Solar wind
speed: 349.8 km/sec
density: 3.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1425 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B5
1039 UT Aug29
24-hr: C2
0347 UT Aug29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 1400 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Aug 16
Sunspot complex AR2582-2583 is crackling with minor C-class solar flares. Other than that, solar activity is very low. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 64
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 29 Aug 2016

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2016 total: 20 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%)

Updated 29 Aug 2016


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 85 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 29 Aug 2016

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.6 nT
Bz: 0.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1424 UT
Coronal Holes: 29 Aug 16

Solar wind flowing from the indicated minor coronal hole could reach Earth on Aug. 30-31. Credit: NASA/SDO.
Noctilucent Clouds NASA's AIM spacecraft has suffered an anomaly, and a software patch is required to fix it. As a result, current noctilucent cloud images will not return until late September 2016.
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 08-06-2016 16:55:02
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2016 Aug 28 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
05 %
05 %
CLASS X
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: 2016 Aug 28 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
30 %
25 %
MINOR
10 %
10 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
20 %
MINOR
20 %
15 %
SEVERE
15 %
15 %
 
Monday, Aug. 29, 2016
What's up in space
       
 

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QUIET WITH A SLIGHT CHANCE OF FLARES: Following weeks without any significant flares, solar activity remains low. There is, however, a slight chance of solar flares this week from growing sunspot AR2582.  NOAA forecasters estimate a 5% chance of M-class eruptions on Aug. 29th - Aug. 31st. Solar flare alerts: text or voice

COSMIC RAYS INTENSIFY: Researchers have long known that solar activity and cosmic rays have a yin-yang relationship. As solar activity declines, cosmic rays intensify. Lately, solar activity has been very low indeed. Are cosmic rays responding? The answer is "yes." Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been using helium balloons to monitor cosmic rays in the stratosphere over California. Their latest data show an increase of almost 13% since 2015.

Cosmic rays, which are accelerated toward Earth by distant supernova explosions and other violent events, are an important form of space weather. They can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. Furthermore, there are studies ( #1, #2, #3, #4) linking cosmic rays with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in the general population.

Why are cosmic rays intensifying? The main reason is the sun. Solar storm clouds such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) sweep aside cosmic rays when they pass by Earth. During Solar Maximum, CMEs are abundant and cosmic rays are held at bay. Now, however, the solar cycle is swinging toward Solar Minimum, allowing cosmic rays to return. Another reason could be the weakening of Earth's magnetic field, which helps protect us from deep-space radiation.

There's a new section of our website where you can monitor cosmic rays in the atmosphere. From here, scroll down a few inches to find the latest measurements, the date of the next balloon flight, and more information about the data and sensors.

THIS RESEARCH IS CROWD-FUNDED: The cosmic ray research presented on Spaceweather.com is done by students, driven by curiosity, and funded entirely by readers.  Our latest flight over California on Aug. 21st was sponsored by World Tech Toys of Valencia CA.  In exchange for their generous donation of $750, we flew a toy Striker Drone to the edge of space:

HD video and poster-quality images of the drone in space are now being used by World Tech Toys for marketing and outreach--an out-of-this-world bargain.

Our next flight on Sept. 2nd needs a sponsor. Would you like to assist?  Contact Dr. Tony Phillips to make arrangements.

JUPITER KISSES VENUS: On Aug. 27th, Venus and Jupiter drew so close together in the sunset sky, they almost appeared to touch. "The planets looked like a pair of jewels surrounded by shiny clouds on both sides," says Yuri Beletsky, who photographed the conjunction from the Atacama Desert in Chile:

"We were very lucky indeed to witness such an amazing view," says Beletsky. "Look how close they are!"

The conjunction was easy to see in the southern hemisphere, because the planets were high in the sky at sunset. The geometry was not so favorable in the northern hemisphere, where Venus and Jupiter hugged the horizon at sunset. Nevertheless, photographers managed to get some great shots. Browse the photo gallery for more:

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery


Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery


Realtime Sprite Photo Gallery



  Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere

Updated
: Aug. 27, 2016 // Next Flight: Sept. 2, 2016

Approximately once a week, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly space weather balloons to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with radiation sensors that detect cosmic rays, a surprisingly "down to Earth" form of space weather. Cosmic rays can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. Our latest measurements show that cosmic rays are intensifying, with an increase of almost 13% since 2015:


Why are cosmic rays increasing? The main reason is the sun. Solar activity helps push deep space cosmic rays out of the solar system. Lately, however, solar activity has been low. More cosmic rays have been able to penetrate the inner solar system--including Earth. As the current solar cycle ebbs, we can expect cosmic rays to continue intensifying for years to come.

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.

The data points in the graph above correspond to the peak of the Reneger-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 Reneger and Georg Pfotzer discovered this maximum using balloons in the 1930s and it is what we are measuring today.

  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 Spaceweather.com.

On Aug. 29, 2016, the network reported 23 fireballs.
(22 sporadics, 1 Southern delta Aquariid)

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 August 29, 2016 there were 1726 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2016 PS26
Aug 25
13.8 LD
34 m
2016 QA2
Aug 28
0.2 LD
40 m
2016 PA40
Aug 29
14.5 LD
54 m
2004 BO41
Sep 7
38.9 LD
1.1 km
2015 KE
Sep 10
14.9 LD
23 m
2009 UG
Sep 30
7.3 LD
101 m
2100 Ra-Shalom
Oct 9
58.3 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.
STEREO
  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
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Heliophysics
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