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Space Weather Now at the Space Environment Center

Freelance journalists spend a lot time with their noses in their browsers building their space elevator blogs. I use Firefox (this site is optimised for Firefox which you may already know if you use IE) and I love Accuweather's ForecastFox extension which puts 3 days and nights of weather in my browser's status bar.

This would be really useful if I ever actually got up from the computer and went ouside but for now it at least serves to remind me there IS an outside.

A significant geomagnetic storm impacted the Earth beginning early Thursday afternoon around 1:00 p.m. Eastern time, 14 December, according to forecasters at the NOAA Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colo. Impacts from this event can cause problems with High Frequency communications, satellite operations and induce currents in power grids. (Source: ESA)
Knowing Earth weather wouldn't be quite so useful if I lived and/or worked in space though. Knowing the space weather forecast can mean the difference between hidely safely behind radiation shielding or becoming a tiny, glowing constellation affectionately known as the Crispy Critter.

Space Weather Now ... give[s] the non-technical user a 'plain language' look at space weather. The page refreshes automatically once a minute.

The various sections are:

Events and Announcements

Solar X-ray Imager (SXI) - a Solar X-ray Imagers (carried by the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) 12 and 13 spacecraft) that monitor the Sun’s X-rays for solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and other phenomena that impact the geospace environment .

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Scales - The scales describe the environmental disturbances for three event types: geomagnetic storms, solar radiation storms, and radio blackouts. The scales have numbered levels, analogous to hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes that convey severity. They list possible effects at each level. They also show how often such events happen, and give a measure of the intensity of the physical causes.

Maximum in past 24-hours - These are the highest values over the last 24-hours for Geomagnetic Storms; planetary K-values for the last 8 3-hourly periods. Solar Radiation Storms; average 5-minute protons at >10 MeV from primary GOES satellite. Radio Blackouts; X-ray 1-minute values from primary GOES satellite.

Currently - Geomagnetic Storms (latest 3-hour K-value), Solar Radiation Storms (averaged 5-minute proton value), and Radio Blackouts (x-ray 1-minute value) current values.

Real-time Solar Wind pages - Solar wind values collected by the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE). Data is averaged over the last 15-minutes for the values. The latest dial display can be linked to at : Explanation

Auroral Map - The plots on this page show the current extent and position of the auroral oval at each pole, extrapolated from measurements taken during the most recent polar pass of the NOAA POES satellite.

Today’s Space Weather - A look at space weather for the more technical user. This page has the latest full-disk image, the 3-day Solar-Geophysical Forecast, Solar X-ray Flux plot, Satellite Environment Plot, and more information.

D-region Absorption - Long range communications using high frequency (HF) radio waves (3-30 MHz) depend on reflection of the signals in the ionosphere.

Solar Image References - Link to additional descriptions and sources of solar images

Latest Alert - Updated hourly and as Alerts, Warnings, or Watches are issued.

Last Advisory Bulletin - Updated as a Space Weather Bulletin is issued. The file contains back bulletins for the last 8 months.

Solar Cycle 23 Progression - A plot indicating the progression of the current solar cycle. These are updated at the first of each month.

Today’s Theme - A variety of short subject themes about space weather, products, services, or projects. They change each day and rotate through the provided list of themes.

USER Groups - Links to specific pages of importance to the various user categories served by SEC.


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