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Solar wind
speed: 397.6 km/sec
density: 6.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2349 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B8
1929 UT Dec27
24-hr: M2
0216 UT Dec27
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 27 Dec 14
Sunspot AR2249 poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 92
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 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 27 Dec

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 137 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 27 Dec 2014

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.2 nT
Bz: 3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2349 UT
Coronal Holes: 27 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: 12-27-2014 12:55:04
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2014 Dec 27 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
25 %
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: 2014 Dec 27 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
30 %
30 %
30 %
25 %
Saturday, Dec. 27, 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

WEEKEND AURORA WATCH: NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance of polar geomagnetic storms this weekend as Earth approaches a high-speed stream of solar wind. Arctic sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

COMET LOVEJOY ATTRACTS ATTENTION: Around the northern hemisphere, amateur astronomers are reporting a green fuzzball in the midnight sky. It's Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2), shown here above the Dolomite mountains of northern Italy on Dec. 26th:

"I did not use a telescope to take the picture. All I needed was my Nikon digital camera," says photographer Giorgia Hofer of Misurina Lake, Italy. " The sky is a 10x30 sec exposure, and the landscape is 1x180 sec."

For weeks, this comet has been brightening in the southern sky, where it has become a favorite target for astrophotographers in Australia, New Zealand, and South America. Now it has crossed the celestial equator so that northerners can see it, too.

"I saw Comet Lovejoy last night," reports John Chumack of Yellow Springs, Ohio. "It is bright, ~ 5.5 mag, and about 13 degrees above the southern horizon at midnight. In our light polluted skies, it was barely visible to the unaided eye with averted vision but it was an easy target for binoculars." A ten minute exposure through Chumack's homemade 16-inch telescope revealed not only the comet's vivid green nucleus but also multiple delicate streamers in its sinuous tail.

Comet Lovejoy resources: photo gallery, finder charts, ephemeris, 3D orbit

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

SUDDEN DIP IN COSMIC RAYS: Every day, Earth is bombarded by galactic cosmic rays--subatomic particles accelerated to high energies by distant supernovas, stellar flares, and other explosions. On Dec. 21st, ground-based neutron monitors detected a sudden decrease in this cosmic radiation. The following plot from the Oulu Cosmic Ray Station in Finland shows the change:

What happened? Over a 48-hour period beginning on Dec. 21st, a series of three CMEs swept past Earth, delivering glancing blows to our planet's magnetosphere. These CMEs swept aside many of the cosmic rays that would normally bombard our planet. The dip in cosmic rays is called a "Forbush Decrease," named after physicist Scott E. Forbush who first described it in the 20th century.

The ongoing Forbush Decrease is producing some of the lowest radiation levels of the current solar cycle. This is good news for airline passengers, pilots, flight attendants and astronauts, all of whom absorb cosmic rays during their travels.

To investigate how the Forbush Decrease is propagating through the atmosphere, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus gathered on Christmas Eve to launch a Space Weather Buoy:

The Buoy (inset) carried a pair of X-ray/gamma-ray sensors, a cryogenic thermometer, two GPS altimeters, a GPS tracker and three video cameras to record the trip. If everything worked as planned, the Buoy will have recorded a complete profile of ionizing radiation from ground level to 110,000 feet.  The students will be able to compare the current radiation profile with dozens of previous profiles measured since 2013.

According to GPS telemetry, the payload traveled to the stratosphere and parachuted back to Earth on Dec. 24th. Update: the payload has been recovered. Stay tuned for data and footage.

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. 27, 2014, the network reported 18 fireballs.
(14 sporadics, 1 Quadrantid, 1 December Leonis Minorid, 1 December Hydrid, 1 alpha Hydrid)

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 27, 2014 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2014 YP9
Dec 21
6.5 LD
95 m
2014 YV9
Dec 29
4.9 LD
21 m
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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