BARREL (Balloon Array for Radiation belt Relativistic Electron Losses) is a multiple-balloon investigation that will study Earth's Radiation Belts.
Atmospheric losses of relativistic electrons play an important role in radiation belt dynamics; precipitation into the atmosphere may even completely deplete the radiation belts in some cases.
BARREL is the first NASA Living With a Star Geospace Mission of Opportunity, and will support NASA's RBSP (Radiation Belt Storm Probes) mission.
There is not just an increase in the number of sunspots, but they are all starting to "crackle". The most active one was on the northern limb of the sun and sent off a M1.7 class flare at 9:34UT and ionization from this event was observed over Europe. Sunspot 1640 is still observable and slowly flaring.
NOAA is now giving an M-Class flare happening in the next 24 hours a 25% chance and a X-Class flare a 5% chance. Nothing has really hit the earth yet. Next week could get interesting!
Kp is quiet kp = 1 with a 24 max of kp = 1
Bz = 0.8 nT south
Btotal = 4.6 nT
The two coronal holes are still active and solar wind from them are expected to hit the Earth sometime between Jan 8th and 9th 2013.