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Solar wind
speed: 356.4 km/sec
density: 6.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C6
1743 UT Dec05
24-hr: C6
1743 UT Dec05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 05 Dec 13
Sunspot AR1909 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic fields that harbor energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 98
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 05 Dec 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

05 Dec 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 138 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 05 Dec 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 0.9 nT
Bz: 0.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 05 Dec 13
A stream of solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Dec. 7-8. Credit: SDO/AIA. 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: 12-04-2013 13:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Dec 05 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
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: 2013 Dec 05 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
25 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
20 %
25 %
20 %
35 %
Thursday, Dec. 5, 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

QUIET SUN: The sun's southern hemisphere is peppered with sunspots, but none of them is actively flaring. Solar activity remains low. NOAA forecasters estimate a 15% chance of M-class solar flares and a scant 1% chance of X-flares on Dec. 5th. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

SUNSET SKY SHOW: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look southwest. The crescent Moon and Venus are converging for a beautiful close encounter. These are the two brightest objects in the night sky and they pop out of the twilight long before the sky fades to black. Erwin Matys and Karoline Mrazek of Project Nightflight photographed the pair converging over the Canary island El Hierro on Dec. 4th:

They'll be even closer together tonight. With less than 10o of arc seperating the two, they would fit together inside the bowl of the Big Dipper.

If you have binoculars or a small telescope, take a closer look at the heavenly bodies. Both are crescents. Like the Moon, Venus has phases and tonight it is 27% illuminated. For comparison, the lunar crescent is half as wide, about 13.5%.

Bonus: This week Venus is at its brightest for 2013, shining almost 200 times brighter than a 1st-magnitude star. That's why it is so easy to see before darkness falls. Look southwest as soon as the sun sets. A Venus-Moon conjunction surrounded by twilight blue is one of the most beautiful sights in the heavens.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

WHO NEEDS COMET ISON? Astronomers are mourning the loss of Comet ISON, which disintegrated when it flew past the sun on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28). Who needs it? There is another comet brightening in the morning sky--naked-eye Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1). Martin McKenna sends this report from Northern Ireland: "This morning, the comet was easily visible as a fuzzy star of 4th magnitude with a long straight tail between the constellations Bootes and Hercules." He took this picture using a Canon 450D digital camera:

"I could see 5 degrees of tail with my unaided eye," continues McKenna. "Using the camera the tail was at least 10o long!"

Telescopes and longer exposures reveal much more. This image from Michael J├Ąger of Masenberg, Austria, shows a "disconnection event" disrupting the comet's tail on Dec. 5th. The disturbance could be caused by a gust of solar wind or perhaps an episode of vigorous outgassing in the comet's core.

Monitoring is encouraged. Comet Lovejoy is easy to find before dawn rising in the east before the sun. Sky maps: Dec. 6, 7, 8, 9.

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

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

On Dec. 5, 2013, the network reported 5 fireballs.
(3 sporadics, 1 sigma Hydrid, 1 Geminid)

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 December 5, 2013 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2013 WH25
Nov 29
0.4 LD
5 m
2013 WV43
Dec 3
9.5 LD
18 m
2011 YD29
Dec 28
6.1 LD
24 m
2007 SJ
Jan 21
18.9 LD
1.9 km
2012 BX34
Jan 28
9.6 LD
13 m
2006 DP14
Feb 10
6.2 LD
730 m
2000 EM26
Feb 18
8.8 LD
195 m
2000 EE14
Mar 6
64.6 LD
1.8 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.
  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
  the underlying science of space weather
Space Weather Alerts
  more links...
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