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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 304.1 km/sec
density: 2.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A8
2126 UT Jan18
24-hr: A9
0359 UT Jan18
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2359 UT
Daily Sun: 25 Jan 20
Sunspot 2757 is a member of old Solar Cycle 24. . Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 25 Jan 2020

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2020 total: 16 days (64%)
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 25 Jan 2020


Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 2.89
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 25 Jan 2020

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 71 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 25 Jan 2020

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: +10.2% Very High
7-day change: +0.3%
Max: +11.7% Very High
(12/2009)
Min: -32.1% Very Low (06/1991)
explanation | more data
Updated 25 Jan 2020 @ 0900 UT

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: 4.2 nT
Bz: -1.6 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 25 Jan 20

There are no deep equatorial coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun.
No significant solar wind streams are expected to hit Earth for the next 7 days. Credit: SDO/AIA

Noctilucent Clouds The southern hemisphere season for noctilucent clouds began on Nov. 15th--the earliest start in recorded history. Check here for daily images from NASA's AIM spacecraft.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 01-24-2020 15:55:05 UT
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2020 Jan 18 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: 2020 Jan 18 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
25 %
MINOR
05 %
10 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
25 %
30 %
SEVERE
30 %
40 %
 
Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020
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!

 

A NEW SUNSPOT FROM AN OLD SOLAR CYCLE: A new sunspot is emerging in the sun's northern hemisphere. Numbered AR2757, its magnetic polarity identifies it as a member of old Solar Cycle 24. Such sunspots will become increasingly rare in the weeks and months ahead as old Solar Cycle 24 decays and new Solar Cycle 25 intensifies to replace it. AR2757 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Aurora alerts: SMS Text.

POLAR STRATOSPHERIC CLOUDS: For the second day in a row, rare polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) have appeared over Sweden. "I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked out the window this morning," reports Jordan Herbst of Earth to Sky Calculus, who is in Abisko, Sweden, for a series of cosmic ray balloon launches. "I rushed outside, post-holing through deep snow to set up my camera with a good view of Lapporten." This image shows the clouds floating over Mt. Nissuntjårro:

"Just yesterday I heard about these clouds for the first time--and today I got to shoot an incredible display," he says. "I'm so glad to be here in the Arctic!"

Polar stratospheric clouds are very rare. Normally the stratosphere has no clouds at all. PSCs form when the temperature in the Arctic stratosphere drops to a staggeringly-low -85 C. Then, and only then, sparse water molecules begin to coalesce into tiny ice crystals -- the "stuff" of PSCs. High-altitude sunlight shining through the crystals creates intense iridescent colors.

In a typical Arctic winter, PSCs appear two or three times at most. This winter is different. The clouds have nearly filled Arctic skies on dozens of occasions, with some longtime residents describing it as the best outbreak in a generation.

MORE TO THE STORY: Jordan is a student member of Earth to Sky Calculus. The day before he took these pictures, he helped launch a high altitude balloon directly into a polar stratospheric cloud just north of Abisko. Cameras on the payload photographed the clouds from the stratosphere--a first, we believe. We'll be publishing the balloon footage next week. Stay tuned.

Realtime Spaceweather Photo Gallery
Free:
Spaceweather.com Newsletter

INFINITY PENDANT FOR VALENTINE'S DAY: Valentine's Day is less than one month away. Nothing says "I Love You" like an Infinity Pendant from the edge of space. On Jan. 8, 2020, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched a cosmic ray balloon. This authentic Swarovski crystal pendant hitched a ride, traveling 113,209 feet above the Sierra Nevada mountains of central California:

You can have it for $179.95. The students are selling these pendants to support their cosmic ray ballooning program. The glittering heart-shaped crystal is wrapped in a silver-embossed infinity clasp, symbolizing unending love. Each one comes with a romantic 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

Realtime Aurora 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 Jan. 25, 2020, the network reported 11 fireballs.
(11 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 25, 2020 there were 2018 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2020 AQ1
2020-Jan-20
10.5 LD
27.5
135
2020 BX1
2020-Jan-20
18.6 LD
13.1
34
2020 BK3
2020-Jan-20
0.8 LD
10.5
15
2013 DU
2020-Jan-20
14.9 LD
6.4
56
2020 BR5
2020-Jan-20
16.3 LD
5.1
27
2020 BQ2
2020-Jan-21
19.1 LD
8.7
32
2020 BP1
2020-Jan-21
13.9 LD
5.2
13
2020 BS1
2020-Jan-21
6.6 LD
5.5
20
2020 BP
2020-Jan-21
3.7 LD
16.7
27
2020 BB
2020-Jan-21
2 LD
3.7
7
2020 BY
2020-Jan-21
3.8 LD
16.7
46
2020 BN
2020-Jan-21
9.8 LD
6.1
10
2020 BB5
2020-Jan-22
0.7 LD
9
4
2020 BU
2020-Jan-22
19.3 LD
4.2
23
2020 BF6
2020-Jan-22
7.3 LD
8.7
30
2019 TF2
2020-Jan-23
16.2 LD
1.6
19
2020 BB1
2020-Jan-23
2.6 LD
11.4
8
2020 BH7
2020-Jan-23
12.3 LD
7.8
10
2018 BM5
2020-Jan-23
13.1 LD
8.6
12
2020 BF1
2020-Jan-24
7.8 LD
4.6
21
2020 BG6
2020-Jan-24
14.8 LD
8.3
42
2020 BH6
2020-Jan-25
0.2 LD
10.2
6
2020 AK3
2020-Jan-25
8.4 LD
6.9
22
2020 BH3
2020-Jan-26
5.1 LD
6.8
22
2020 BY5
2020-Jan-26
11.8 LD
7.8
19
2020 BN3
2020-Jan-27
6.9 LD
28.9
30
2020 BY4
2020-Jan-27
6.9 LD
21.2
21
2020 BO2
2020-Jan-28
10.5 LD
10.7
19
2020 BJ1
2020-Jan-29
15.5 LD
11
51
2018 AL12
2020-Jan-30
18.2 LD
17.7
39
2020 BZ4
2020-Jan-31
5.7 LD
9
11
2017 AE5
2020-Feb-01
13.6 LD
9
123
2013 BA74
2020-Feb-04
3.7 LD
7.4
28
2020 BW5
2020-Feb-09
5.2 LD
9
18
163373
2020-Feb-15
15.1 LD
15.2
589
2018 CW2
2020-Feb-17
6 LD
10.2
28
2019 BE5
2020-Feb-20
13.9 LD
14.8
34
2011 DR
2020-Feb-23
14.7 LD
5.8
25
2016 CO246
2020-Feb-23
18.4 LD
5.9
25
2012 DS30
2020-Feb-26
12.3 LD
5.4
22
2015 BK509
2020-Feb-29
18.7 LD
12.5
118
2017 BM123
2020-Mar-01
10.5 LD
8.1
65
2018 RF6
2020-Mar-10
11.2 LD
12.6
36
2008 UB95
2020-Mar-11
18.5 LD
7.6
41
2018 GY
2020-Mar-15
6.2 LD
9.5
39
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 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 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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