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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 547.2 km/sec
density: 9.43 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 1146 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C3
2333 UT Aug17
24-hr: M2
1345 UT Aug17
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2350 UT
Daily Sun: 17 Aug 22
Expand: labels | no labels
Sunspot AR3078 has a delta-class magnetic field that poses a threat for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 119
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 17 Aug 2022

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2022 total: 1 day (<1%)
2021 total: 64 days (18%)
2020 total: 208 days (57%)
2019 total: 281 days (77%)
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 17 Aug 2022


Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 13.24
x1010 W Neutral
Max: 49.4
x1010 W Hot (10/1957)
Min: 2.05
x1010 W Cold (02/2009)
explanation | more data: gfx, txt
Updated 17 Aug 2022

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 129 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 17 Aug 2022

Cosmic Rays Solar Cycle 25 is beginning, and this is reflected in the number of cosmic rays entering Earth's atmosphere. Neutron counts from the University of Oulu's Sodankyla Geophysical Observatory show that cosmic rays reaching Earth are slowly declining--a result of the yin-yang relationship between the solar cycle and cosmic rays.

Oulu Neutron Counts

Percentages of the Space Age average:
today: +3.9% Elevated
48-hr change: +1.3%
Max: +11.7% Very High
(12/2009)
Min: -32.1% Very Low (06/1991)
explanation | more data
Updated 17 Aug 2022 @ 0700 UT

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 6 storm
24-hr max: Kp= 6
storm
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 16.48 nT
Bz: 16.25 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 1146 UT
Coronal Holes: 17 Aug 22

Solar wind flowing from this long equatorial coronal hole should reach Earth on August 18-19.
Credit: SDO/AIA

Noctilucent Clouds
Noctilucent cloud season is underway--but also nearing its end. AIM images show the polar ring of NLCs is contracting as northern summer winds down.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated Aug17
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2022 Aug 17 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
40 %
40 %
CLASS X
10 %
10 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2022 Aug 17 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
25 %
MINOR
35 %
35 %
SEVERE
50 %
25 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
01 %
05 %
MINOR
05 %
15 %
SEVERE
90 %
75 %
 
Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022
What's up in space
       
 

Never miss another geomagnetic storm. Sign up for Space Weather Alerts and you'll receive a text message when magnetic storms erupt. Aurora your guides and professional astronomers use this service. You can, too!

 

CME SPARKS GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A CME hit Earth's magnetic field on Aug. 17th (0316 UT). First contact had little effect, but hours later while Earth was passing through the CME's wake, a G2-class geomagnetic storm broke out. It's over now, but more storms could be in the offing. A series of CMEs is expected to graze Earth's magnetic field on Aug. 18-19, potentially sparking a strong G3-class geomagnetic storm. Geomagnetic storm alerts: SMS Text

SUNSPOT AR3078 KEEPS EXPLODING: For the 3rd day in a row, active sunspot AR3078 is producing strong M-class solar flares. The latest, an M2-category explosion on Aug. 17th (1345 UT), hurled a plume of cool dark plasma into space:

A CME will almost certainly emerge from the blast site (confirmation awaits fresh data from SOHO). But will it hit Earth? Like other CMEs AR3078 has produced this week, this one will skate the southern edge of the Earth strike zone. If it does hit us, the blow will be grazing, not full strength. However, even a grazing blow can cause a geomagnetic storm, especially in combination with other impacts, so stay tuned. Solar flare alerts: SMS Text

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Free:
Spaceweather.com Newsletter

COSMIC RAY YIN-YANG PENDANT: To celebrate the yin-yang relationship between solar activity and galactic cosmic rays, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus just launched a yin-yang pendant to the stratosphere. On July 23rd, it flew 104,265 ft high onboard a cosmic ray research balloon:

You can have it for $133.95. In this pendant, a sterling silver frame surrounds balancing swirls of black onyx and mother of pearl--all suspended from a matching 18-inch sterling silver chain. It makes a great anniversary, birthday or (never too early!) Christmas gift.

The students are selling yin-yang pendants to support their cosmic ray ballooning program. Each one comes with a greeting card showing the pendant in flight and telling the story of its journey to the edge of space and back again.

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

A COMET WITH TWO TAILS: Something special is happening to Comet C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS). It's about to plunge through Earth's orbital plane (a.k.a. the ecliptic). The passage is giving us a rare view of the comet's two tails:

Gerald Rhemann took the picture on Aug. 15th using a 12-inch telescope in Farm Tivoli, Namibia. It shows Comet K2's dust tail pointing left, and its gaseous ion tail pointing down almost 90 degrees away.

