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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 352.5 km/sec
density: 4.50 protons/cm3
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 1147 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C8
1916 UT May27
24-hr: X2
0708 UT May27
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2350 UT
Daily Sun: 27 May 24
Expand: labels | no labels | Carrington
Sunspot AR3691 has a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 148
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 May 2024

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2024 total: 0 days (0%)
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 27 May 2024

Thermosphere Climate Index
today: 26.16x1010 W Hot
Max: 49.4
x1010 W Hot (10/1957)
Min: 2.05
x1010 W Cold (02/2009)
explanation | more data: gfx, txt
Updated 27 May 2024

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 156 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 27 May 2024

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: -5.3% Low
48-hr change: +0.9%
Max: +11.7% Very High
Min: -32.1% Very Low (06/1991)
explanation | more data
Updated 27 May 2024 @ 0700 UT

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1.00 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3.00
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.60 nT
Bz: -1.46 nT south
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 1147 UT
Coronal Holes: 27 May 24

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

Polar Stratospheric Clouds
Colorful Type II polar stratospheric clouds (PSC) form when the temperature in the stratosphere drops to a staggeringly low -85C. NASA's MERRA-2 climate model predicts when the air up there is cold enough:

On May 27, 2024, the Arctic stratosphere is much too warm for Type II polar stratospheric clouds. | more data.

Noctilucent Clouds
The southern season for NLCs is over. The first clouds were detected inside the Antarctic Circle on Dec. 4, 2023, by the NOAA 21 satellite. The same satellite detected the last cloud on Feb. 21, 2024. Daily maps are now blank:

noctilucent clouds
Updated: Feb 22, 2024

An instrument onboard NOAA 21 (OMPS LP) is able to detect NLCs (also known as "polar mesospheric clouds" or PMCs). Now that the southern season has ended, attention turns to the northern hemisphere. The first NLCs should appear inside the Arctic Circle in mid to late May.

NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2024 May 27 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
55 %
60 %
25 %
30 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2024 May 27 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
30 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
30 %
25 %
25 %
40 %
Monday, May. 27, 2024
What's up in space

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INCREASING CHANCE OF FLARES: First, watch this movie. That's sunspot AR3691, which doubled in size yesterday and has developed a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field, which harbors energy for X-class solar flares. With the return of AR3664 (see below), this makes two sunspots capable of powerful soon-to-be-Earth-directed explosions. Solar flare alerts: SMS Text

RETURN OF AN HISTORIC SUNSPOT: It's back. Almost. Sunspot AR3664, the source of the historic May 10th superstorm, has spent the past two week's transiting the farside of the sun. Today it announced its impending return with an X2.8-class solar flare:

Above: The extreme UV flash from today's X2.8-class solar flare. Credit: NASA/SDO

The flare was probably even stronger than X2.8. The base of the explosion was eclipsed by the edge of the sun, so not all of the X-rays it produced were counted by sensors used to classify the flare.

The explosion caused a deep shortwave radio blackout over east Asia and hurled a bright CME into space. A NASA model of the CME confirms that it will miss Mercury, Venus and Earth. None of the inner planets will be affected by this powerful event.

How do we know the flare came from AR3664? Helioseismology. The giant sunspot is affecting the way the sun vibrates, and its seismic echoes are visible in maps of the sun's farside:

This helioseismic map shows that AR3664 is just behind the southeastern limb of the sun--a good match for the location of today's X-flare. Clearly, AR3664 is still active as it turns to face Earth again later this week. Solar flare alerts: SMS Text

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Free: Newsletter

18K GOLD TOTAL ECLIPSE PENDANT: This pendant has touched the shadow of the Moon. On April 8, 2024, during a total eclipse of the sun in Texas, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched it to the stratosphere onboard a cosmic ray research balloon. Floating more than 118,110 feet high, the locket spent 3 minutes and 45 seconds wrapped in lunar shadow:

You can have it for $199.95. The 18K gold-plated locket is inscribed with the words "I love you to the Moon and back," and opens to hold a personal photo or other small item. It comes with a greeting card showing the locket in flight and telling the story of its journey to the edge of space during the total eclipse.

Far Out Gifts: Earth to Sky Store
All sales support hands-on STEM education

LUNAR POLLEN CORONA: It's springtime in Finland, and you can see the signs in the heavens. Airborne pine pollen is creating beautiful rings of light around the sun and Moon. Pentti Arpalahti photographed this example on May 24th from Helsinki:

"The 99.7% full Moon rose at midnight surrounded by a beautiful pollen corona," says Arpalahti.

Pollen coronas appear when light is scattered from the outside of pollen grains. The resulting rings of light can be intensely colorful. "Rings" isn't quite the right word, though. The coronas are usually lumpy and elliptical, mimicking the shape of the pollen grains.

This photo of pine pollen seen through a microscope shows what's going on:

They look like Mickey Mouse hats. The "ears" are air sacs that help the pollen catch the wind. When the air is moving, these sacs align the grains, allowing them to scatter light coherently. The sacs also distort the shape of the diffraction pattern, transforming it from a circle into a lumpy ellipse.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Free: Newsletter

Realtime Comet 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 May 27, 2024, the network reported 3 fireballs.
(3 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 May 27, 2024 there were 2349 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
Velocity (km/s)
Diameter (m)
2024 JG15
6.6 LD
2024 JZ6
14.6 LD
2024 HP
15.5 LD
2024 JX14
16.4 LD
2024 HP2
5.8 LD
2024 JY1
17.5 LD
2024 JO16
8 LD
2008 LD
7.7 LD
2024 JV17
17.3 LD
2021 LV
12 LD
2024 JG
8.7 LD
2024 JA3
6.2 LD
2008 XH
13.8 LD
2024 JP1
18.5 LD
2024 JC1
15.1 LD
1998 KY26
12 LD
2016 JC6
19.9 LD
2024 JR17
19.4 LD
2008 YN2
10.5 LD
2021 LW3
9.7 LD
2024 CR9
19.2 LD
2022 XC1
16.5 LD
2022 WW11
19.7 LD
2019 NJ
17.2 LD
17.3 LD
2022 MM1
7.8 LD
2010 XN
14.1 LD
2022 HD1
17.3 LD
2017 MB3
5 LD
2022 BY39
13.2 LD
2022 YS5
11 LD
2024 BY15
16.2 LD
2011 MW1
10.1 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. See also, all satellite statistics.
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 welcomes these supporters of science communication: RV Sales and Arizona Web Design & SEO and Ketamine Treatment & Therapy and C8 Corvette | Pest Control in PhoenixHVAC repair in South Jersey 

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NASA Near Earth Asteroid Home Page

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