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Solar wind
speed: 510.6 km/sec
density: 1.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2149 UT Jul26
24-hr: C1
2149 UT Jul26
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 26 July 13
Sunspot AR1800 has a beta-gamma magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 71
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 26 Jul 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

26 Jul 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 107 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 26 Jul 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.0 nT
Bz: 1.5 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 26 Jul 13
Earth is inside a solar wind stream 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: 07-26-2013 11:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Jul 26 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
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: 2013 Jul 26 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
15 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
25 %
25 %
35 %
20 %
Friday, Jul. 26, 2013
What's up in space

Listen to radar echoes from satellites and meteors, live on listener-supported Space Weather Radio.

Spaceweather Radio is on the air

PERSEID METEOR SHOWER: New research by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office shows that one meteor shower produces more fireballs than any other--the Perseids. This year's Perseid peak is just around the corner on August 12-13. Get ready for fireballs.

MAGNETIC UNREST: Earth's polar magnetic field is unsettled as a fast-moving stream of solar wind blows around our planet's magnetosphere. Last night, the buffeting sparked bright auroras over James Bay, Canada:

"Auroras shone between the clouds until daylight," says photographer Michel Tournay. "Too Earth stop rotating, the show is not over!"

NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of geomagnetic storms on July 26th as the solar wind continues to blow. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

UNDERWHELMING: Solar Cycle 24 is shaping up to be the weakest solar cycle in more than 50 years. In 2009, a panel of forecasters led by NOAA predicted a below-average peak. Now that Solar Max has arrived, however, it is even weaker than they expected. Look inside the yellow circle to see the shortfall:

It may be premature to declare Solar Cycle 24 underwhelming. Solar physicist Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center thinks Solar Cycle 24 is double peaked--and the second peak is yet to come. Also, weak solar cycles have been known to produce very strong flares. The strongest solar storm in recorded history, the Carrington Event of 1859, occurred during a relatively weak solar cycle like this one.

Stay tuned for flares? Maybe, but not this week. Solar activity remains very low. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

PETUNIAS AT THE EDGE OF SPACE: The students of Earth to Sky Calculus have recovered the petunias they sent to the stratosphere last Friday. The flowers left Earth July 19th onboard a helium research balloon, ascended to 110,570 feet, then parachuted back to Earth on the same day. These four screenshots, culled from more than 2 hours of high-definition video, summarizes what happened:

(1) The flowers were pink and alert when they left Earth. (2) An hour later, in the stratosphere, the flowers appear limp and wilted, but they were not. Actually, the flowers were frozen. The petals were bent downward by onrushing wind during the ascent, and they froze in place as the petunias passed through the tropopause where the temperature was -63 C. (3) You can see that the flowers were frozen stiff because when the balloon exploded, they did not move at all. (4) Finally, as the payload parachuted back to Earth the flowers thawed and turned deep purple.

The petunias were just one of several experiments flown to the stratosphere on July 19th during Cassini's historic photo-shoot of Earth through the rings of Saturn. Other items on board were selected competitively from more than 1056 entries suggested by readers. First place winners of the competition received free telescopes from Explore Scientific.

For updates about data from this flight, please follow the Earth to Sky Calculus Twitter feed.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

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

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 July 26, 2013 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2006 BL8
Jul 26
9.3 LD
48 m
2003 DZ15
Jul 30
9.1 LD
159 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
1992 SL
Sep 23
70 LD
1.1 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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