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Solar wind
speed: 489.8 km/sec
density: 1.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2349 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2128 UT Dec24
24-hr: C3
0237 UT Dec24
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 24 Dec 14
Earth-facing sunspot AR2244 has a ''beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 128
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 24 Dec 2014

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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%)

Update 24 Dec

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 166 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 24 Dec 2014

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.8 nT
Bz: 4.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2349 UT
Coronal Holes: 24 Dec 14
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of he sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
Noctilucent Clouds As of Nov. 22, 2014, the season for southern hemisphere noctilucent clouds is underway. The south polar "daisy" pictured below is a composite of near-realtime images from NASA's AIM spacecraft.
Switch view: Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctic Penninsula, East Antarctica, Polar
Updated at: 12-24-2014 13:55:04
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2014 Dec 24 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
50 %
30 %
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: 2014 Dec 24 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
30 %
20 %
35 %
10 %
Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014
What's up in space

Learn to photograph Northern Lights like a pro. Sign up for Peter Rosen's Aurora Photo Courses in Abisko National Park.

Lapland tours

GEOMAGNETIC UNREST: A fast stream of solar wind is buffeting Earth's magnetic field, prompting NOAA forecasters to raise the odds of a polar geomagnetic storm today to 35%. Arctic sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text, voice

CHRISTMAS COMET: Is there a cylindrical package under your Christmas tree? Open it now. A small telescope is all you need to see Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2). Discovered just last August by Terry Lovejoy in Australia, the green comet is brightening faster than expected as it moves into northern skies just in time for Christmas. Trace the comet's tail down the page for more information:

Gerald Rhemann took this picture on Dec. 21st using a remotely-operated telescope in Namibia. The comet's sinuous blue ion tail contrasts beautifully with its puffy green atmosphere. The colors come from ionized carbon monoxide (CO+) and diatomic carbon (C2), which glow blue and green, respectively, in the near-vacuum of interplanetary space.

"Last night (Dec. 23rd), the comet was easy to see in binoculars as a 5th magnitude fuzzy star," reports Alan Dyer of New Mexico. "I could just see the comet naked eye knowing exactly where to look south of Orion in the constellation Columba the dove."

Where is that? These finder charts from Sky and Telescope can help you find the comet. Better yet, if that cylindrical object is a GOTO telescope, just plug in the comet's coordinates and let the telecope find it for you.

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

URSID METEOR OUTBURST: Normally the Ursid meteor shower, which peaks each year on Dec. 21-23, is a minor event, producing no more than about 10 meteors per hour. 2014, however, was different. "The Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar (CMOR) detected a significant outburst near 0 UT on Dec 23rd," reports Peter Brown, director of the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration at the University of Western Ontario. Scroll past this radar map of the Ursid radiant for more information:

"In all," he says, "we recorded close to 100 Ursid orbits with CMOR during the 1.5 hours of the outburst (from 2315 UT Dec 22 – 0045 Dec 23). This was more than a factor of two above any other Ursid outburst CMOR has recorded in the last dozen years. The radar map shows a very tight cluster of Ursids from the 1.5 hour outburst 'pouring' right out of the bowl of the Little Dipper."

Ursid meteors are debris from parent Comet 8P/Tuttle. The outburst was predicted by astronomer Jérémie Vaubaillon, whose computer models suggested Earth might cross an old filament of comet dust shed by 8P/Tuttle, causing a surge in meteors around 0 UT on Dec. 23rd. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

Realtime Meteor Photo Gallery

Realtime Space Weather 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. 24, 2014, the network reported 15 fireballs.
(10 sporadics, 5 December Leonis Minorids)

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 24, 2014 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2007 EJ
Jan 12
68.9 LD
1.1 km
1991 VE
Jan 17
40.6 LD
1.0 km
2004 BL86
Jan 26
3.1 LD
650 m
2008 CQ
Jan 31
4.8 LD
36 m
2000 EE14
Feb 27
72.5 LD
1.6 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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