Love Has Won


We Are The First Contact Ground Crew Team, who are preparing to take Humanity Home Into The Light.

Space Weather Update: 12/13/2015

By, 12/13/2015

GEMINID METEOR SHOWER: Earth is entering a stream of gravelly debris from "rock comet" 3200 Phaethon, source of annual Geminid meteor shower. Forecasters expect peak rates to occur on Dec. 13-14, when dark-sky observers in both hemispheres could see as many as 120 meteors per hour. Observing conditions will be nearly ideal because the shower peaks just a few days after the New Moon. Stay tuned for updates and, meanwhile, listen for Geminid echoes in the audio feed from our live meteor radar.

MAGNETIC STORM ON COMET CATALINA: Earth isn't the only place with geomagnetic storms. Comets can have them, too. Such a storm appears to be in progress right now in the sinuous ion tail of Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10). Note the blobs of plasma circled in this Dec. 11th photo taken by Michael Jäger of Jauerling, Austria:


These blobs are a sign of stormy space weather. Observers of comets frequently witness plasma blobs and 'disconnection events' in response to CMEs and gusts of solar wind. In extreme cases, a comet's tail can be completely torn off.

The underlying physics is akin to terrestrial geomagnetic storms. When magnetic fields around a comet bump into oppositely-directed magnetic fields in a CME, those fields can link together or "reconnect." The resulting burst of magnetic energy can make waves, blobs, or even ruptures in the comet's tail. When CMEs hit Earth, a similar process takes place in the planet's magnetosphere powering, among other things, the aurora borealis.

Comet Catalina is brightening in the eastern pre-dawn sky, not yet visible to the naked eye, but an easy target for backyard telescopes. Detailed finder charts may be found in this article from Sky & Telescope. Monitoring is encouraged!Resources: 3D orbitephemerides. Aurora alerts: text or voice

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

HILLSIDE GREEN FLASH: Green flashes are rare and lovely. They are most often seen by people on beaches at the end of the day. As the sun sinks into the waves, temperature gradients in the air above the sea surface magnify tiny differences in atmospheric refraction of red and green light. Voila!--an emerald-green mirage.

Not every green flash, however, requires an ocean. This one, photographed by Daisuke Tomiyasu of Higashinada-ku, Japan, appeared over a hill:


"I saw this green flash at sunrise on Dec. 8th," says Tomiyasu. "Once I knew this hill produced green flashes, I returned the next morning, Dec. 9th, and there it was again!"

Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains what happened: "Green flashescome in several varieties. These could be hillside flashes. When wind blows over a hilly ridge the air streamlines are pushed closer together and any small vertical temperature gradients are strengthened. The bending of sunrays across the gradients gets stronger too and maybe enough to create the mirage conditions that all green flashes need."

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

Realtime Meteor 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. 13, 2015, the network reported 29 fireballs.
(15 Geminids, 10 sporadics, 2 December Monocerotids, 1 Quadrantid, 1 alpha Canis Majorid)



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 13, 2015 there were 1640 potentially hazardous asteroids.

Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:Asteroid


Miss Distance


2015 XU169

Dec 10

9.5 LD

16 m

1998 WT24

Dec 11

10.9 LD

1.1 km

2015 XA169

Dec 12

7.4 LD

15 m

2015 XR169

Dec 13

1.3 LD

8 m

2015 XX128

Dec 14

2.4 LD

25 m

2015 XX169

Dec 14

8.4 LD

14 m

2015 XN55

Dec 15

2.5 LD

15 m

2015 XY261

Dec 15

0.8 LD

16 m

2015 XL261

Dec 17

9.7 LD

42 m

2015 XE1

Dec 19

13.2 LD

29 m

2015 XN261

Dec 23

2.6 LD

31 m

2011 YD29

Dec 24

9.7 LD

24 m

2003 SD220

Dec 24

28.4 LD

1.8 km

2008 CM

Dec 29

22.8 LD

1.5 km

2004 MQ1

Jan 2

55.4 LD

1.1 km

1999 JV6

Jan 6

12.6 LD

410 m

1685 Toro

Jan 22

60.9 LD

1.7 km

2001 XR1

Jan 23

74.4 LD

1.5 km

2015 VC2

Jan 28

5.8 LD

15 m

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.

 Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere

Situation Report -- Oct. 30, 2015Stratospheric Radiation (+37o N)

Cosmic ray levels are elevated(+6.1% above the Space Age median). The trend is flat. Cosmic ray levels have increased +0% in the past month.

Sept. 06: 4.14 uSv/hr (414 uRad/hr)

Sept. 12: 4.09 uSv/hr (409 uRad/hr)

Sept. 23: 4.12 uSv/hr (412 uRad/hr)

Sept. 25: 4.16 uSv/hr (416 uRad/hr)

Sept. 27: 4.13 uSv/hr (413 uRad/hr)

Oct. 11: 4.02 uSv/hr (402 uRad/hr)

Oct. 22: 4.11 uSv/hr (411 uRad/hr)

These measurements are based on regular space weather balloon flights: learn more.

Approximately 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 radiation sensors that detect cosmic rays, a surprisingly "down to Earth" form of space weather. Cosmic rays can seed cloudstrigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. Our measurements show that someone flying back and forth across the continental USA, just once, can absorb as much ionizing radiation as 2 to 5 dental X-rays. Here is the data from our latest flight, Oct. 22nd:

Radiation levels peak at the entrance to the stratosphere in a broad region called the "Pfotzer Maximum." This peak is named after physicist George Pfotzer who discovered it using balloons and Geiger tubes in the 1930s. Radiation levels there are more than 80x sea level.

Note that the bottom of the Pfotzer Maximim is near 55,000 ft. This means that some high-flying aircraft are not far from the zone of maximum radiation. Indeed, according to the Oct 22th measurements, a plane flying at 45,000 feet is exposed to 2.79 uSv/hr. At that rate, a passenger would absorb about one dental X-ray's worth of radiation in about 5 hours.

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.

Current Conditions

Solar wind
speed: 472.5 km/sec
density: 3.3 protons/cm3

explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1519 UTX-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C5 
1035 UT Dec13 
24-hr: C5 1035 UT Dec13 
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 1500 UTDaily Sun: 13 Dec 15New sunspot AR2470 poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 89 
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 Dec 2015

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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 13 Dec 2015

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 117 sfu

explanation | more data
Updated 13 Dec 2015

Current Auroral Oval:

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/OvationPlanetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3 
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.8 nT
Bz: 1.1 nT south 

explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1519 UTCoronal Holes: 12 Dec 15 
Earth is slowly exiting a stream of solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA.Noctilucent Clouds The southern season for noctilucent clouds is about to begin. Monitor the daily daisies, below, from NASA's AIM spacecraft for the first wisps of electric blue above Antarctica.

Switch view: Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula, East Antarctica, PolarUpdated at: 12-12-2015 16:55:02

NOAA Forecasts

Updated at: 2015 Dec 12 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: activeminor stormsevere stormUpdated at: 2015 Dec 12 2200 UTCMid-latitudes

0-24 hr

24-48 hr


15 %

15 %


05 %

01 %


01 %

01 %

High latitudes

0-24 hr

24-48 hr


20 %

20 %


25 %

30 %


20 %

20 %