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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 332.2 km/sec
density: 2.08 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 1147 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C6
2346 UT Aug03
24-hr: M2
1155 UT Aug03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2350 UT
Daily Sun: 03 Aug 23
Expand: labels | no labels | Carrington
With an unstable 'beta-gamma' magnetic field, sunspot AR3380 poses a continued threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 135
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 03 Aug 2023

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 03 Aug 2023

Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 20.58x1010 W Warm
Max: 49.4
x1010 W Hot (10/1957)
Min: 2.05
x1010 W Cold (02/2009)
explanation | more data: gfx, txt
Updated 02 Aug 2023

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 173 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 03 Aug 2023

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: -5.2% Low
48-hr change: -2.0%
Max: +11.7% Very High
Min: -32.1% Very Low (06/1991)
explanation | more data
Updated 03 Aug 2023 @ 0700 UT

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0.67 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2.67
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 9.62 nT
Bz: 1.27 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 1147 UT
Coronal Holes: 03 Aug 23

There are no significant equatorial coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun.
Credit: SDO/AIA

Noctilucent Clouds
The northern season for NLCs began on May 26th. The first clouds were detected inside the Arctic Circle 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: Jul 21, 2023

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.

What happened to NASA's AIM spacecraft, which has been monitoring NLCs since 2007? Earlier this year, the spacecraft's battery failed. As a result AIM is offline, perhaps permanently. There may be some hope of a recovery as AIM's orbit precesses into full sunlight in 2024. Until then, we will maintain AIM's iconic "daily daisy," frozen at Feb. 28, 2023, as a show of thanks for years of service and hope for future daisies:
Switch view:Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula, East Antarctica, Polar
Updated Aug03
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2023 Aug 03 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
55 %
35 %
10 %
05 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2023 Aug 03 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
45 %
20 %
30 %
05 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
15 %
30 %
30 %
35 %
50 %
Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023
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.


GEOMAGNETIC STORM WATCH (G1): Minor G1-class geomagnetic storms are possible on Aug. 4th-5th when one or more faint CMEs are expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. They were hurled in our direction by a series of M-class eruptions from active sunspot AR3380 on Aug. 1st and 2nd. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras later this week. Aurora alerts: SMS Text

BRIGHT FIREBALL RATTLES THE EASTERN USA (UPDATED): Yesterday morning, Aug. 2nd just after 2 a.m. EDT, sonic booms rolled across the eastern USA, shaking buildings hard enough to wake observers. Sky watchers looked up and saw a brilliant fireball tearing itself apart overhead. Amateur astronomer Bill Stewart of Ceredo, West Virginia, was outside on his rooftop observatory and accidentally videoed his own reaction to the booming flash:

"It was at 2:13 a.m.," says Stewart. "The fireball made two audible booms. After one bright flash it broke into 3 distinct fragments. One remained bright as it descended below the horizon. It could have possibly touched down although I didn’t hear it impact."

The American Meteor Society has collected more than 65 eyewitness reports from 9 US states. The fireball first appeared over Ohio, streaked south, then petered out over Georgia. Observers said "it flashed like lightning," "it shook my house," and "I've never seen anything like it."

At its peak, the fireball outshined the supermoon also visible in Stewart's video:

"I agree it was brighter," says Stewart. "The reflection of the fireball was cast on a metal roof below, quite vividly, whereas the Moon was not as reflective."

There are currently three active meteor showers capable of producing bright fireballs: The Perseids, Alpha Capricornids, and Southern Delta Aquariids. However, the fireball's path through the sky doesn't match any of those showers.

Update: NASA has figured out what it was-- a comet fragment weighing about 75 pounds with a diameter of just over a foot. According to Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office "it entered Earth's atmosphere about 50 miles above the Kentucky town of Krypton (yes, really), moving roughly southeast at 37,000 miles per hour. The object traveled 65 miles through the atmosphere before disintegrating 30 miles above Duffield, Virginia."

An infrasound station operated by the University of Western Ontario meteor physics group recorded the terminal explosion:

"The breakup of the fireball generated an energy of roughly 2 tons of TNT, which caused the booms and shakings experienced by some in the region," says Cooke. "At its brightest the fireball was about 5 times brighter than the full Moon."

FAQ: Which comet did the fragment come from? No one knows. It belongs to the general random "debris field" in the inner solar system composed of bits and pieces of many asteroids and comets. This was a "sporadic" fireball.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Free: Newsletter

THE PANSPERMIA CUBE: Every week, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus take an astronomy class from Dr. Tony Phillips. This summer they've been learning about panspermia--the unverified yet tantalizing idea that seeds of life have spread through the cosmos. To celebrate the concept, they just flew the Panspermia Cube to the stratosphere:

You can have it for $119.95. Inside the crystal cube, there is a laser-etched 3D model of a dandelion spreading its seeds on the winds of space. It comes with a greeting card showing the dandelion in flight (105,120 ft high on the students' cosmic ray research balloon) 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 Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
Free: Newsletter

Realtime Aurora 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 Aug 02, 2023, the network reported 12 fireballs.
(7 sporadics, 3 southern Delta Aquariids, 2 Perseids)

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 3, 2023 there were 2335 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2023 OY3
14.5 LD
2020 PP1
17 LD
2021 BD3
14 LD
2023 OQ2
4.1 LD
2016 AW65
16.7 LD
2023 OQ3
3.9 LD
2023 OD5
13.8 LD
2023 OS3
2.5 LD
2023 OF1
17.7 LD
2023 OY4
3.2 LD
2023 OW4
1.5 LD
2020 PN1
10.8 LD
14 LD
2023 OR5
7.4 LD
2023 OQ
9.9 LD
2004 KG1
19.9 LD
2022 BS2
17.3 LD
2023 OE5
4 LD
2022 CP1
13.8 LD
2011 QJ21
13 LD
15.9 LD
2012 PZ17
16.8 LD
2017 BY32
16.4 LD
2021 JA5
13.3 LD
2020 GE
14.9 LD
2020 RT2
11 LD
2016 LY48
5 LD
2010 TE
6.8 LD
19.8 LD
2019 SF6
16.7 LD
2013 TG6
3.6 LD
2009 UG
6.1 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

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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