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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 321.5 km/sec
density: 5.9 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A1
1703 UT Oct29
24-hr: A1
1010 UT Oct29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Oct 18
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 29 Oct 2018

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 11 days
2018 total: 177 days (59%)
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 29 Oct 2018


Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 4.2
x1010 W Cold
Max: 49.4
x1010 W Hot (10/1957)
Min: 2.1
x1010 W Cold (02/2009)
explanation | more data
Updated 29 Oct 2018

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 69 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 29 Oct 2018

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.3 nT
Bz: -1.1 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 29 Oct 18

Solar wind flowing from this large coronal hole could reach Earth on Nov. 3-4, possiby causing G1-class geomagnetic storms. 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 29 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 29 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
25 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
25 %
SEVERE
20 %
30 %
 
Monday, Oct. 29, 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!

 

ARCTIC-GREEN HALLOWEEN: A stream of solar wind flowing from a small hole in the sun's atmosphere is approaching Earth. Estimated time of arrival: Oct. 31st. The gaseous material could create ghostly-green skies around the Arctic Circle for Halloween. Free: Aurora Alerts.

VENUS IS NOW A MORNING STAR: Last week, Venus passed by the sun, transitioning from the evening sky to the morning. Oleg Toumilovitch of Johannesburg, South Africa, may have been the first to spot the second planet in the rosy glow of sunrise. This is how Venus looked in the eyepiece of his telescope on Oct. 27th:

"I used the few minutes just before sunrise to safely bring Venus into the field of view of my telescope and recorded a short video as the first rays of the sun broke through thick atmosphere," says Toumilovitch. "Venus was only 4°48' above the horizon and 6°13' from the sun."

Like the Moon, Venus has phases. At the moment, it is a slender crescent. Venus's night side is turned toward Earth, leaving only a curved sliver visible as sunlight filters through the edge of the planet's acid cloudtops.

And if you think Venus looks a bit like a rainbow, you're right. "Atmospheric refraction at this low altitude splits the colors of Venus into red, green, and blue, producing a rainbow effect," notes Toumilovitch.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

PURPLE HEART SPACE PENDANT: Nothing says "I Love You" like a heart-shaped pendant from the edge of space. Last week, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew an array of cosmic ray sensors to the stratosphere onboard a giant helium balloon. This purple heart went along for the ride:

You can have it for $129.95. The students are selling these pendants as a fund-raiser for their cosmic ray monitoring program. They make great anniversary, birthday and Christmas gifts. Each pendant comes with a greeting card showing the jewelry in flight and telling the story of its journey to the stratosphere and back again.

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

METEOR DUST IN THE WIND: Talk about a lucky shot. On Oct. 11th, astrophotographer Michal Kaluzny of Nowy Belecin, Poland, was making a deep exposure of the constellation Orion when a bright fireball disintegrated beneath the Hunter's belt. The video is a must see.

Although this meteor cut across Orion, it was ironically not an Orionid. Orionid meteors come from Halley's Comet, and they emerge every October from a radiant near the Hunter's shoulder. Tracing the fireball's path backward, we can see that it came from another part of the sky. It was probably a random meteoroid scooped up by Earth while the Orionid meteor shower was coincidentally active.

Kaluzny's video did capture an authentic Orionid. It is the green flash at the 8-second mark. In addition "The light lines moving in the frame are geostationary satellites," adds  Kaluzny. "And the green color of the sky is air glow." A busy night indeed.


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. 29, 2018, the network reported 30 fireballs.
(24 sporadics, 5 Orionids, 1 Southern Taurid)

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 29, 2018 there were 1936 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2018 UH1
2018-Oct-24
5.3 LD
13
35
2018 TT5
2018-Oct-24
15.9 LD
10.2
29
2018 US2
2018-Oct-25
19.1 LD
9.6
38
2018 UE
2018-Oct-25
17.3 LD
16.1
44
475534
2018-Oct-29
7.5 LD
18.1
204
2018 UC
2018-Oct-30
5.4 LD
9.3
23
2018 UY1
2018-Nov-04
7.4 LD
8.3
56
2002 VE68
2018-Nov-04
14.7 LD
8.6
282
2018 TF3
2018-Nov-05
7.8 LD
20.6
302
2010 VQ
2018-Nov-07
15.6 LD
3.8
10
2018 UQ1
2018-Nov-13
9.4 LD
12.3
153
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
2018 TG6
2018-Dec-02
3.9 LD
1.4
12
2013 VX4
2018-Dec-09
4.1 LD
6.6
65
2015 XX169
2018-Dec-13
17 LD
5.8
12
2017 XQ60
2018-Dec-21
11.3 LD
15.6
47
163899
2018-Dec-22
7.4 LD
6.2
1232
418849
2018-Dec-23
16.6 LD
17.6
269
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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