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Space Weather Update: 10/25/2016

By Spaceweather.com, 10/25/2016

LIVE AURORA WEBCAM: Skies above Scandinavia are glowing green in response to today's geomagnetic storm. An aurora webcam at the Abisko National Park in Sweden is broadcasting the light show in real time. Watch it now.

GEOMAGNETIC STORM UNDERWAY: A moderate G2-class geomagnetic storm is underway as Earth enters a stream of solar wind flowing from a coronal hole on the sun. First contact with the stream produced a magnificant outburst of auroras over Alaska during the early hours of Oct. 25th. Marketa S. Murray sends this picture from Fairbanks AK:

 

"The storm finally hit," says Murray, "and the auroras were unbelievable."

More auroras are in the offing tonight as the solar wind is blowing faster than ~700 km/s. The stream has already produced one episode of strong storming that registered G3 on the scale of geomagnetic activity. Around the Arctic Circle, the Northern Lights should be quite bright as Oct. 25th turns into the 26th. Lesser displays could cross the Canadian border into the United States. Free: Aurora Alerts.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

SINUSOIDAL GROUND CURRENTS IN NORWAY: Not all space weather occurs high overhead. Sometimes it happens in the soil beneath our feet. Example: On Oct. 23rd in the Lofoten Islands of Norway, electrical currents began to flow through the ground, back and forth with a sinusoidal period of 74 seconds. Rob Stammes recorded the phenomenon at his geomagnetic observatory:

 

"Just after midnight UTC and around 02.36 local time, my ground current instruments picked up these very stable pulsations," says Stammes.

What's happening here? Ground currents are a sign of changing magnetic fields. Earth's magnetic field around the Lofoten Islands was swinging back and forth, inducing a sinusoidal amperage in the soil beneath Stamme's observatory.

These are natural ultra-low frequency oscillations known to researchers as "pulsations continuous" (Pc). The physics is familiar to anyone who has studied bells or resonant cavities. Earth's magnetic field extends out into space and carves out a cavity in the surrounding solar wind. Pressure fluctuations in the solar wind can excite wave modes in the cavity--usually in a noisy cacophany of many frequencies, but sometimes with almost-monochromatic purity. In such cases, Earth's magnetic field "rings like a bell" with slow tones that reach all the way down to the ground. That's what happened on Oct. 23rd. References: #1#2#3.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Airglow Photo Gallery

Realtime Sprite Photo Gallery

 

 Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere


Updated: Sept. 29 2016 // Next Flight: Oct. 1, 2016

Sept. 20, 2016: Readers, thank you for your patience while we continue to develop this new section of Spaceweather.com. We've been working to streamline our data reduction, allowing us to post results from balloon flights much more rapidly, and we have developed a new data product, shown here:

 

This plot displays radiation measurements not only in the stratosphere, but also at aviation altitudes. Dose rates are expessed as multiples of sea level. For instance, we see that boarding a plane that flies at 25,000 feet exposes passengers to dose rates ~10x higher than sea level. At 40,000 feet, the multiplier is closer to 50x. These measurements are made by our usual cosmic ray payload as it passes through aviation altitudes en route to the stratosphere over California.

What is this all about? 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 cloudstrigger 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. Our latest measurements show that cosmic rays are intensifying, with an increase of more than 12% since 2015:

 

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.

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 the 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 Oct. 25, 2016, the network reported 79 fireballs.
(52 sporadics, 19 Orionids, 4 Southern Taurids, 2 Leonis Minorids, 1 epsilon Geminid, 1)

 

 

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 25, 2016 there were 1737 potentially hazardous asteroids.

Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:Asteroid

Date(UT)

Miss Distance

Size

2016 UY5

Oct 22

11.9 LD

16 m

2016 UR5

Oct 24

3.1 LD

20 m

2005 SE71

Oct 24

72.2 LD

1.0 km

2003 TL4

Oct 27

10.1 LD

565 m

2016 UB26

Oct 27

11.6 LD

45 m

2016 UQ5

Oct 30

13.9 LD

44 m

2016 TB57

Oct 31

5.2 LD

26 m

2003 YT1

Oct 31

13.5 LD

850 m

2016 UX5

Nov 2

7 LD

19 m

2016 TG55

Nov 4

3.8 LD

30 m

2016 UE

Nov 5

5.2 LD

41 m

2007 LS

Nov 6

33.3 LD

1.2 km

2004 KB

Nov 10

10 LD

260 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.

 

Current Conditions

Solar wind
speed: 700.0 km/sec
density: 8.3 protons/cm3

more data: ACEDSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2026 UTX-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
1429 UT Oct25
24-hr: B2 0105 UT Oct25
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2000 UTDaily Sun: 25 Oct 16Sunspot AR2603 is quiet and stable. Solar flare activity remains very low. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 13
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 25 Oct 2016

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2016 total: 21 days (8%) 
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 25 Oct 2016

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 77 sfu

explanation | more data
Updated 25 Oct 2016

Current Auroral Oval:

 

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/OvationPlanetary K-index
Now: Kp= 6 storm
24-hr max: Kp= 7
strong
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.9 nT
Bz: 2.7 nT north

more data: ACEDSCOVR
Updated: Today at 2026 UTCoronal Holes: 25 Oct 16
A large coronal hole is turning toward Earth. Solar wind flowing from this structure could reach Earth as early as Oct. 25. 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, PolarUpdated at: 08-06-2016 16:55:02

SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts

Updated at: 2016 Oct 24 2200 UTC

FLARE

0-24 hr

24-48 hr

CLASS M

01 %

01 %

CLASS X

01 %

01 %

Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: activeminor stormsevere stormUpdated at: 2016 Oct 24 2200 UTCMid-latitudes

0-24 hr

24-48 hr

ACTIVE

40 %

45 %

MINOR

20 %

25 %

SEVERE

10 %

10 %

High latitudes

0-24 hr

24-48 hr

ACTIVE

20 %

20 %

MINOR

25 %

25 %

SEVERE

35 %

35 %