSTERS: On August 21, 2017, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched 11 space weather balloons from the path of totality of the Great American Solar Eclipse. They aimed to photograph the Moon's shadow from the stratosphere--and they succeeded. By popular demand, we are now offering posters of the eclipse as seen from the edge of space. You can have one for $59.95:

These 18"x24" posters are printed on premium glossy paper and ready for framing. Each one comes with an information card describing the balloon flight and the location of the shadow.

Don't like this poster? There are more choices in the Earth to Sky Store. All proceeds support upper atmospheric research and STEM education.

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

AURORA SEASON IS BEGINNING: For reasons researchers do not fully understand, the weeks around equinoxes have more geomagnetic disturbances than any other time of year. Auroras love equinoxes. We are now just weeks away from the northern autumnal equinox and, right on cue, the auroras have appeared:

"Last night, my Northern Lights season finally kicked off with a beautiful aurora dancing in the sky," says photographer Göran Strand of Frösön, Sweden. "We're closing in on the autumnal equinox, so hopefully we will be getting more auroras in the coming weeks."

In addition to the equinox effect, it also helps that Arctic skies are darkening as the midnight sun sets after a long summer. Midnight is once again becoming a velvety-dark canvas where solar wind can paint the Northern Lights. Browse the aurora gallery for recent sightings --and stay tuned for more.

Realtime Aurora 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 Aug. 29, 2017, the network reported 16 fireballs.
(14 sporadics, 1 alpha Aurigid, 1 Northern iota Aquariid)

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 August 29, 2017 there were 1803 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2017 PE
2017-Aug-24
19.4 LD
7.1
47
2017 QJ2
2017-Aug-25
9.1 LD
20.2
22
2017 QQ17
2017-Aug-26
1 LD
21.2
8
2017 QX1
2017-Aug-26
12.9 LD
7
39
2017 QU1
2017-Aug-27
16.2 LD
10.1
37
2017 PL26
2017-Aug-28
14.2 LD
8.4
128
2017 QN1
2017-Aug-30
5.5 LD
10.5
17
2017 QP2
2017-Aug-30
10.1 LD
7.5
33
2017 QQ1
2017-Aug-31
4.8 LD
10.2
39
3122
2017-Sep-01
18.5 LD
13.5
5376
2017 QT17
2017-Sep-01
17.3 LD
10
55
2017 QG18
2017-Sep-01
4.4 LD
6.6
13
2017 QV32
2017-Sep-02
12 LD
11
21
2017 QR32
2017-Sep-02
2.8 LD
18
17
2017 OP68
2017-Sep-10
20 LD
11.7
296
2017 QK18
2017-Sep-11
14.8 LD
7.8
47
2014 RC
2017-Sep-11
15.1 LD
8.9
16
2017 PR25
2017-Sep-23
17.9 LD
13.5
224
1989 VB
2017-Sep-29
7.9 LD
6.3
408
2012 TC4
2017-Oct-12
0.1 LD
7.6
16
2005 TE49
2017-Oct-13
8.5 LD
11.2
16
2013 UM9
2017-Oct-15
17 LD
7.8
39
2006 TU7
2017-Oct-18
18.7 LD
13.3
148
171576
2017-Oct-22
5.8 LD
21.2
677
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

Readers, thank you for your patience while we continue to develop this new section of Spaceweather.com. We've been working to streamline our data reduction, allowing us to post results from balloon flights much more rapidly, and we have developed a new data product, shown here:

This plot displays radiation measurements not only in the stratosphere, but also at aviation altitudes. 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. These measurements are made by our usual cosmic ray payload as it passes through aviation altitudes en route to the stratosphere over California.

What is this all about? 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 13% since 2015:


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.

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 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.

  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
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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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