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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 326.9 km/sec
density: 4.9 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2352 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A8
1900 UT Jun03
24-hr: A8
1900 UT Jun03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 03 Jun 19
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 03 Jun 2019

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 15 days
2019 total: 89 days (58%)
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 03 Jun 2019


Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 4.26
x1010 W Cold
Max: 49.4
x1010 W Hot (10/1957)
Min: 2.05
x1010 W Cold (02/2009)
explanation | more data
Updated 03 Jun 2019

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 70 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 03 Jun 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= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.3 nT
Bz: -0.3 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2351 UT
Coronal Holes: 03 Jun 19


Solar wind flowing from these minor coronal holes could buffet Earth's magnetic field on June 4th or 5th.
Credit: SDO/AIA

Noctilucent Clouds The northern season for noctilicent clouds is underway. Monitor the daily images from NASA's AIM spacecraft to see how the clouds spread around the Arctic Circle as northern summer unfolds.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 06-03-2019 14:55:03
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2019 Jun 03 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 Jun 03 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
20 %
MINOR
25 %
25 %
SEVERE
20 %
20 %
 
Monday, Jun. 3, 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!

 

SOLAR MINIMUM CONDITIONS ARE IN EFFECT: The sun has been without spots for 15 consecutive days--a sign that Solar Minimum is underway. Many people think Solar Minimum is uninteresting. Not so. This phase of the solar cycle brings extra cosmic rays, long-lasting holes in the sun's atmosphere, and a possible surplus of noctilucent clouds. Aurora Alerts: SMS text, email.

NOCTILUCENT CLOUDS OVER POLAND:For the past 2 weeks, a huge blue noctilucent cloud has been pinwheeling around the Arctic Circle, shaped and controlled by a 5-day planetary wave. On June 3rd, the wave swept across Europe and voilà!--electric blue ripples appeared in the continent's pre-dawn skies.  Marek Nikodem photographed the display from Szubin, Poland:

"As predicted by Spaceweather.com, 5 days after the last bright European display on May 28th and 29th, NLCs reappeared over Europe," says Nikodem.

Tomasz Adam of Kraków, Poland, saw them, too. "The NLC forecast issued by SpaceWeather.com over the weekend turned out to be remarkably accurate save for one tiny detail - the latitude," says Adam. "Noctilucent clouds were expected to appear today over northern Europe. In fact, they descended much further south. I've never seen NLCs this early from my latitude of 50° N since I started looking for them 14 years ago. This is going to be a great year for observing these elusive electric blue clouds!"

Previous studies have shown that noctilucent clouds sometimes intensify during Solar Minimum. Solar Minimum conditions are in effect now, and this could be partly responsible for the unusual early-season sightings. "I have been observing noctilucent clouds for almost 30 years, and I can say that the best displays are always during Solar Minimum," notes Nikodem. Stay tuned!

Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
Free: Spaceweather.com Newsletter

A WILD DISPLAY OF AIRGLOW: Last week on May 30th, MaryBeth Kiczenski of Munising, Michigan, drove to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in search of auroras. A stream of solar wind was buffeting Earth's magnetic field, and Northern Lights were a definite possibility. Instead of auroras, however, "I saw some pretty wild airglow!" she says.

"I was in awe over how surreal it looked!!" says Kiczenski.

Although airglow looks like the aurora borealis, it is not. Auroras are caused by gusts of solar wind. Airglow is caused by a complex assortment of chemical reactions in the upper atmosphere. These reactions get started during daylight hours when the atmosphere is bathed in strong UV radiation from the sun.  At night we see the afterglow, colored green by oxygen atoms 90-100 km high or sometimes red by hydroxyl ions 86-87 km high.

Kiczenski saw both--red and green.  Gravity waves propagating upward from the lower atmosphere impressed the colorful lights with a dramatic rippling structure. Browse the airglow gallery for more examples.

Realtime Airglow Cloud Photo Gallery
Free: Spaceweather.com Newsletter

A GIFT FROM THE EDGE OF SPACE: Last month, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched the starship Enterprise to the stratosphere. Riding onboard a high-altitude cosmic ray balloon, the laser-etched crystal spaceship traveled 34.7 km (113,845 feet) above Earth's surface:

You can have it for $149.95. The students are selling the Enterprise to support their cosmic ray ballooning program. Each starship 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 a multi-colored LED illuminated stand (shown in the picture above). This creates a colorful visual effect and allows the Enterprise to be used as a far-out night light.

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

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Free: Spaceweather.com Newsletter


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 Jun. 3, 2019, the network reported 19 fireballs.
(19 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 June 3, 2019 there were 1983 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2019 KV
2019-May-29
7 LD
5.6
21
2019 KH
2019-May-29
15.4 LD
9.8
51
2019 KJ4
2019-May-30
6.7 LD
4.6
14
2011 HP
2019-May-30
12.3 LD
8.4
135
2019 KG2
2019-May-30
2.7 LD
12
23
2019 KJ2
2019-May-31
13.7 LD
1.7
13
2019 KL2
2019-Jun-01
8.7 LD
4.5
11
2019 KU
2019-Jun-01
16.1 LD
6.1
18
2019 KY3
2019-Jun-02
2.3 LD
16.3
17
2019 KH1
2019-Jun-02
10.6 LD
18.5
29
2010 WH1
2019-Jun-02
18 LD
7.8
22
2019 LC
2019-Jun-02
19.2 LD
6.9
23
2012 KZ41
2019-Jun-03
3.8 LD
12
34
2019 KE2
2019-Jun-04
19.9 LD
9.3
48
2019 KY
2019-Jun-04
5.5 LD
6.2
19
2019 KS
2019-Jun-04
12.3 LD
17.6
42
2019 KA4
2019-Jun-05
8.4 LD
7.2
22
2019 KA3
2019-Jun-06
4 LD
3.9
9
2019 JX2
2019-Jun-06
13.8 LD
7
41
2014 MF18
2019-Jun-06
8.8 LD
3
22
2019 LA
2019-Jun-07
13.9 LD
22.3
67
2019 KZ3
2019-Jun-07
5.7 LD
10
52
2019 KG3
2019-Jun-11
16.3 LD
6.8
26
2019 LB
2019-Jun-12
9.1 LD
6.1
32
2013 YA14
2019-Jun-14
14.7 LD
11.1
65
2019 KJ
2019-Jun-14
12.6 LD
8.1
68
2019 LU
2019-Jun-16
4.1 LD
8
35
2019 LR
2019-Jun-16
18.3 LD
15
34
441987
2019-Jun-24
7.7 LD
12.6
178
2008 KV2
2019-Jun-27
17.8 LD
11.4
195
2016 NN15
2019-Jun-28
9.6 LD
8.4
16
2015 XC352
2019-Jul-01
11.9 LD
4.1
26
2016 OF
2019-Jul-07
12.8 LD
8.5
85
2016 NO56
2019-Jul-07
3.4 LD
12.2
26
2019 KD3
2019-Jul-12
15.5 LD
8
89
2016 NJ33
2019-Jul-12
15 LD
4.5
32
2015 HM10
2019-Jul-24
12.2 LD
9.5
68
2010 PK9
2019-Jul-26
8.2 LD
16.5
155
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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