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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 520.4 km/sec
density: 14.0 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B4
1750 UT Apr26
24-hr: B4
1750 UT Apr26
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 26 Apr 17
These sunspots have stable magnetic fields that pose no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 36
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 26 Apr 2017

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2017 total: 30 days (26%)
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%)

Updated 26 Apr 2017


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 81 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 26 Apr 2017

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.5 nT
Bz: 0.5 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 26 Apr 17

Earth is exiting a stream of solar wind flowing from this large coronal hole. Credit: NASA/SDO.
Noctilucent Clouds The southern season for noctilucent clouds began on Nov. 17, 2016. Come back to this spot every day to see the "daily daisy" from NASA's AIM spacecraft, which is monitoring the dance of electric-blue around the Antarctic Circle.
Switch view: Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula, East Antarctica, Polar
Updated at: 02-24-2017 17:55:02
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2017 Apr 26 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: 2017 Apr 26 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
30 %
10 %
MINOR
05 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
30 %
25 %
SEVERE
35 %
20 %
 
Wednesday, Apr. 26, 2017
What's up in space
       
 

Looking for a far-out Mother's Day gift? Find something truly out of this world in the Earth to Sky Store. Space roses, Cosmic Reindeer, Arctic space pendants, and more!

 

CRESCENT SUPERMOON: In recent years, we've heard a lot about supermoons--full Moons that are extra big and bright because they occur on the perigee side of the Moon's elliptical orbit. Now, let us introduce you to the crescent supermoon. On Thursday, April 27th, the crescent Moon occurs at perigee, making it as much as 14% wider and 30% brighter than other crescent Moons of the year. To find it, you'll have to look deep into the rosy glow of sunset:

Amir Shahcheraghian photographed this sledar crescent from Qeshm, Iran, in Dec. 2016. At the time, the Moon was about 1 day past New. Thursday's equally young Moon will be a little bigger, a little brighter, and super beautiful. Tip: Binoculars may help you find this skinny supermoon in the bright glow of sunset. However, do not point your optics at the sun! Got pictures? Submit them here.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

THESE PENDANTS HAVE TOUCHED SPACE: These pendants have touched space--and returned to Earth in time for Mother's Day. To support their cosmic ray monitoring program, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew a payload-full of jewelry to the stratosphere onboard a high-altitude helium balloon. Here's one of the pendants 113,200 feet above the Sierras of central California:

These necklaces make great Mother's Day gifts--and you have have one for $89.95. Each glittering pendant comes with a greeting card showing the jewelry in flight and telling the story of its journey to the stratosphere and back again.

More far-out Mother's Day gifts may be found in the Earth to Sky Store. All proceeds support atmospheric radiation monitoring and hands-on STEM education.

 

A QUAKE IN EARTH'S MAGNETIC FIELD: When a CME from the sun struck Earth on April 22nd, our planet's magnetic field reverberated from the impact. A day later, a stream of solar wind arrived, hit, and had the same effect. In Lancashire, England, a magnetometer operated by Stuart Green captured the quaking of Earth's magnetic field:


"The data clearly show when the relative calm was shattered on April 21st at around 16:30 (UT) when the CME struck, being quickly followed by fast flowing solar wind from a large and persistent coronal hole," says Green. "The rumblings have been continuing through the intervening days."

Vibrations in the magnetic field allow particles normally trapped in our planet's magnetosphere to rain down around the poles, igniting auroras. Thomas J. Spence was camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of northern Minnesota on April 22nd when the sky suddenly lit up:


"I ventured into the BWCA less than 24 hours after the ice was gone from Kawihiwi Lake--and coincidentally not long after the CME impact," says Spence. "The aurora began soon after sunset and continued until first light. It was an incredible first spring trip into this amazing wilderness." Free: Aurora Alerts

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery


Realtime Comet 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. 26, 2017, the network reported 9 fireballs.
(9 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 26, 2017 there were 1799 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2017 HW2
2017-Apr-27
9.2 LD
9.1
18
2017 FE157
2017-Apr-29
18.4 LD
8.6
63
2017 HK1
2017-May-05
16.9 LD
2.6
38
2015 VD1
2017-May-07
18.2 LD
10.5
34
2012 EC
2017-May-16
19.5 LD
4.5
74
2017 CS
2017-May-29
8 LD
9.1
468
418094
2017-Jun-01
8 LD
23.2
490
2010 VB1
2017-Jun-16
10.3 LD
8.3
81
471984
2017-Jun-18
19.1 LD
7.7
102
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

Readers, thank you for your patience while we continue to develop this new section of Spaceweather.com. We've been working to streamline our data reduction, allowing us to post results from balloon flights much more rapidly, and we have developed a new data product, shown here:

This plot displays radiation measurements not only in the stratosphere, but also at aviation altitudes. 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. These measurements are made by our usual cosmic ray payload as it passes through aviation altitudes en route to the stratosphere over California.

What is this all about? 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 12% since 2015:


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.

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.

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.

  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
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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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