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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 495.2 km/sec
density: 0.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1853 UT Mar14
24-hr: M2
1521 UT Mar14
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 14 Mar 12
Active sunspot AR1429 is turning away from Earth. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 80
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 Mar 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 13 Mar 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 141 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 13 Mar 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.1 nT
Bz: 3.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 14 Mar 12
A solar wind stream flowing from this coronal hole could reach Earth on March 16-17. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Mar 14 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
70 %
40 %
CLASS X
20 %
05 %
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 Mar 14 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
25 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
20 %
MINOR
15 %
30 %
SEVERE
05 %
35 %
 
Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2012
What's up in space
 

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STRONG FLARE, INCOMING CME: Departing sunspot AR1429 unleashed another strong flare on March 13th, an M7-class eruption that peaked around 1741 UT. Although the sunspot is no longer directly facing Earth, the blast will affect our planet. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab say a CME is en route to Earth, and its impact on March 15th at 06:20 UT (+/- 7 hours) could trigger minor to moderate geomagnetic storms. Space weather alerts: text, phone.

BRIGHT COMET DIVES INTO RADIATION STORM: A bright comet is diving into the sun. It was discovered just last week by SOHO's SWAN instrument, so it has been named "Comet SWAN." The comet's death plunge ( or "swan dive") comes just as the sun has unleashed a strong flare and radiation storm around Earth. SOHO images of the comet are confused to some degree by energetic protons striking the camera. Nevertheless, you can see Comet SWAN moving through the electronic "snow" in this updated 17 hour movie:

This is a Kreutz sungrazer, a fragment of the same ancient comet that produced sungrazing Comet Lovejoy in Dec. 2011. According to comet expert Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab in Washington DC, "Comet SWAN is one of the brightest Kreutz-group comets ever observed by SOHO, although not quite as bright as Comet Lovejoy." Battams forecasts a peak magnitude of -1 for Comet SWAN, while Lovejoy was three magnitudes brighter at -4.

Will Comet SWAN survive its plunge through the sun's atmosphere as Comet Lovejoy did? Probably not, but experts also said Comet Lovejoy would not survive, and they were happily wrong. Comet's SWAN's closest approach to the sun will likely come on March 14th. Stay tuned to Karl Battam's blog for updates.

VENUS-JUPITER CONJUNCTION: This is a great week to admire the sunset. Venus and Jupiter are side-by-side only ~3o apart in the western sky, beaming through the twilight as soon as the sun goes down. Photographer Marek Nikodem of Szubin, Poland, recorded the scene at nightfall on March 12th:

"Venus and Jupiter are like two lanterns illuminating the darkness," says Nikodem. "It's a wonderful sight."

Try to catch the duo before the sky fades completely black. Venus and Jupiter surrounded by twilight blue is a wonderful sight indeed.

more images: from Jimmy Westlake of Stagecoach, Colorado; from Peter Wine of Dayton, Ohio; from Laurent Laveder of Pluguffan, Brittany, France; from Rhiannon Palframan of Cookham Dean, Berkshire, UK; from John Cordiale of Edgecomb Pond, Bolton NY; from Ulf Jonsson of LuleƄ, Sweden; from Alexander Birkner of Eppelborn, Germany; from Diana Bodea of Ibiza, Spain; from Andrey A. Belkin of Moscow, Russia; from Vesa Vauhkonen of Rautalampi, Finland; from Mitchell Krog of Magaliesburg, South Africa; from Sven Melchert of Stuttgart, Germany; from Bob Northup of Studio City CA

BROKEN RECORD? The recent sustained activity of sunspot AR1429 has kept the Arctic Circle alight with auroras for almost two weeks. "I have spent many thousands of hours watching and photographing the Northern Lights," says aurora tour guide Chad Blakely of Abisko Sweden, "and I can honestly say that I have never seen the auroras this strong for so many days in a row." In a movie he made last night, March 12th, a green tornado of light swirls across Venus and Jupiter:

"We were all absolutely stunned by the natural beauty of this display," says Blakeley. "I know I sound like a broken record, but sunspot 1429 just will not stop!"

The Antarctic Circle has been similarly active. Click on the links for recent shots of Southern Lights: from Dave Headland of Oamaru, New Zealand; from Ian Stewart of Tinderbox, Tasmania, Australia; from Nick Monk of Mountain River, Tasmania, Australia; from John Golja of Tooradin, Victoria, Australia; from Stephen Voss of Invercargill, New Zealand; from Dave Headland of Oamaru, Southern New Zealand


February 2012 Aurora Gallery
[previous Februaries: 2011, 2010, 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 14, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2012 DW60
Mar 12
2.5 LD
--
23 m
2012 EM5
Mar 12
5.6 LD
--
36 m
2012 EJ5
Mar 13
5.5 LD
--
13 m
1999 RD32
Mar 14
57.9 LD
--
2.4 km
2011 YU62
Mar 16
73.4 LD
--
1.3 km
2012 EK5
Mar 22
5.8 LD
--
33 m
2012 EG5
Apr 2
0.7 LD
--
65 m
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
1992 JD
May 2
9.5 LD
--
43 m
2010 KK37
May 19
2.3 LD
--
31 m
4183 Cuno
May 20
47.4 LD
--
5.7 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
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