Space Weather Observations, Alerts, and Forecast

Real Time Images of the Sun

The SOHO project, SOlar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is a joint project of international cooperation between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA, and has studied several aspects of the Sun and heliosphere.

EIT Images

Click for time-lapse image of the sun
Click for time-lapse image of the sun
Click for time-lapse SOHO EIT 284 image of the sun
Click for time-lapse image of the sun

The sun is constantly monitored for sun spots and coronal mass ejections. EIT (Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope) images the solar atmosphere at several wavelengths, and therefore, shows solar material at different temperatures. In the images taken at 304 Angstrom the bright material is at 60,000 to 80,000 degrees Kelvin. In those taken at 171 Angstrom, at 1 million degrees. 195 Angstrom images correspond to about 1.5 million Kelvin, 284 Angstrom to 2 million degrees. The hotter the temperature, the higher you look in the solar atmosphere.

Latest animated image

NASA Solar Dynamic Observatory

Mauna Loa Solar image

Mauna Loa Solar Observatory (MLSO) is a solar observatory located on the slopes of Mauna Loa on the island of Hawaii in the U.S. state of Hawaii. The MLSO is tasked with monitoring the solar atmosphere and recording data on plasmic and energetic emissions from the chromosphere and corona.

Mauna Loa Solar Image
H-Alpha image taken by NSO's GONG instrument at Mauna Loa. Click image for time-lapse movie.

Real Time Solar Corona, Solar Wind and Solar X-ray

Real Time Solar Corona LASCO Images

Latest LASCO C2 Solar Corona
Images of the solar corona
Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO).
Latest LASCO C3 Solar Corona
Images of the solar corona
Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO).

LASCO (Large Angle Spectrometric Coronagraph) is able to take images of the solar corona by blocking the light coming directly from the Sun with an occulter disk, creating an artificial eclipse within the instrument itself. The position of the solar disk is indicated in the images by the white circle. The most prominent feature of the corona are usually the coronal streamers, those nearly radial bands that can be seen both in C2 and C3. Occasionally, a coronal mass ejection can be seen being expelled away from the Sun and crossing the fields of view of both coronagraphs. The shadow crossing from the lower left corner to the center of the image is the support for the occulter disk.

C2 images show the inner solar corona up to 8.4 million kilometers (5.25 million miles) away from the Sun.

C3 images have a larger field of view: They encompass 32 diameters of the Sun. To put this in perspective, the diameter of the images is 45 million kilometers (about 30 million miles) at the distance of the Sun, or half of the diameter of the orbit of Mercury. Many bright stars can be seen behind the Sun.

Real-Time Solar Wind

Real-Time Solar Wind
Graph showing Real-Time Solar Wind
Real-Time Solar Wind data broadcast from either the NOAA DSCOVR satellite or NASA's ACE satellite.

Real-Time Solar Wind data refers to data from any spacecraft located upwind of Earth, typically orbiting the L1 Lagrange point, that is being tracked by the Real-Time Solar Wind Network of tracking stations. The NOAA DSCOVR satellite became the operational RTSW spacecraft on July 27, 2016 at 1600UT (noon EDT, 10am MDT).

SWPC maintains the ability to instantaneously switch the spacecraft that provides the RTSW data. During times of outages in DSCOVR data or problems with the data, this page may instead display the data from the NASA/ACE spacecraft.

Real-Time Solar X-ray

Solar X-ray Flux
Graph showing Real-Time Solar X-ray Flux
This plot shows 3-days of 5-minute solar x-ray flux values measured on the SWPC primary and secondary GOES satellites.
Satellite Environment Plot
Graph showing Real-Time Satellite Environment Plot
The Satellite Environment Plot combines satellite and ground-based data to provide an overview of the current geosynchronous satellite environment.

The GOES x-ray plots shown here are used to track solar activity and solar flares. Large solar x-ray flares can change the Earth's ionosphere, which blocks high-frequency (HF) radio transmissions on the sunlit side of the Earth. Solar flares are also associated with Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) which can ultimately lead to geomagnetic storms.

Solar Cycle

The Solar Cycle is observed by counting the frequency and placement of sunspots visible on the Sun.

Sun Spot Number Progression
Graph showing Sun Spot Number Progression
This plot shows the Solar Cycle Sun Spot Number Progression.
F10.7cm Radio Flux Progression
Graph showing F10.7cm Radio Flux Progression
This plot shows the F10.7cm Radio Flux Progression.
Ap Progression
Graph showing Ap Progression
This plot shows the Solar Cycle Ap Progression (a measure of geomagnetic activity).

Auroral Activity Extrapolated from NOAA POES

Northern Hemi Auroral Map
Current Northern hemispheric power input map - click for animated view
Southern Hemi Auroral Map
Current Southern hemispheric power input map - click for animated view

Instruments on board the NOAA Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite (POES) continually monitor the power flux carried by the protons and electrons that produce aurora in the atmosphere. SWPC has developed a technique that uses the power flux observations obtained during a single pass of the satellite over a polar region (which takes about 25 minutes) to estimate the total power deposited in an entire polar region by these auroral particles. The power input estimate is converted to an auroral activity index that ranges from 1 to 10.

VHF and HF Band Conditions

3-day Solar-Geophysical Forecast

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Space Weather Images and Information (excluded from copyright) courtesy of:
NOAA / NWS Space Weather Prediction Center
Mauna Loa Solar Observatory (HAO/NCAR)

Space Weather links:
3-Day Forecast of Solar and Geophysical Activity
Space Weather Overview
LASCO Coronagraph
Real-Time Solar Wind
Space Weather Advisory Outlooks
Space Weather Forecast Disussions
Space Weather Alerts, Watches and Warnings
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO)
The Very Latest SOHO Images

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