With intermittent winter storms pelting western states, and fairly moderate weather predicted for the front range and Rocky Mountains next week in January, how about space weather above?
The NOAA Space Weather Page (SWP) has daily information about solar weather:
The NOAA SWPC space weather page has many product discussions from near to real-time satellite feeds. Some links are fairly technical, intended for space weather experts, while others are for use by anyone, including High School students doing research. Not only is such information valuable to weather forecasters, in that long-range forecasters have algorithms for calculating probable energy impacts from M or X-class solar flairs and CMEs on international communication and space satellites, but also for analyzing the impact of coronal mass ejections with the earth's magnetosphere (at various latitudes and strengths) that have a latent affect on the jet streams for both the northern and southern hemispheres. Eventually this solar/terrestrial link will become a determining factor for long range trends, but for now this information is a great predictor of when, where, or if we are likely to see northern lights.
Another site on NOAA NWS is "Space Weather Now." http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SWN/index.html
I particularly like this space weather site, because it currently provides a modeled graphical interface including: an auoral map, solar cycle projection, ACE real-time solar wind pages, and a current view of the sun's corona from the latest GOES Solar X-ray image. See the attached slideshow of a current solar X-ray view.
These are particularly interesting pages for people to browse, who have interest in monitoring solar activity, because it puts a near-to-real time view of the heavens right on our laptops or cell phones. After a bit of time browsing, it seems like we are viewing the solar system from the bridge of a future spaceship. I think this is a particularly useful and fun page for children to explore with, as well, because of the visual imagery, and this makes planetary science seem like a close and friendly part of every day.
When thinking about 'daily' space weather, I am reminded back a few months to a day where a very close asteroid flew by the earth that was only discovered three days prior on December 9th, 2012. Matter of fact, while writing this article, three NEOs; (1999 UR), (2013 AT72), (2013 BT15) passed by earth.
Next of interest to sky viewers across the planet in 2013, are two comets. This year was thought to be the year of the bright comet (smile in the sky). While astronomers agree about the predicted intensity, especially for the C/2012 S1 (ISON) comet event to occur in November, questions remain as to if this ‘bright’ comet will even be visible. Ison is predicted to pass very close to the sun, and may be obscured by the bright light of the sun itself, so while this comet will likely be brighter than a full moon, we may never know during daytime, unless using elaborate optical filters.
Okay, this leaves us with the other PanSTARRS comet as a good second best viewer, predicted to be around March and April (2013), and according to resident experts at "earthsky.org and space.com," this comet may be barely visible to the naked eye. This is beginning to appear like long range forecasting of terrestrial weather, where 'certainty' hopefully gets better as we get closer to each of these events.
Other celestial events worthy of note will be a predictable hoard of near earth objects (neo) asteroids that will wiz by earth at amazing speeds and reasonably predictable distances, and are visible by satellite X-ray.
A good site to monitor flying space rocks 'asteroids' is: http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/neo/