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Solar wind
speed: 562.7 km/sec
density: 1.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M2
2056 UT Jun23
24-hr: M2
2056 UT Jun23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 23 Jun 13
Sunspots AR1772, AR1775 and AR1776 have beta-gamma magnetic fields that harbor energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 137
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 23 Jun 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

23 Jun 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 130 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 23 Jun 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.8 nT
Bz: 2.3 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 23 Jun 13
Earth is inside a stream of solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole. 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: 06-23-2013 13:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Jun 23 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
30 %
05 %
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: 2013 Jun 23 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
20 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
25 %
25 %
40 %
25 %
Sunday, Jun. 23, 2013
What's up in space

They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store.

Own your own meteorite

SOLAR WIND CONTINUES BLOWING: For the second day in a row, a fast stream of solar wind is blowing around Earth. NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on June 23rd in response to the buffeting. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

WEEKEND SUPERMOON: This weekend's full Moon is a "supermoon," as much as 14% bigger and 30% brighter than other full Moons of 2013. Last night, Alan Dyer photographed the swollen orb rising over the prairie in Gleichen, Alberta, Canada:

"After several days of torrential rain that brought horrific floods to many parts of southern Alberta, we were finally able to enjoy a clear night and the sight of the wonderful 'supermoon' rising," says Dyer. "[It] reminded us that the sky brings beauty as well as destruction.

The scientific term for the phenomenon is "perigee moon." Full Moons vary in size because of the oval shape of the Moon's orbit. The Moon follows an elliptical path around Earth with one side ("perigee") about 50,000 km closer than the other ("apogee"). Full Moons that occur on the perigee side of the Moon's orbit seem extra big and bright.

On June 23rd, the Moon becomes full at 11:34 UT, only 23 minutes after it reaches perigee. This near-perfect coincidence makes the Moon "super."

It's true that a perigee full Moon brings with it extra-high "perigean tides," but according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this is nothing to worry about. In most places, lunar gravity at perigee pulls tide waters only a few centimeters (an inch or so) higher than usual. Local geography can amplify the effect to about 15 centimeters (six inches). The much greater flooding in Calgary was caused by rainfall, not by the perigee moon.

Realtime Moon Photo Gallery

CHINESE SPACE STATION CROSSES THE SUN: Earlier this week in the sunny skies above the south of France, China's experimental Tiangong-1 space station flew directly in front of the sun. Using a filtered 6-inch telescope, astrophotographer Thierry Legault recorded the station's silhouette alongside big sunspot AR1775:

"I recorded two transits--one on June 16 and another on June 17th," says Legault. "They show the Tiangong-1 with 3 taikonauts inside."

Most readers are familiar with the 450-ton International Space Station. Fewer, perhaps, know about China's 8.5-ton Tiangong-1 (Heavenly Palace-1). It was launched in Sept. 2011 to establish a foothold in Earth orbit for China's fledgling space program. Tiangong-1 was briefly boarded by taikonauts (Chinese astronauts) in June 2012, and a second group is onboard now. Three Taikonauts arrived on June 13, 2013, on a 15-day mission to practice rendevous and docking maneuvers and to gain experience living in space. Their expedition is attracting little attention in Western press, but it is being widely followed in China. Earlier this week, more than 60 million students and teachers at 80,000 Chinese schools watched a live lecture by the crew of the Tiangong-1.

According to some reports, the Tiangong-1 will be de-orbited in late 2013 to make way for more advanced experimental stations, Tiangong-2 and Tiangong-3 in the years ahead. Ultimately, China hopes to place an Mir-class station in orbit by 2020.

See the Tiangong-1 before it goes! Spaceweather's Simple Flybys app turns your smartphone into a field-tested space station tracker. It works for both the ISS and the Tiangong-1.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

SOLSTICE SOLAR FLARE: The northern summer solstice began with a bang. On June 21st at 03:16 UT, sunspot AR1777 produced a long-duration M2-class solar flare. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed the flare's extreme ultraviolet flash and a plume of material flying out of the blast site:

As sunspots go, AR1777 is neither large nor apparently menacing, yet it has been crackling with flares for days. Before it rotated over the sun's eastern limb on June 20th, it unleashed a series of farside flares and CMEs. The solstice explosion was not Earth directed, but future explosions could be as the sun's rotation continues to turn AR1777 toward our planet. NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance of M-flares and a 5% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

  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 June 23, 2013 there were 1397 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2006 RO36
Jun 18
70.9 LD
1.2 km
2001 PJ9
Jul 17
29.2 LD
1.1 km
2006 BL8
Jul 26
9.3 LD
48 m
2003 DZ15
Jul 29
7.6 LD
153 m
2005 WK4
Aug 9
8.1 LD
420 m
1999 CF9
Aug 23
24.7 LD
1.1 km
2002 JR9
Aug 31
63.5 LD
1.4 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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