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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 361.5 km/sec
density: 6.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A8
1908 UT Nov17
24-hr: A8
0839 UT Nov17
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 17 Nov 19
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 16 Nov 2019

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 4 days
2019 total: 240 days (75%)
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 Nov 2019


Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 3.74
x1010 W Cold
Max: 49.4
x1010 W Hot (10/1957)
Min: 2.05
x1010 W Cold (02/2009)
explanation | more data: gfx, txt
Updated 17
Nov 2019

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 70 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 17 Nov 2019

Cosmic Rays Solar minimum is underway. The sun's magnetic field is weak, allowing extra cosmic rays into the solar system. Neutron counts from the University of Oulu's Sodankyla Geophysical Observatory show that cosmic rays reaching Earth in 2019 are near a Space Age peak.

Oulu Neutron Counts

Percentages of the Space Age average:
today: +9.5% High
7-day change: -0.2%
Max: +11.7% Very High
(12/2009)
Min: -32.1% Very Low (06/1991)
explanation | more data
Updated 17 Nov 2019 @ 1700 UT

Since 2015, Earth to Sky cosmic ray balloons launched weekly from California have also detected significant increases in atmospheric radiation. Dose rates reported below are in the stratosphere at approx. 100,000 ft.

California Cosmic Ray Balloons
Monitoring started in March 2015
now: 4.46 uGy/hr High
change since 2015: +18%
Max: 4.79 uGy/hr High
(10/2019)
Min: 3.80 uGy/hr Low (05/2015)
explanation | more data
Updated 16 Nov 2019

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.2 nT
Bz: 1.3 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 17 Nov 19

Earth is inside a weak stream of solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole.
Credit: SDO/AIA

Noctilucent Clouds The southern hemisphere season for noctilucent clouds is about to begin. Daily images from NASA's AIM spacecraft have resumed.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 11-16-2019 20:55:02 UT
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2019 Nov 17 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: 2019 Nov 17 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
15 %
MINOR
01 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
15 %
25 %
SEVERE
10 %
25 %
 
Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019
What's up in space
       
 

Marianne’s Arctic tours: Operating in small groups of 7 to 14 persons--all needs supplied for safety, comfort and pleasure. Night & day photography or non-photographic landscape - wildlife tours. Click for details!

 

LOOK FOR LEONID METEORS MONDAY MORNING: Earth is entering a stream of debris from Comet Tempel-Tuttle, source of the annual Leonid meteor shower. Forecasters expect 10 to 15 meteors per hour to fly out of the constellation Leo when the shower peaks on Monday morning, Nov. 18th. The best time to look is during the dark hours before sunrise when Leo is high in the southeast: Sky map.

A RARE HALO AROUND THE MOON: Fans of the Hubble Space Telescope will recall pictures of the Cat's Eye Nebula, a luminous helical structure more than 3000 light years from Earth. Last night in Albany, Missouri, Dan Bush saw something similar just above his own backyard:

"It was a unique halo around the Moon," says Bush. "It appears to be two superimposed halos slightly offset like a helix."

Indeed, that's exactly what it is. Pencil-shaped crystals of ice floating in cirrus clouds above Albany caught rays of bright moonlight, bending them into two concentric shapes: (1) a circular 22-degree halo and (2) an oval circumscribed halo. Circular halos around the Moon are common on crispy autumn nights; circumscribed halos less so. Their rare combination briefly teleported Bush across the galaxy to a helix far, far away.

Realtime Spaceweather Photo Gallery
Free:
Spaceweather.com Newsletter

LADY AURORA, MEET BABY AURORA: Last night in Tromsø, Norway, people of all ages watched the sky turn green. "We had one of the youngest aurora chasers ever on our tour," reports Markus Varik. "Luckily, she brought her parents with her. The display was phenomenal and everybody should see something like this at least once in their life."

The display was caused by a minor stream of solar wind emerging from a southern hole in the sun's atmosphere. "Activity picked up a lot when we made first contact with the stream on Nov. 16th," says Varik. "Let's see what tonight brings!" Indeed, it could be even better as the solar wind speed approaches 450 km/s--sufficient for another round of bright Arctic auroras on Nov. 17th.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Free:
Spaceweather.com Newsletter

ANNIE JUMP CANNON IN THE STRATOSPHERE: Pioneering astronomer Annie Jump Cannon invented the modern system of stellar classification. To honor her, the US Mint has created a $1 American Innovation coin featuring Cannon's silhouette and a spray of stars. On Nov. 11th, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew some to the stratosphere, 111,221 feet above the Sierra Nevada mountains of central California:

You can have a roll of 25 for $149.95. The students are selling the coins to support their cosmic ray ballooning program. Each roll contains 25 one dollar coins with uncirculated finishes. Cannon is shown on one side and the Statue of Liberty on the other. Individual coins make great Christmas stocking stuffers for young scientists--or give the whole roll as a special gift. Your order comes with a greeting card showing the coins in flight.

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

  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 Nov. 17, 2019, the network reported 36 fireballs.
(15 sporadics, 15 Leonids, 4 alpha Monocerotids, 1 northern Taurid, 1 Quadrantid)

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 November 17, 2019 there were 2018 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2019 VW1
2019-Nov-12
15.3 LD
8.5
26
2019 VK3
2019-Nov-12
10.5 LD
19.4
27
2019 VN2
2019-Nov-12
16 LD
3.8
14
2010 JG
2019-Nov-12
19.6 LD
14.9
235
2019 UB14
2019-Nov-12
4.9 LD
15.4
22
2019 UH1
2019-Nov-13
9.5 LD
9.1
52
2019 UN12
2019-Nov-13
3.8 LD
28.8
146
2019 VX
2019-Nov-13
4.1 LD
10.8
31
2019 VU5
2019-Nov-14
3.5 LD
22.6
45
2019 UE8
2019-Nov-15
7.7 LD
6.6
26
2019 VL5
2019-Nov-15
9.3 LD
8.4
25
2019 UR2
2019-Nov-18
18 LD
13.4
132
2019 UK6
2019-Nov-20
15.4 LD
7.8
65
481394
2019-Nov-21
11.3 LD
7.9
372
2019 VK
2019-Nov-21
5.8 LD
7.6
43
2008 EA9
2019-Nov-23
10.5 LD
2.2
10
2019 VF1
2019-Nov-25
13.3 LD
17.2
89
2017 AP4
2019-Dec-03
8.5 LD
7.5
15
2018 XW2
2019-Dec-07
17.4 LD
13
28
2019 VH5
2019-Dec-08
18.1 LD
9.8
71
216258
2019-Dec-20
15.3 LD
11.8
324
2013 XY20
2019-Dec-21
18.4 LD
1.9
28
2017 XQ60
2019-Dec-22
11 LD
15.6
47
310442
2019-Dec-26
19 LD
12.3
372
2019 AE3
2020-Jan-02
4.9 LD
8.2
13
2019 UO
2020-Jan-10
11.8 LD
9.4
378
2011 EP51
2020-Jan-15
19.6 LD
7.1
32
2017 RZ15
2020-Jan-15
12.1 LD
7.4
14
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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