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Solar wind
speed: 599.3 km/sec
density: 5.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2300 UT Mar17
24-hr: C1
0152 UT Mar17
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 17 Mar 15
Sunspot AR2297 has a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 57
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 17 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 17 Mar 2015

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 117 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 17 Mar 2015

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 7 strong
24-hr max: Kp= 8
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 14.7 nT
Bz: 2.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 16 Mar 15

Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal holes should reach Earth on March 19-20. 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 17 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
40 %
10 %
10 %
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 17 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
30 %
35 %
15 %
10 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
15 %
20 %
30 %
70 %
45 %
Tuesday, Mar. 17, 2015
What's up in space

Learn to photograph Northern Lights like a pro. Sign up for Peter Rosen's Aurora Photo Courses in Abisko National Park.

Lapland tours

ST. PATRICK'S DAY GEOMAGNETIC STORM: Arriving earlier than expected, a CME hit Earth's magnetic field on March 17th at approximately 04:30 UT. At first, the impact sparked a relatively mild G1-class (Kp=5) geomagnetic storm. Since then, however, the storm has intensified to G4-class (Kp=8), ranking it as the strongest geomagnetic storm of the current solar cycle. This storm is underway now. Before sunrise on St. Patrick's Day, bright auroras were sighted over several northern-tier US states including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana, the Dakotas and Washington. Marketa Murray sends this picture from Dalton Highway in Alaska:

"The auroras were insane," says Marketa who regularly runs a photography workshop on the Arctic Circle. She has seen a lot of auroras. "I have never seen anything like this."

This storm could continue for many hours to come as Earth passes through the turbulent wake of the CME. Stay tuned for updates. Geomagnetic storm alerts: text, voice

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

SPACE YEAST: Today, March 17th, and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus are flying a Space Weather Buoy into the geomagnetic storm to measure the effect of the CME's impact on cosmic rays in the stratosphere. Along with radiation detectors and other sensors, the payload will carry some hitchhikers--brewer's and baker's yeast:

This picture shows packets of yeast flown to the edge of space last week. More of the microbes will fly today to experience the geomagnetic storm. During their ascent to the stratosphere, they will receive a dose of cosmic rays at least 40 times Earth-normal.

What can you do with Space Yeast? Bake space bread, brew space beer, or whip up any recipe that calls for yeast. Also, teachers and homeschoolers can conduct some cool classroom experiments.

If you would like a packet of space yeast, you can have one by making a donation of $49.95 to Earth to Sky Calculus. Every flown packet comes with a control packet that remained behind on Earth during the flight, so you can conduct a properly-controlled scientific experiment. All proceeds support student space weather research. Contact Dr. Tony Phillips to place your order.

BRIGHT FIREBALL, POSSIBLE METEORITE FALL: On March 15th, a meteor exploded over southern Germany. The shadow-casting fireball was brighter than the full Moon and it produced loud sonic booms – a sign that it penetrated deep in the atmosphere and may have dropped meteorites on the ground. Attracted by the sounds, astrophotographer Hans Hopf of Bavaria, Germany, turned his camera to the sky just in time to capture a plume of debris twisting in the winds overhead:

"I could see the 'smoke' twisting and turning through the constellation Orion for more than 20 minutes after the meteor exploded," says Hopf. "The field of view of these images is about 10 degrees. The bright star is Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis)."

The International Meteor Organization is gathering eyewitness reports through their new online reporting tool. European readers, if you witnessed this event, please report it. Your sighting could help pinpoint the landing zone of possible meteorites.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Comet 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. 17, 2015, the network reported 15 fireballs.
(15 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 17, 2015 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2015 EO
Mar 15
2.8 LD
20 m
2015 EG7
Mar 20
2.7 LD
13 m
2015 FC
Mar 26
2.9 LD
19 m
2063 Bacchus
Apr 7
76 LD
1.6 km
5381 Sekhmet
May 17
62.8 LD
2.1 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...
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