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Solar wind
speed: 347.3 km/sec
density: 2.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M2
2122 UT Oct29
24-hr: M2
2122 UT Oct29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Oct 14
Huge sunspot AR2192 poses a diminishing threat for X-class solar flares as it turns away from Earth. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 109
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 29 Oct 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 29 Oct

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 188 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 29 Oct 2014

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.9 nT
Bz: 1.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 29 Oct 14
Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Oct. 3. Credit: SDO/AIA. posts 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: 09-02-2014 12:55:12
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2014 Oct 29 2245 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
65 %
25 %
35 %
20 %
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 Oct 29 2245 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
25 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
25 %
25 %
40 %
35 %
Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014
What's up in space

Would you like a call when things are happening in the night sky? Sign up for backyard astronomy alerts from voice or text.


NOTHING ROUTINE ABOUT SPACEFLIGHT: NASA's vision for future space flight includes using private companies to conduct routine launches of food and supplies to the International Space Station. Tuesday night's explosion of an Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC) supply rocket reminds us that nothing about space flight is routine. "Launching rockets is an incredibly difficult undertaking," said NASA Associate Administrator Bill Gerstenmaier after watching the spacecraft turn into a fireball moments after liftoff. Despite this setback, the US commercial space program seems to have a bright future. OSC successfully sent two rockets to the space station earlier this year, and SpaceX has sent four since 2012. Orbital's Executive Vice President Frank Culbertson says, "We will conduct a thorough investigation immediately to determine the cause of this failure and what steps can be taken to avoid a repeat of this incident."

PULSATING GREEN WAVE: Aurora tour guide Chad Blakley of Sweden's Abisko National Park has spent thousands of nights under the stars watching green lights dance overhead. But he has never seen any quite like these. Click on the arrow to set the scene in motion:

"We are out in the National Park chasing the Northern Lights almost every single night between September and April so we have grown accustomed to watching powerful auroras dance overhead," says Blakley. "Among all those displays, October 24th was unique and unforgettable. As our group approached one of my favorite photo-spots, we noticed a beautiful strand of auroras stretching from one horizon to another. As the display grew, the strands slowly developed into a pulsating wave of flashing green lights. I can honestly say that I have never seen anything like this in all of the years that I have been photographing the sky!"

More auroras are in the offing. On Oct. 30th Earth is expected to cross a fold in the heliospheric current sheet--also known as a "solar sector boundary crossing." NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of polar geomagnetic storms when this occurs. Aurora alerts: text, voice

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

EDGE OF SPACE SOLAR ECLIPSE: There are many beautiful pictures of last Thursday's solar eclipse in the realtime photo gallery. Only these, however, were taken from the stratosphere:

On Oct. 23rd, just as the New Moon was about to pass in front of the sun, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched a helium balloon carrying a Nikon D7000 camera. Their goal: to set the record for high-altitude photography of an eclipse. During a two-hour flight to the edge of space, the camera captured 11 images of the crescent sun. The final picture, taken just a split second before the balloon exploded, was GPS-tagged with an altitude of 108,900 feet.

To put this achievement into context, consider the following: Most people who photographed the eclipse carefully mounted their cameras on a rock-solid tripod, or used the precision clock-drive of a telescope to track the sun. The students, however, managed the same trick from an un-stabilized platform, spinning, buffeted by wind, and racing upward to the heavens at 15 mph. Their photos show that DLSR astrophotography from an suborbital helium balloon is possible, and they will surely refine their techniques for even better photos in the future.

Hey thanks! The students wish to thank for sponsoring this flight. Their $500 contribution paid for the helium and other supplies necessary to get the balloon off the ground. Note the Automation Direct logo in this picture of the payload ascending over the Sierra Nevada mountains of central California:

Another notable picture shows the payload ascending over clouds, which blocked the eclipse at ground level but did not prevent photography from the balloon.

Readers, would you like to sponsor a student research flight and have your logo photographed at the edge of space? Contact Dr. Tony Phillips to get involved.

Realtime Eclipse Photo Gallery

Realtime Comet 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 Oct. 29, 2014, the network reported 25 fireballs.
(19 sporadics, 5 Orionids, 1 Southern Taurid)

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 October 29, 2014 there were 1509 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2014 UH57
Oct 27
7.8 LD
13 m
2014 UF56
Oct 27
0.4 LD
15 m
2014 UU116
Oct 29
6.8 LD
25 m
2003 UC20
Oct 31
52.4 LD
1.0 km
2014 UX57
Nov 6
3.6 LD
25 m
2004 JN13
Nov 18
52.4 LD
4.1 km
1998 SS49
Nov 18
73.9 LD
3.1 km
2005 UH3
Nov 22
44.4 LD
1.3 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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