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ASTEROID OVER-HYPE: The internet is abuzz with discussion about asteroid 2014 YB35. Some media outlets are reporting that this kilometer-class space rock will "skim past Earth" for a "terrifying" close encounter on Friday, March 27th. That is a gross exaggeration. At closest approach, 2014 YB35 will be 4.5 million kilometers away, almost a dozen times farther from Earth than the Moon. There is absolutely no danger of a collision, and it's not even close. [3D orbit]
CHASING MOON SHADOWS: Total eclipses of the sun are achingly brief. The Moon's shadow races across the landscape at thousands of kilometers per hour, enveloping sky watchers for a matter of minutes at most. On March 20th, when the Moon passed in front of the sun over the Arctic Ocean, a few observers extended the experience--in an airplane. "Flying at 14,000 m was an incredible way to watch the eclipse," reports Sylvain Chapeland. "Our velocity of 950 km/h allowed an extra minute of totality." She recorded this must-see video over a stretch of ocean between Iceland and the Faroe Islands:
"I have never seen anything like the shadow of the Moon rushing upon us during totality, overtaking us and continuing its path at 3000 km/h," says Chapeland. "This was a dramatic perspective. Our view of the sun's corona with Venus shining on the east side were incredible."
Want to spend even more time in the shadow of the Moon? Take your time browsing Spaceweather.com's solar eclipse photo gallery:
Realtime Eclipse Photo Gallery
SUNSPOT TURNS TOWARD EARTH: Solar activity is low, but sunspot AR2305 is poised to break the quiet. The growing active region has developed a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. And, as shown in this movie from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, the sunspot is turning toward Earth:
Because solar activity is so low, NOAA forecasteres are estimating a scant 1% chance of X-flares on March 25th. However, if AR2305 taps into its potential and produces such an eruption, it will surely be Earth-directed. Stay tuned. Solar flare alerts: text, voice
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Realtime Comet Photo Gallery
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 Spaceweather.com.
On Mar. 25, 2015, the network reported 16 fireballs.
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]
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 25, 2015 there were potentially hazardous asteroids. 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.
| ||The official U.S. government space weather bureau |
| ||The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena. |
| ||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 |
| ||Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO. |
| ||from the NOAA Space Environment Center |
| ||the underlying science of space weather |