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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
SPACE WEATHER
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 398.0 km/sec
density: 2.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B6
2305 UT Mar01
24-hr: B6
2305 UT Mar01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 01 Mar. 10
At least two new sunspot groups are forming within the circled regions. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 13
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 28 Feb 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 2 days (3%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 772 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 28 Feb 2010


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 78 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 28 Feb 2010

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: 3.8 nT
Bz: 0.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on March 1st or 2nd. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Mar 01 2201 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
05 %
05 %
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: 2010 Mar 01 2201 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
05 %
MINOR
05 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
March 1, 2010

NEW AND IMPROVED: Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a field-tested global satellite tracker. The Satellite Flybys app now works in all countries.

 

SOLAR ERUPTIONS: The far side of the sun is alive with activity. On Feb. 28th, NASA's twin STEREO spacecraft observed one and perhaps two clouds of material blasting away from a high-latitude, site not visible from Earth. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) recorded a movie of the clouds billowing over the sun's northern limb. So far, none of this activity appears to be Earth-directed.

SNOW MOON: According to folklore, last night's full Moon was the "Snow Moon," named after the heavy snows of February. Snow was not required, however, for an apparition. Mark Staples sends this picture from Little Lake Santa Fe in central Florida:

"We didn't actually have snow, but it was cold," says Staples, who held up a life preserver to catch some moonlight. "The night before, temperatures dropped into the 20s. A local blueberry farm sprinkled water throughout the moonlit night to help save the crop. We'll find out in June if it worked!"

more images: from Pat Boomer of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada; from Martin Popek of Nýdek, Czech republic; from Tamas Ladanyi of Lake Balaton, Hungary; from Constantinos Emmanouilidis of Alikes, Volos, Greece; from David of Hudson, FL; from Tamás Ábrahám of Zsámbék, Hungary; from Ron Glasscock of Hurley, New Mexico

NOVEL USE OF A BUS STOP: In what appears to be an all-time first, nature photographer Monika Landy-Gyebnar of Veszprem, Hungary, has pioneered the use of a roadside bus stop as a solar spectroscope. "I was photographing a very intense halo display yesterday when I noticed a colorful flash from the corner of my eyes," Landy-Gyebnar. "It was coming from a bus stop across the street." Click on the image and behold the spectrum of the sun running along the bottom of the structure's cut-glass walls:

The dark gaps in the spectrum are real. They are Fraunhofer lines, named after the German physicist Joseph von Fraunhofer who studied them in the 18th century. Fraunhofer lines are imprinted on the sun's spectrum by cool gases in the sun's atmosphere, which absorb light from the hot stellar surface below. Each color corresponds to a specific element. The double-yellow lines caused by sodium, for instance, are particularly obvious in the bus-stop spectrum.

Fraunhofer lines have been used to study the chemical make-up of stars for more than two hundred years. Of all the stars in the heavens, however, only the sun is bright enough to show its spectrum in the corner of a bus stop. It's something to look for the next time you're waiting for a ride.

How does it work? Beveled edges outlining the bus stop's glass sides acted like a high-dispersion prism, spreading the colors of sunlight into a broad line for easy inspection. The relevant cuts are diagrammed here. "The sun was behind and above the bus stop at an elevation of 28-29 degrees," notes Landy-Gyebnar.


February Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Februarys: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]

 
       
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 1, 2010 there were 1103 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Feb. 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2009 UN3
Feb. 9
14.3 LD
12
1.2 km
2010 CK19
Feb. 17
0.9 LD
17
11 m
2001 FD58
Feb. 19
58.5 LD
17
0.9 km
2010 CJ18
Feb. 19
3.3 LD
18
20 m
2002 EZ11
Feb. 24
77.5 LD
18
1.0 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 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 and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
STEREO
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
   
  more links...
   
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