| || Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica |
Credit: NOAA/Ovation Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 5 storm
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.30 nT
Bz: 0.49 nT north
more data: ACE, DSCOVR
Updated: Today at 1020 UT Coronal Holes: 15 Jun 22
Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on June 16-17. Credit: SDO/AIA
Noctilucent cloud season has begun. NASA’s AIM spacecraft detected the first NLCs of 2022 around the Arctic Circle on May 22nd. Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar Updated Jun15
Updated at: 2022 Jun 15 2200 UTC
|SPACE WEATHER |
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth’s magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm Updated at: 2022 Jun 15 2200 UTC Mid-latitudes
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Never miss another geomagnetic storm. Sign up for Space Weather Alerts and you’ll receive a text message when magnetic storms erupt. Aurora your guides and professional astronomers use this service. You can, too!
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CME IMPACT ON JUNE 15TH: Arriving a few hours earlier than expected, a CME hit Earth’s magnetic field on June 15th at 0437 UT. The glancing blow sparked a G1-class storm, but few aurora sightings. Glare from the full Strawberry Moon interfered with visibility. The storm is now subsiding. Aurora alerts: SMS Text
MAPPING A MAGNETIC SUPERSTORM: Researchers have mapped the best and worst places in the USA to be during a severe geomagnetic storm. For residents of some big cities, the news is not good.
“Resistive structures in the crust and mantle of the Earth make cities along the east coast of the USA especially vulnerable to geomagnetic storms,” says Jeffrey Love of the US Geological Survey (USGS), who led the study. “Hazards are greatest for power systems serving Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC, – a megalopolis of over 50 million people.”
Above: Resistive structures in the crust of the Earth measured by the Earthscope project. Credit: Kelbert et al. (2019) [more]
These conclusions are based on a new study of the biggest geomagnetic storm of the Space Age–the Great Québec Blackout of March 13, 1989. Millions of Quebecois spent a long winter night without lights or heat after a pair of CMEs hammered Earth’s magnetic field. The Hydro-Québec power grid was down for more than 9 hours.
What would happen if the same geomagnetic storm struck again? That’s what Love’s team wanted to find out. They combined old measurements of magnetic activity during the 1989 storm with new measurements of Earth’s crust to pinpoint the hazard zones.
At this point, it may be useful to review what happens during a geomagnetic storm. When a CME hits Earth’s magnetic field, our magnetic field vibrates. If you had a sensitive-enough compass, you could see the needle quivering. Next, because of Faraday’s Law, electrical currents begin to flow through conductors. Power lines, pipes, even rocks conduct these geomagnetically induced currents (GICs). Together, Earth and power lines form an electrical circuit; if too much current flows into the power grid it can cause a blackout.
Above: During a geomagnetic storm, geomagnetically induced current (GIC) flows through power lines and the Earth itself. Credit: GAO
In 1989 researchers didn’t know much about the Earth-half of the circuit. That has changed. In 2006, the Earthscope project began sounding our planet’s crust to determine the 3D electrical properties of deep rock. It turns out, there are huge variations in conductivity from place to place. The type of rock a city sits on determines how vulnerable it is to geomagnetic storms.
In retrospect, Québec was especially vulnerable. The province sits on an expanse of Precambrian igneous rock that does a poor job conducting electricity. When the March 13th CMEs arrived, storm currents found a more attractive path in the high-voltage transmission lines of Hydro-Québec. Unusual frequencies began to flow through the lines, transformers overheated and circuit breakers tripped.
Assuming that the Québec storm was underway again, Love’s team mapped electric fields around much of North America. Measured in units of Volts per kilometer (V/km), these fields predict how much current will be pushed through wires at ground level. The higher the value, the bigger the hazard.
Above: If you live near an orange dot you might be in trouble during a geomagnetic superstorm. The color-coded dots represent peak geoelectric field amplitudes. Credit: Love et al (2022). [movie]
“Peak 1-min-resolution geoelectric field amplitudes ranged from 21.66 V/km in Maine and 19.02 V/km in Virginia to <0.02 V/km in Idaho," says Love. "Our maps show where utility companies might concentrate their efforts to mitigate the impacts of future magnetic superstorms."
With Solar Cycle 25 ramping up to a new Solar Maximum expected in 2025, the hazard maps are coming not a moment too soon.
You can read Love et al.’s original research in the May 2022 edition of the research journal Space Weather. Click here.
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FAR-OUT FATHER’S DAY GIFTS: What do you get the dad who has everything? Consider a gift from the edge of space. Every item in the Earth to Sky Store has flown to the top of Earth’s atmosphere onboard a cosmic ray balloon, and they’re all 10% off between now and Father’s Day (June 19th).
Each gift comes with a unique greeting card showing the item in flight and telling the story of its journey to the stratosphere and back again. Cosmic ray data collected during the flights form a unique record of radiation in Earth’s atmosphere–100% gathered and analyzed by young scientists. Sales support the students and their high-altitude ballooning program.
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Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery 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.
Free: Spaceweather.com Newsletter
On June 15, 2022, the network reported 3 fireballs.
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] 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 June 15, 2022 there were 2279 potentially hazardous asteroids. Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
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 |
SPACE WEATHER BALLOON DATA: Almost 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 sensors that detect secondary cosmic rays, a form of radiation from space that can penetrate all the way down to Earth’s surface. Our monitoring program has been underway without interruption for 7 years, resulting in a unique dataset of in situ atmospheric measurements.
Latest results (Nov. 2021): Our balloons have just measured a sudden drop in atmospheric radiation. It happened during the strong geomagnetic storms of Nov. 3-4, 2021. Here are the data:
This is called a “Forbush decrease,” named after American physicist Scott Forbush who studied cosmic rays in the early 20th century. It happens when a CME from the sun sweeps past Earth and literally pushes cosmic rays away from our planet. Radiation from deep space that would normally pepper Earth’s upper atmosphere is briefly wiped out.
We have measured Forbush decreases before. For example, here’s one from Sept. 2014. The Forbush Decrease of Nov. 3-4, 2021, was the deepest in the history of our 7-year atmospheric monitoring program. Radiation levels in the stratosphere over California dropped nearly 20%, more than doubling the previous record from our dataset.
En route to the stratosphere, our sensors also pass through aviation altitudes, so we can sample radiation where planes fly. This plot shows how the Forbush decrease was restricted to the stratosphere; it did not affect lower levels of the atmosphere:
The dose rates shown above are expressed 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. The higher you fly, the more radiation you will absorb.
.Who cares? Cosmic rays are a surprisingly “down to Earth” form of space weather. They can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. According to a study from the Harvard T.H. Chan school of public health, crews of aircraft have higher rates of cancer than the general population. The researchers listed cosmic rays, irregular sleep habits, and chemical contaminants as leading risk factors. Somewhat more controversial studies (#1, #2, #3, #4) link cosmic rays with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.
.Technical notes: 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.
Data points in the first graph (“Stratospheric Radiation”) correspond to the peak of the Regener-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 Regener and Georg Pfotzer discovered the maximum using balloons in the 1930s and it is what we are measuring today.
| ||The official U.S. government space weather bureau |
| ||The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena. |
| ||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 |
| ||Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO. |
| ||information about sunspots based on the latest NOAA/USAF Active Region Summary |
| ||from the NOAA Space Environment Center |
| ||fun to read, but should be taken with a grain of salt! Forecasts looking ahead more than a few days are often wrong. |
| ||from the NOAA Space Environment Center |
| ||the underlying science of space weather |
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