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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 319.7 km/sec
density: 5.3 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2350 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A7
2111 UT Apr14
24-hr: A8
0444 UT Apr14
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 14 Apr 19
Sunspot AR2738 is crackling with low-level B-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 14
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 14 Apr 2019

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2019 total: 62 days (60%)
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 14 Apr 2019


Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 4.51
x1010 W Cold
Max: 49.4
x1010 W Hot (10/1957)
Min: 2.05
x1010 W Cold (02/2009)
explanation | more data
Updated 14 Apr 2019

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 78 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 14 Apr 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= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.9 nT
Bz: -3.4 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2349 UT
Coronal Holes: 14 Apr 19


Solar wind flowing from this southern coronal hole could graze Earth's magnetic field on April 15-16, causing minor geomagnetic unrest.
Credit: SDO/AIA

Noctilucent Clouds The northern season for noctilicent clouds is little more than a month away. The electric-blue clouds circling the north pole should return in mid- to late May. .
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 03-02-2019 16:55:03
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2019 Apr 14 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 Apr 14 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
20 %
SEVERE
15 %
20 %
 
Sunday, Apr. 14, 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!

 

EXPERTS PREDICT A LONG, DEEP SOLAR MINIMUM: An international panel of researchers led by NASA and NOAA has released a new prediction for the solar cycle: The current solar minimum is going to deepen, potentially reaching a century-class low in the next year or so. This will be followed by a new Solar Max in the years 2023-2026. Get the full story here.

BIG SUNSPOT PRODUCES "OCEAN SURF" SOUNDS: If you have a shortwave radio, you might have heard some unusual sounds this week. Big sunspot AR2738 is producing strong bursts of radio static. "They sound like ocean surf," says Thomas Ashcraft, who recorded this specimen on April 13th using an amateur radio telescope in New Mexico:


These radio sounds are caused by beams of electrons--in this case, accelerated by B-class explosions in the sunspot's magnetic canopy. As the electrons slice through the sun's atmosphere, they generate a ripple of plasma waves and radio emissions detectable on Earth 93 million miles away. Astronomers classify solar radio bursts into five types; Ashcraft's recording captured a Type III.

"There have been a lot of these sounds over the past week, and they appear to be intensifying now that the sunspot is  directly facing Earth," says Ashcraft.

Readers, if you would like to detect solar radio bursts in your own backyard, order a radio telescope kit from NASA's RadioJOVE project.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

MOTHER'S DAY IS LESS THAN ONE MONTH AWAY: Tell Mom how much you love her -- to the Moon and Back! On March 5th, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched an array of cosmic ray sensors to the edge of space onboard a helium balloon. This Mother's Day pendant went along for the ride:

The silvery crescent declares "I love you to the Moon and Back" and surrounds a 14K gold plated heart labeled "Mom."

You can have it for $99.95. 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. 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

FALCON HEAVY MAKES A "ROCKET COMET": On April 11th at 6:35 pm EDT, SpaceX launched the new Arabsat-6A communications satellite onboard a Falcon Heavy rocket. Later the same evening, Petr Horálek looked up at the Milky Way from Soneva Fushi, an atoll in the Maldive Islands south of Africa. "I got a big surprise," says Horálek. "From out of nowhere, a big diffuse slowly moving object appeared in Aquarius, getting wider and wider, and looking like a big comet in the sky."

Horálek witnessed the Falcon Heavy's second stage, executing a burn which propelled the satellite into a geosynchronous orbit. "The image shows an 8 minute long exposure of the phenomenon while the object was expanding in the sky (moved from right to left)," he explains. "I have never seen something like that before, such a unique and spectacular show in the sky!"

This is the same type of rocket that, on its maiden voyage 14 months ago, hurled a cherry red roadster to the orbit of Mars. The Falcon Heavy is currently the world's most powerful rocket and has the third-highest capacity of any rocket ever to reach orbit, trailing only the America's mighty Saturn V and the Soviet Energia. If SpaceX continues its successes with the Falcon Heavy, "rocket comets" could become a frequent sight in the years ahead.

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 Apr. 14, 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 April 14, 2019 there were 1967 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2019 FU
2019-Apr-09
5.3 LD
14.2
85
2014 UR
2019-Apr-09
13 LD
4.6
17
2016 GW221
2019-Apr-10
10.4 LD
5.3
39
2019 GQ
2019-Apr-10
5.2 LD
8.4
17
2019 GP19
2019-Apr-11
5.5 LD
4.1
17
2014 HD177
2019-Apr-11
10.8 LD
14.5
102
2019 GV5
2019-Apr-11
1.7 LD
3.9
5
2019 GE1
2019-Apr-11
3.9 LD
6.5
13
2019 GH19
2019-Apr-11
16.9 LD
8.6
27
2019 GY5
2019-Apr-11
5.9 LD
27.3
26
2019 FB3
2019-Apr-12
11.9 LD
14.2
45
2019 GC4
2019-Apr-12
5.1 LD
33.5
37
2019 GL4
2019-Apr-12
14.4 LD
13.2
85
2019 GQ1
2019-Apr-12
13.4 LD
12.7
40
2019 GN
2019-Apr-13
1.7 LD
11.9
14
2019 GO4
2019-Apr-13
5 LD
23.5
31
2019 FO1
2019-Apr-13
14.3 LD
9.7
29
2019 FH1
2019-Apr-13
18 LD
3.8
31
2019 GN4
2019-Apr-13
7.4 LD
18.4
40
2019 GC6
2019-Apr-18
0.6 LD
5.6
17
2012 XO134
2019-Apr-18
14.8 LD
11
56
2019 FN2
2019-Apr-18
4.1 LD
7.7
66
522684
2019-Apr-19
19 LD
11.5
214
2019 GZ3
2019-Apr-20
10.1 LD
14.2
23
2019 GM
2019-Apr-21
19.4 LD
10.4
36
2019 FV2
2019-Apr-22
15.6 LD
2.3
33
2019 GM4
2019-Apr-23
9.1 LD
8.4
72
2019 GF1
2019-Apr-27
4.7 LD
1.9
11
2019 GX5
2019-Apr-28
7.2 LD
10.7
26
2018 KK1
2019-May-05
13.9 LD
13.9
71
2017 RC
2019-May-09
14.5 LD
10.6
9
2008 HS3
2019-May-09
14.6 LD
5.3
162
2018 VX8
2019-May-12
6.2 LD
15.5
118
2019 GT1
2019-May-17
6.1 LD
3.9
36
2012 KT12
2019-May-18
3.3 LD
3.9
20
2015 KQ18
2019-May-25
10.7 LD
13.1
30
66391
2019-May-25
13.5 LD
21.5
1780
2003 LH
2019-May-28
15.6 LD
7.4
32
2011 HP
2019-May-30
12.3 LD
8.4
135
2014 MF18
2019-Jun-06
8.8 LD
3
22
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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