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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 478.6 km/sec
density: 2.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B9
2240 UT Feb29
24-hr: B9
2240 UT Feb29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Feb 12
These sunspots pose no threat for strong flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 35
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 28 Feb 2012

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2012 total: 0 days (0%)
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 28 Feb 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 103 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 28 Feb 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.3 nT
Bz: 7.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 29 Feb 12
A solar wind stream flowing from this minor coronal hole could reach Earth on March 4-5. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Feb 29 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
01 %
01 %
CLASS X
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: 2012 Feb 29 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
15 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
20 %
MINOR
10 %
25 %
SEVERE
05 %
15 %
 
Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012
What's up in space
 

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

 
Metallic pictures of the Sun

MARS AT OPPOSITION: Mars is approaching opposition. On March 3-5, the Red Planet will be up all night long, opposite the sun and as close to Earth as it will get in 2012. Mars shines overhead at midnight 6 times brighter than a 1st magnitude star and looks great through a backyard telescope. [sky map] [photos: #0, #1, #2, #3, #4]

END OF FEBRUARY AURORAS: February is coming to an end with a flourish of auroras. A CME impact followed by a gusty solar wind stream have combined to produce bright lights around the Arctic Circle on Feb. 26-28. Photographer Nenne Åman recorded the scene last night in Revi, Sweden:

"The show was short but very beautiful!" says Åman.

Because 2012 is a leap year, February isn't finished yet. Arctic sky watchers should be alert tonight for some of the rarest auroras of all--those that occur on Feb. 29th. Aurora alerts: text, phone.

more images: from Christina Hammock of Barrow, Alaska; from Laaksonen Juha of Luvia, Finland; from Thomas Albin of Esrange, Sweden; from Antti Niiranen of Central Finland; from Carolyn Bol of Helensburgh, Scotland; from Dennis Mammana of Fairbanks, Alaska; from Sangku Kim of Canada Yellowknife; from Chad Blakley of Abisko National Park, Sweden; from Kaj Hoglund of Vaasa, Finland; from Kaj Hoglund of Vaasa, Finland; from Graeme Whipps of Chapel Of Garioch, Aberdeenshire; from Hannu Hyvönen of Ruuhimäki, Finland;

February 2012 Aurora Gallery
[previous Februaries: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]

AFTER-IMAGES: The planetary conjunction of Feb. 26-27 is over now, but photographers are still processing and submitting their images. For sky watchers who missed the show, here is one last round of images, beginning with a video from an abandoned ski run in northern Nebraska:

"The combination of planets with pale moon light, deep twilight colors, and the motion blur of clouds during a long exposure was enthralling," says photographer Chris Allington.

As the three-way meeting of Jupiter, Venus and the Moon breaks up, attention turns to the other side of the sky where Mars is approaching Earth for a close encounter on March 3-5. "Turn your back on the dazzling duo of Jupiter and Venus and you can see the third bright planet of the season rising in the east -- Mars!" says astronomy professor Jimmy Westlake of Stagecoach, Colorado. He took this picture of the red planet on Feb. 27th.

more images: from Constantine Emmanouilidi in the Pieria mountains of Greece; from Darryl Reid at The Hoodoos in the Canadian Badlands; from Ronald Mochinski of Warrenton, Virginia; from Sue Stefanowicz of Dixon, IL; from James W. Young of Ecola State Park, Oregon; from Mike Holloway of Van Buren, AR; from Kamila Mazurkiewicz of Puławy, Poland; from Petr Horálek of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic; from Jun Lao of Mason, Ohio; from Marek Nikodem of Szubin, Poland;

  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 February 29, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2012 DX13
Feb 25
4.9 LD
--
70 m
2012 CS46
Feb 25
2.7 LD
--
12 m
2012 DS32
Mar 1
1.9 LD
--
24 m
2012 DN31
Mar 1
8 LD
--
79 m
2012 DR32
Mar 2
8.7 LD
--
51 m
2008 EJ85
Mar 6
9.1 LD
--
44 m
1999 RD32
Mar 14
57.9 LD
--
2.4 km
2011 YU62
Mar 16
73.4 LD
--
1.3 km
1996 SK
Apr 18
67.2 LD
--
1.6 km
2007 HV4
Apr 19
4.8 LD
--
8 m
2011 WV134
Apr 28
38.6 LD
--
1.8 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.
STEREO
  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
Heliophysics
  the underlying science of space weather
Trade Show Displays
   
  more links...
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