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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: 352.5 km/sec
density: 5.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Mar10
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Mar10
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 10 Mar 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 Mar. 2009
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.1 nT
Bz: 0.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should arrive on March 12th or 13th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Mar 10 2201 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: 2009 Mar 10 2201 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
March 10, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you sleep through the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.

 

WORM MOON: Tonight's full Moon has a special name--the Worm Moon. It signals the coming of northern spring, a thawing of the soil, and the first stirrings of earthworms in long-dormant gardens. Step outside tonight and behold the wakening landscape. "Worm moonlight" is prettier than it sounds.

COSMOS IS FALLING: The first fragments of shattered satellite Cosmos 2251 are about to reenter Earth's atmosphere. According to US Strategic Command, fragment 1993-036PX will reenter on March 12th, followed by 1993-036KW on March 28th and 1993-036MC on March 30th. These are probably centimeter-sized pieces that will disintegrate in the atmosphere, posing no threat to people on the ground.

Cosmos 2251 was shattered on Feb. 10th when it collided with another satellite, Iridium 33. Cosmos 2251 possessed about one and a half times more mass than Iridium 33 and to date appears to have produced more than twice the number of fragments. Click on the image to view a map of the debris orbits:

"As of March 7th, there were 355 catalogued fragments of Cosmos 2251 and 159 fragments of Iridium 33," says Daniel Deak who prepared the orbit-map for readers of spaceweather.com. "The Cosmos fragments are not only more numerous, but also more widely scattered, ranging in altitude from 198 km to 1689 km. For comparison, Iridium fragments are confined to altitudes between 582 km and 1262 km."

The extra scatter of Cosmos debris is not fully understood. Impact geometry could explain the spread, but no one knows exactly how the two complex vehicles struck one another. A factor of possible importance: Cosmos 2251 was internally pressurized. Once ruptured, it may have blown itself apart.

The International Space Station is in no immediate peril. "NASA has recognized from the first day [of the collision] that the risks to both ISS and STS-119 have increased," says Nick Johnson, Chief Scientist for Orbital Debris at the Johnson Space Center. "However, those increases have been relatively minor in comparison to the background environment."

Updated debris maps: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5.

CORONAL HOLE: Extreme UV telescopes onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) are monitoring a dark hole in the sun's atmosphere--a coronal hole:

Coronal holes are vast regions where the sun's magnetic field opens up and allows the solar wind to escape. A stream of solar wind flowing from this hole is heading for Earth now. Arctic sky watchers should be alert for Northern Lights when it arrives late on March 12th or March 13th.

March 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Marches: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002]


Comet Lulin Photo Gallery
[Comet Hunter Telescope] [finder chart]


Explore the Sunspot Cycle

       
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 10, 2009 there were 1037 potentially hazardous asteroids.
March 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2009 DS43
Mar. 1
6.9 LD
18
32 m
2009 DD45
Mar. 2
0.2 LD
11
35 m
2009 DN4
Mar. 3
8.1 LD
21
27 m
2009 EA
Mar. 4
7.4 LD
19
24 m
2009 EW
Mar. 6
0.9 LD
16
23 m
161989 Cacus
Mar. 7
70.5 LD
16
1.7 km
2009 EH1
Mar. 8
1.6 LD
18
12 m
2009 ET
Mar. 9
9.5 LD
21
15 m
2009 DV43
Mar. 10
8.5 LD
18
80 m
2009 EU
Mar. 11
3.5 LD
18
21 m
1998 OR2
Mar. 12
69.8 LD
14
3.3 km
2009 DR3
Mar. 14
7.2 LD
16
225 m
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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