All comets have two tails. Think about the material vaporizing from a comet's nucleus. It's a mixture of gas and dust. Lightweight gas is blown straight away from the sun by solar wind. Heavier dust lags behind, more closely tracing the comet's orbit. Voilà--two tails. Playing with Comet K2's interactive 3D orbit reveals why the two tails are currently at right angles.

This beautiful geometry will persist for some time. The exact date that Comet K2 passes through the ecliptic plane is Aug. 25th, but it will remain close to the plane for weeks. Astrophotographers, point your optics here.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Free:
Spaceweather.com Newsletter


Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
Free:
Spaceweather.com Newsletter


  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 Aug 17, 2022, the network reported 30 fireballs.
(22 sporadics, 6 Perseids, 1 southern delta Aquariid)

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 August 17, 2022 there were 2288 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2015 FF
2022-Aug-12
11.2 LD
9.2
17
2022 PX1
2022-Aug-12
2.8 LD
35.1
125
2022 OT1
2022-Aug-13
12.4 LD
5.8
36
2022 OA4
2022-Aug-14
18.2 LD
7.9
23
2022 PJ1
2022-Aug-16
11 LD
5.9
19
2022 PW
2022-Aug-16
1.4 LD
7.5
30
2022 QA
2022-Aug-16
0.8 LD
15.2
14
2022 PC
2022-Aug-18
16.5 LD
4.1
60
2019 AV13
2022-Aug-20
13.8 LD
9.2
135
2020 QW3
2022-Aug-22
14.1 LD
18.1
30
2015 QH3
2022-Aug-22
5.6 LD
7
14
2017 BU
2022-Aug-29
15.8 LD
7
32
2021 CQ5
2022-Sep-01
8.7 LD
13.5
7
2008 RW
2022-Sep-12
17.5 LD
10.2
98
2020 PT4
2022-Sep-15
19.7 LD
10.8
39
2016 HF2
2022-Sep-29
19.2 LD
5.6
21
2018 ER1
2022-Oct-02
14.7 LD
4
27
2018 VG
2022-Oct-05
18.5 LD
6.7
12
2021 TJ10
2022-Oct-06
19.6 LD
8.1
6
2006 SG7
2022-Oct-07
16.7 LD
18.4
93
2013 TJ6
2022-Oct-07
11.7 LD
14.4
32
2013 SL20
2022-Oct-14
6.2 LD
12.1
45
2020 TO2
2022-Oct-15
1.4 LD
12.6
18
Notes: LD means "Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU.
  Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere

SPACE WEATHER BALLOON DATA: Almost 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 sensors that detect secondary cosmic rays, a form of radiation from space that can penetrate all the way down to Earth's surface. Our monitoring program has been underway without interruption for 7 years, resulting in a unique dataset of in situ atmospheric measurements.

Latest results (July 2022): Atmospheric radiation is decreasing in 2022. Our latest measurements in July 2022 registered a 6-year low:

What's going on? Ironically, the radiation drop is caused by increasing solar activity. Solar Cycle 25 has roared to life faster than forecasters expected. The sun's strengthening and increasingly tangled magnetic field repels cosmic rays from deep space. In addition, solar coronal mass ejections (CMEs) sweep aside cosmic rays, causing sharp reductions called "Forbush Decreases." The two effects blend together to bring daily radiation levels down.

.Who cares? Cosmic rays are a surprisingly "down to Earth" form of space weather. They can alter the chemistry of the atmosphere, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. According to a study from the Harvard T.H. Chan school of public health, crews of aircraft have higher rates of cancer than the general population. The researchers listed cosmic rays, irregular sleep habits, and chemical contaminants as leading risk factors. A number of controversial studies (#1, #2, #3, #4) go even further, linking cosmic rays with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.

Technical notes: 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.

Data points in the graph labeled "Stratospheric Radiation" correspond to the peak of the Regener-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 Regener 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.
SolarMonitor.org
  information about sunspots based on the latest NOAA/USAF Active Region Summary
Starlink Satellite Statistics
  current counts of failed and deployed Starlink satellites from Jonathan's Space Page
The Aerospace Corporation
  Authoritative predictions of space junk and satellite re-entries
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
Live Aurora Webcam
  from Lights over Lapland
Heliophysics
  the underlying science of space weather

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