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NWS ILM Space Weather




Even though weather as we know it fades away 10 to 15 miles above the ground, dramatic changes still occur in the atmosphere all the way into the reaches of space. Charged particles from the sun produce beautiful auroras when they interact with the earth's magnetic field and the thin outer regions of the atmosphere. Strong outbursts of radiation from the sun are linked to the 11-year sunspot cycle, and can create unsafe conditions for astronauts and satellites.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the parent agency of the National Weather Service, and also the Space Environment Center (SEC). The SEC forecasts environmental conditions for the extreme upper atmosphere and the lower regions of space.

Space Weather Information

Data provided by the Space Environment Center and SOHO


Auroras (Northern Lights)

Current Auroral Oval calculated from NOAA POES SatellitesThis plot shows the current extent and position of the northern auroral oval, extrapolated from measurements taken during the most recent polar pass of the NOAA POES satellite. To see the auroras from the Carolinas, look for the activity level (on left margin of image) to be 9 or greater, and for the brighter, more active shading to extend down into the Eastern US.





Viewing Satellites

An Iridium Communications Satellite 'flaring' in the evening sky The weather isn't the only interesting thing to watch for in the sky. Have you ever noticed what appears to be a star slowly moving across the sky during the evening? You may have actually seen an orbiting satellite hundreds of miles away. Go to this NASA page to see if any satellites will be visible from your backyard soon.


National Weather Service
Weather Forecast Office Wilmington, NC
2015 Gardner Drive
Wilmington, NC 28405
(910) 762-4289

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