Internet Shopping Sites high quality binoculars excellent weather stations all-metal reflector telescopes rotatable microscopes
Solar wind
speed: 391.7 km/sec
density: 6.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2006 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M1
1811 UT Mar05
24-hr: M1
1811 UT Mar05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 1959 UT
Daily Sun: 05 Mar 15
With these sunspots fading away, the sun is almost blank. Solar activity is low. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 43
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 Mar 2015

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2015 total: 0 days (0%)

2014 total: 1 day (<1%)
2013 total: 0 days (0%)
2012 total: 0 days (0%)
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)

Update 04 Mar 2015

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 124 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 04 Mar 2015

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.1 nT
Bz: 4.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2006 UT
Coronal Holes: 05 Mar 15

Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on March 9th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
Noctilucent Clouds The southern season for NLCs has come to an end. The last clouds were observed by NASA's AIM spacecraft on Feb. 20, 2015. Now attention shifts to the northern hemisphere, where the first clouds of 2015 should appear in mid-May.
Switch view: Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctic Penninsula, East Antarctica, Polar
Updated at: 02-28-2015 02:55:03
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2015 Mar 04 2315 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2015 Mar 04 2315 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
25 %
25 %
25 %
25 %
Thursday, Mar. 5, 2015
What's up in space

Come to Tromsø and share Marianne's passion for rural photography: invites you to experience "Heaven on Earth" with an aurora, fjord, fishing, whale watching, photography or sightseeing tour.

Chase the Light Tours

QUIETING SUN: Solar activity is low, and getting lower. NOAA forecasters estimate a 15% chance of M-class flares on March 5th, subsiding to 1% on March 7th as the only sunspots on the solar disk rotate onto the farside of the sun. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

MINI FULL MOON: You've heard of the supermoon. Get ready for the opposite--a mini Moon. Tonight's full Moon will be as much as 50,000 km farther away than other full Moons of the year, making it smaller and dimmer than usual. This image created by Alan Dyer of Silver City, New Mexico, illustrates the difference:

The apparent size of the Full Moon changes throughout the year because the Moon's orbit is not a circle, it is an ellipse, with one side (apogee) 50,000 km farther from Earth than the other side (perigee): diagram. When the Moon is on the apogee side, it looks smaller and dimmer in proportion to its increased distance.

Can you tell the difference? Some people say "yes," others "no." There are no rulers floating in the sky to measure lunar diameters. Without a reference, it can be challenging to distinguish an apogee Moon from a perigee Moon. Decide for yourself. Go outside after sunset, look east, and enjoy the mini-moonlight.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

SPACE SEEDS: In late February, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus conducted an experiment in "space agriculture." Using a sub-orbital helium balloon, they flew a dozen varieties of garden vegatables and flowers to the edge of space. Here are three of the seed packets photographed at an altitude of 112,030 feet:

During their ascent to the stratosphere, these seeds (and 80 other packets not shown) experienced temperatures as low as -63 C, air pressures akin to those on the planet Mars, and cosmic ray dose rates 40x Earth-normal. While these "space seeds" were flying to the edge of space, identical control samples remained behind on Earth.

Students intend to plant the flown seeds side-by-side with control samples to investigate whether near-space travel affects the viability, color, size, taste or other characteristics of the plants.

Readers, would you like to grow your own space garden? For a small donation of $49.95 to Earth to Sky Calculus, you can have some of these space seeds for yourself. They make a great science fair project and, possibly, a unique meal! You may chose any two seed types from the following list: turnips, cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, sweet corn, green beans, bell peppers, helichrysum flowers, jalapeno peppers, petunias, radishes, sunflowers, cosmos flowers, pumpkins, broccoli and carrots. We will send you flown+control packets for both of your selections. Contact Dr. Tony Phillips to place your order. All proceeds support student research.

SUNGRAZING COMET, DESTROYED: Last month we reported an unusual comet dive-bombing the sun. Discovered by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, "SOHO-2875" did not belong to any known family of sungrazing comets, and it intrigued astronomers by brightening after its closest approach on Feb. 19th. What happened to the comet? You'll have to ask its ghost:

Astrophotographer Michael Jäger of Hochbärneck, Austria, took the picture on February 28, 2015, shortly after the comet had emerged from the glare of the sun. It shows not an intact comet, but rather a trail of debris. SOHO-2875 appears to be dead, and this is its remains.

Comet expert Karl Battams of the Naval research lab comments: "As we see, comet SOHO-2875 - officially C/2015 D1 (SOHO) - was indeed 'recovered' from the ground, but regrettably not in one piece. Amateur astronomer Justin Cowart was the first to spot the comet, followed the next night by a couple of other observers. All were reporting the same thing - a long diffuse streak with no central condensation - and Michael's stunning image illustrates that perfectly."

"When I see an image like this," Battams continues, "it tells me that the nucleus of the comet no longer exists. Instead, probably soon after perihelion, the comet's nucleus suffered some kind of catastrophic disruption and just completely fell apart. All that remains is a dusty ghost of what once was. You'll recall Comet ISON did much the same thing, though in that comet's case it fell apart before it even reached its closest point to the Sun. D1 has done us something of a favor by waiting until after perihelion to crumble, and the dust has remained somewhat compact enough that ground observers can view it for a while."

"People often ask me in these situations what actually happens to the dust, and the answer depends on the size of the chunks. Really small stuff (think: vacuum cleaner dust) will get blown away by the force of sunlight hitting it. But bigger chunks will just continue safely on in their orbit, back out to the cold recesses of our solar system. This comet did not appear to be short or even long period, so this is one ghost that will not be making a reappearance!"

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

  All Sky Fireball Network

Every night, a network of NASA all-sky cameras scans the skies above the United States for meteoritic fireballs. Automated software maintained by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth in Earth's atmosphere and many other characteristics. Daily results are presented here on

On Mar. 5, 2015, the network reported 18 fireballs.
(18 sporadics)

In this diagram of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point--Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]

  Near Earth Asteroids
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.
On March 5, 2015 there were 1556 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2015 DY198
Mar 1
2.2 LD
21 m
2015 DO215
Mar 2
3.1 LD
20 m
2015 DS53
Mar 2
3.1 LD
64 m
2015 DK200
Mar 8
7 LD
33 m
2063 Bacchus
Apr 7
76 LD
1.6 km
Notes: LD means "Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.
  Essential web links
NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
  The official U.S. government space weather bureau
Atmospheric Optics
  The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
Solar Dynamics Observatory
  Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
  the underlying science of space weather
Space Weather Alerts
  more links...
Fine meteorite rings
weather suits coupons

Guide to the Northern Lights
space weather alerts
©2010 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.

Flybys for iPhone and Android


Quality Solar Panels from DHgate


Iceland Photo Tours

space weather alerts