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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 509.2 km/sec
density: 7.8 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A1
1741 UT Oct13
24-hr: B2
1335 UT Oct13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 13 Oct 18
New sunspot AR2724 poses no threat for strong flares, It is typical of solar minimum sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 11
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 12 Oct 2018

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2018 total: 165 days (58%)
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 12 Oct 2018


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 71 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 12 Oct 2018

Current Auroral Oval:
Note to readers from Dr. Tony Phillips: "The current auroral oval is not updating properly. I have figured out the problem and am programming a solution. Normal updates should resume soon. Apologies for any inconvenience!"
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 5
storm
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.2 nT
Bz: -1.8 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 13 Oct 18

Solar wind flowing from this large coronal hole could reach Earth as early asOct 14. Credit: SDO/AIA
Noctilucent Clouds The season for noctilucent clouds (NLCs) in the northern hemisphere has come to an end. Images from NASA's AIM spacecraft show no NLCs around the north pole.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 09-03-2018 14:55:02
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2018 Oct 12 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: 2018 Oct 12 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
25 %
MINOR
01 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
30 %
SEVERE
20 %
30 %
 
Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018
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!

 

MINOR GEOMAGNETIC STORM IN PROGRESS: A minor G1-class geomagnetic storm is underway on Oct. 13th. Why? An equinox crack in Earth's magnetic field is allowing solar wind to enter our planet's magnetosphere. Arctic sky watchers should be alert for auroras after local nightfall. Free: Aurora Alerts.

DRACONID METEOR OUTBURST: On Oct. 8-9, Europeans outdoors around midnight were amazed when a flurry of faint meteors filled the sky. "It was a strong outburst of the annual Draconid meteor shower," reports Jure Atanackov, a member of the International Meteor Organization who witnessed the display from Slovenia. Between 22:00 UT (Oct. 8) and 01:00 UT (Oct. 9), dark-sky meteor rates exceeded 100 per hour. In eastern France, Tioga Gulon saw "1 to 2 meteors per minute," many of them shown here in an image stacked with frames from his video camera: 

"It was a rare and impressive event," says Atanackov.

It could easily have been 10 times more impressive. In fact, Earth narrowly dodged a meteor storm.

The European outburst occurred as Earth skirted a filament of debris from Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. If that filament had shifted in our direction by a mere 0.005 AU (~500,000 miles), Earth would have experienced a worldwide storm of 1000+ meteors per hour. These conclusions are based on a computer model of the comet's debris field from the University of Western Ontario's Meteor Physics Group. Here it is, showing Earth shooting the gap between two filaments of comet dust:

Western Ontario postdoctoral researcher Auriane Egal created the model and predicted the outburst before it happened. Egal's model was in good agreement with a rival model from NASA, so confidence was high. Meteors seen over Europe came from the larger filament on the right.

According to the models, Earth's L1 and L2 Lagrange points were both forecast to have storm-level activity--especially L2 which would experience the Earth-equivalent of 4000+ meteors per hour. This prompted NASA to take a close look at the danger to spacecraft.

"The US has four space weather spacecraft at L1: ACE, SOHO, Wind, and DSCOVR," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "There is only one operational spacecraft at L2 - the European Space Agency's GAIA - which was where most of the Draconid activity was expected to take place. GAIA shut down science operations for a few hours around the projected storm peak and re-oriented to turn the hard side of the vehicle towards the incoming debris. All of the spacecraft came through the Draconids without incident, and this shower provided a good test of our ability to forecast meteor activity outside of Earth orbit."

Many readers have wondered if the outburst has anything to do with Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner's close approach to Earth last month. "No," says Cooke.  "The models show the outburst experienced at Earth was mainly caused by material ejected from the comet from 1945 to the mid 1960's. The meteoroids were more than half a century old."

Realtime Meteor Photo Gallery

FLY ME TO THE MOONSTONE: Are you looking for a far-out gift? Nothing says "I love you" like a moonstone from the edge of space. On Jan 27th, 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

BERSERK AURORAS: You never know what might happen under the Northern Lights. "I was photographing a very mild display from Hvítserkur, Iceland, on Oct. 9th when suddenly the auroras went berserk," reports Olivier Staiger. "I didn't have time to change the camera settings, so my Canon EOS 6D completely overexposed this wild event."

Staiger's video of the outburst is a must-see. Play it now--and don't forget to turn up the volume to hear the cries of delight.

This kind of luminous explosion is called an "auroral substorm." During a substorm, ordinary auroras can abruptly transform into raging displays of light, sometimes even casting shadows on the ground. NASA's THEMIS spacecraft has shown that some substorms occur when auroras collide: A fast-moving, intense knot of auroral light swoops in from the north and interacts with more leisurely quiescent auroras. The combination produces a display best described as "B E R S E R K," says Staiger.

Staiger looked up the definition of berserk in the Merriam-Webster dictionary and found two entries: (1) an ancient Scandinavian warrior frenzied in battle and held to be invulnerable; and (2) one whose actions are recklessly defiant. "I LOVE the ancient Scandinavian warrior definition," says Staiger. "I think that's what I saw."

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery



Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery


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 Oct. 13, 2018, the network reported 7 fireballs.
(7 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 October 13, 2018 there were 1923 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2018 TY1
2018-Oct-08
8.1 LD
10.6
21
2018 SG3
2018-Oct-08
6.7 LD
5.9
14
2018 TG2
2018-Oct-08
1.3 LD
7.6
5
2018 TE2
2018-Oct-08
1.3 LD
13.5
8
2018 TM3
2018-Oct-08
3.6 LD
4.3
4
2018 TA2
2018-Oct-09
10.7 LD
4.9
14
2018 SM2
2018-Oct-10
11.4 LD
10.1
89
2018 TC2
2018-Oct-10
16.4 LD
8.3
22
2018 TN3
2018-Oct-10
6.7 LD
7.3
8
2018 TS4
2018-Oct-11
5.2 LD
2.3
12
2018 TR4
2018-Oct-11
6.9 LD
11
36
2018 TD2
2018-Oct-12
12.9 LD
11.2
18
2018 TQ3
2018-Oct-12
10.5 LD
7.4
14
2018 TB5
2018-Oct-13
3.1 LD
16.3
17
2018 TC5
2018-Oct-13
12.6 LD
7.6
20
2018 TU4
2018-Oct-15
14.2 LD
11
28
2018 SL3
2018-Oct-15
9.1 LD
13.4
34
2018 TS1
2018-Oct-15
6.6 LD
10.9
25
2018 TZ2
2018-Oct-16
9.1 LD
16.7
41
2014 US7
2018-Oct-17
3.2 LD
8.7
19
2013 UG1
2018-Oct-18
10.4 LD
13.4
123
2016 GC221
2018-Oct-18
8.7 LD
14.4
39
2018 TT5
2018-Oct-24
15.9 LD
10.2
29
475534
2018-Oct-29
7.5 LD
18.1
204
2002 VE68
2018-Nov-04
14.7 LD
8.6
282
2018 TF3
2018-Nov-05
7.8 LD
20.5
309
2010 VQ
2018-Nov-07
15.6 LD
3.8
10
2009 WB105
2018-Nov-25
15.2 LD
18.9
71
2008 WD14
2018-Nov-27
7.4 LD
9.3
93
2001 WO15
2018-Nov-28
13.6 LD
11.7
107
2013 VX4
2018-Dec-09
4.1 LD
6.6
65
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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