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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 404.6 km/sec
density: 5.72 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 1146 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M1
1830 UT Jan02
24-hr: M1
1830 UT Jan02
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2350 UT
Daily Sun: 02 Jan 24
Expand: labels | no labels | Carrington
Sunspot AR3536 has a 'delta-class' magnetic field that poses a continued threat for strong X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 44
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 02 Jan 2024

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2023 total: 0 days (0%)
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 02 Jan 2024

Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 19.82x1010 W Warm
Max: 49.4
x1010 W Hot (10/1957)
Min: 2.05
x1010 W Cold (02/2009)
explanation | more data: gfx, txt
Updated 01 Jan 2024

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 136 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 02 Jan 2024

Cosmic Rays Solar Cycle 25 is intensifying, 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: -4.0% Low
48-hr change: +1.0%
Max: +11.7% Very High
Min: -32.1% Very Low (06/1991)
explanation | more data
Updated 02 Jan 2024 @ 0700 UT

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1.33 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2.67
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.08 nT
Bz: -4.16 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 1146 UT
Coronal Holes: 02 Jan 24

Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole should reach Earth on Jan 2, 2024.
Credit: SDO/AIA

Polar Stratospheric Clouds
Colorful Type II polar stratospheric clouds (PSC) form when the temperature in the stratosphere drops to a staggeringly low -85C. NASA's MEERA-2 climate model predicts when the air up there is cold enough:

On Jan. 2, 2024, the Arctic stratosphere is too warm for Type II polar stratospheric clouds. | more data.

Noctilucent Clouds
The southern season for NLCs is underway. The first clouds were detected inside the Antarctic Circle on Dec. 4th by the NOAA 21 satellite. An instrument onboard NOAA 21 (OMPS LP) is able to detect NLCs (also known as "polar mesospheric clouds" or PMCs). For the rest of the season, daily maps from NOAA 21 will be presented here:

Updated: Jan 2, 2024

Each dot is a detected cloud. As the season progresses, these dots will multiply in number and shift in hue from blue to red as the brightness of the clouds intensifies.

NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2024 Jan 02 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
60 %
60 %
25 %
25 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2024 Jan 02 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
15 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
25 %
20 %
25 %
20 %
Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024
What's up in space

This is an AI Free Zone! Text created by ChatGPT and other Large Language Models is spreading rapidly across the Internet. It's well-written, artificial, frequently inaccurate. If you find a mistake on, rest assured it was made by a real human being.


BRACE FOR IMPACT: A CME is expected to graze Earth's magnetic field today, Jan. 2nd. Normally, grazing impacts have little effect, but this one might be different. The CME was hurled into space by the strongest solar flare of Solar Cycle 25, an X5-class explosion on New Year's Eve. G1-class geomagnetic storms are likely if/when the CME arrives. CME impact alerts: SMS Text

STRANGELY-MAGNETIZED SUNSPOT: There's something strange about sunspot AR3536. Its magnetic field is cockeyed. This magnetic map from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows what we mean:

All sunspots have two magnetic poles, plus (+) and minus (-). They're supposed to be oriented side-by-side, like this: . Instead, the magnetic field of AR3536 is perpendicular to normal: . This twist may explain why the sunspot is so active. Twisted magnetic fields harbor extra energy for solar flares. In the past 2 days, AR3636 has unleashed four M-class flares and an X5-class flare that ranks as the most powerful explosion of Solar Cycle 25 (so far).

If this strange magnetization persists, more flares may be in the offing. Stay tuned! Solar flare alerts: SMS Text

THE FIRST AURORAS OF THE YEAR: On Jan. 1st, a crack opened in Earth's magnetic field. Solar wind poured through the gap and fueled the first auroras of 2024. Northern lights tour guide Chris Percival photographed the display over Vesterålen, Norway:

"Our guests had a fantastic display here tonight in Arctic Norway," says Percival. "Shortly after the Moon rose and lit up the landscape, the aurora borealis decided to make a powerful appearance."

The "crack" was formed by the impact of a co-rotating interaction region (CIR). CIRs are transition zones between fast- and slow-moving streams of solar wind. They contain CME-like shocks that open cracks and spark strong Arctic auroras. Aurora alerts: SMS Text

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Free: Newsletter

AMBER DRAGONFLY SPACE PENDANT: This dragonfly has touched space. On Nov. 28th, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched it to the stratosphere onboard a cosmic ray research balloon, 109,228 feet above California's Sierra Nevada:

You can have it for $179.95. Made of genuine Baltic Amber with a sterling silver exoskeleton, the pendant measures 1 1/4 inch and comes with a matching 18-inch sterling silver chain. The wings of the dragonfly include four pieces of natural amber colored Cognac, Olive Green and Honey Yellow.

The students are selling space pendants to pay the helium bill for their cosmic ray ballooning program. Each one comes with a greeting card showing the jewelry in flight and telling the story of its trip to the stratosphere and back again.

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

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Free: Newsletter

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery
Free: 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

On Jan 01, 2024, the network reported 7 fireballs.
(7 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 January 2, 2024 there were 2349 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2023 YD
1.6 LD
2023 YZ
10 LD
2023 YM
10.1 LD
2024 AB
1.7 LD
2023 XE12
14.7 LD
2021 AM6
18.3 LD
2023 YR1
6.5 LD
2023 YR
4.5 LD
2024 AA
1.6 LD
2019 KK5
10.6 LD
2024 AC
6 LD
2002 AY1
15.2 LD
2023 XN13
15.8 LD
2023 XT14
12.1 LD
2023 YO1
6.8 LD
2020 AC1
19.3 LD
2023 WZ3
16.2 LD
2021 CZ2
8 LD
2021 BL3
17.2 LD
2017 BG92
11.8 LD
2011 CQ1
11.3 LD
2007 EG
16 LD
2008 OS7
7.5 LD
2019 CC5
19.2 LD
2023 SP1
14.3 LD
2020 DK
8.9 LD
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, 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.
  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.
  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
  the underlying science of space weather welcomes these supporters of science communication: RV Sales and Arizona Web Design & SEO and Ketamine Treatment & Therapy and C8 Corvette | Pest Control in PhoenixPlumber in Phoenix  

To get the best views of the cosmos, check out the Phoenix Window Glass Replacement experts for all your window and glass needs

To get an up close view of the heavenly bodies surrounding Earth, think about selling your junk car for cash and buying a high quality telescope.
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NASA Near Earth Asteroid Home Page

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