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Solar wind
speed: 730.7 km/sec
density: 0.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B6
2050 UT Aug16
24-hr: C2
1318 UT Aug16
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 16 Aug 13
None of these sunspots is actively flaring. Solar activity is low. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 129
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 16 Aug 2013

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Update
16 Aug 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 123 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 16 Aug 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 5
storm
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.5 nT
Bz: 1.9 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 16 Aug 13
Earth is inside a stream of solar wind flowing from this coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA.

Spaceweather.com is now posting daily satellite images of noctilucent clouds (NLCs), which hover over Earth's poles at the edge of space. The data come from NASA's AIM spacecraft. The north polar "daisy" pictured below is a composite of near-realtime images from AIM assembled by researchers at the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP).
Noctilucent Clouds
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 08-16-2013 11:55:03
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Aug 16 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
35 %
35 %
CLASS X
05 %
05 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2013 Aug 16 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
45 %
20 %
MINOR
10 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
15 %
MINOR
30 %
30 %
SEVERE
50 %
30 %
 
Friday, Aug. 16, 2013
What's up in space
 

When is the best time to see auroras? Where is the best place to go? And how do you photograph them? These questions and more are answered in a new book, Northern Lights - a Guide, by Pal Brekke & Fredrik Broms.

 
Northern Lights - a Guide

GEOMAGNETIC UNREST: A high-speed solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetic field, and this is causing minor geomagnetic storms around the poles. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

COLORFUL SPRITES OVER NEBRASKA: "August 12th was another successful night in our sprites campaign," reports Jason Ahrns of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. With a team of researchers from NCAR, he has been flying over the midwestern USA onboard a Gulfstream V in search of exotic forms of lightning. As they were photographing a thunderstorm over Nebraska, these six sprites appeared:

These remarkably beautiful discharges were red on top and purple on the bottom. "I really can't explain the color change," says Ahrns. "That's one of the things we hope to investigate with this campaign by capturing high speed spectra."

First documented in 1989 by scientists from the University of Minnesota who photographed strange flashes coming out of the tops of thunderstorms, sprites remain a mystery today. Neither their basic physics nor their effect on the surrounding atmosphere is well understood. "Do sprites have a large scale impact on the middle atmosphere?" asks Ahrns. "Sprites clearly represent some kind of transfer of energy, but is it on a scale that has a significant effect on the weather and climate? We can't answer that without studying them."

The ephemeral nature of sprites (they typically last no more than a few milliseconds) makes them tricky to study. Researchers on the NCAR Gulfstream capture sprites using Phantom cameras running at 10,000 frames per second. "One of the Phantoms has a diffraction grating in front of it to capture high speed spectra, which I don't think has ever been done before," notes Ahrns.

The prettiest pictures, though, come from Arhns' own camera, a dSLR that he mounts in the window of the airplane to capture "beauty shots." The image above is an example. More may be found in Ahrns' personal blog.

Realtime Sprite Photo Gallery

A NEW STAR IN THE SKY: Around the world, amateur astronomers are turning their telescopes toward minor constellation Delphinus where a new star has appeared. Koichi Itagaki of Yamagata, Japan, discovered the nova on August 14th. At the time, the stellar brightness was +6.3. Since then it has continued to brighten, crossing the 6th magnitude threshold of naked-eye visibility. John Chumack photographed the surging nova on August 15th from the John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs, Ohio:

"The nova is hard to see naked eye unless you are in a very dark sky and know exactly where to look," says Chumack, "but this is a very bright nova visible in binoculars." He used a 16-inch Newtonian telescope to take the picture.

Backyard astronomers who wish to see this nova should point their GOTO telescopes to coordinates 20:23:30.7, +20:46:06 (J2000). More information and updates are available from Sky and Telescope.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery


Realtime Meteor Photo Gallery


Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery


Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]


Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

  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 16, 2013 there were 1397 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2013 PR43
Aug 10
2.6 LD
86 m
1999 CF9
Aug 23
24.7 LD
1.1 km
2002 JR9
Aug 31
63.5 LD
1.4 km
2013 PX6
Sep 21
68.4 LD
1.0 km
1992 SL
Sep 23
70 LD
1.0 km
2000 DK79
Nov 10
49.1 LD
3.2 km
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.
  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
Heliophysics
  the underlying science of space weather
Space Weather Alerts
   
  more links...
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