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Solar wind
speed: 625.8 km/sec
density: 2.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2126 UT Mar17
24-hr: C1
1253 UT Mar17
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 17 Mar 13
Sunspot AR1696 has a beta-gamma magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 90
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 17 Mar 2013

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2013 total: 0 days (0%)
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

Update
17 Mar 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 126 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 17 Mar 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 6 storm
24-hr max: Kp= 6
storm
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 10.3 nT
Bz: 0.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 16 Mar 13
Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole could reach Earth on March 19-20. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Mar 17 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
20 %
20 %
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: 2013 Mar 17 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
35 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
05 %
SEVERE
05 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
15 %
MINOR
30 %
20 %
SEVERE
50 %
20 %
 
Sunday, Mar. 17, 2013
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

JUPITER-MOON CONJUNCTION: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look up. The crescent Moon and Jupiter are having a close encounter in the constellation Taurus--and don't forget Comet Pan-STARRS near the western horizon: sky map.

STRONG CME IMPACT: As predicted, a coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth's magnetic field at 0600 UT on March 17th. The impact lifted the solar wind speed from 300 km/s to 700 km/s and sparked a moderately strong (Kp=6) geomagnetic storm. Northern Lights spilled across the Canadian border into the United States as far south as Colorado:

"Just after 4 am local time, the skies turned green and red behind the twin stone monoliths of Rabbit Ears Peak near Steamboat Springs, Colorado," reports photographer and astronomy professsor Jimmy Westlake.

In the contiguous United States, auroras also appeared above New York, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Michigan and the Dakotas. Scan the realtime photo gallery and count the states.

The show's not over. Geomagnetic storming is underway as Earth passes thrugh the wake of the CME. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

IS COMET PAN-STARRS FRAGMENTING? Veteran astrophotographer Peter Rosen has been monitoring Comet Pan-STARRS, and his latest images obtained on March 15th seem to show a fragment emerging from the nucleus. It is the speck just below and to the right of the comet's head:

"It is visible also in two or three other image stacks," says Rosen. He notes how the stars in the image are trailed, but the apparent fragment is not. "It seems to follow the comet, not the stars. A plane passed through the field of view during the exposure, making a red streak through the comet's tail."

"The colorful image is a frequency modulation that increases the contrast and clearly shows the fragment as a dark dot below the nucleus," he continues. "I hope this splitting can be confirmed or refuted soon by other observers."

For casual sky watchers: A growing number of people are reporting that they can see Comet Pan-STARRS with the naked eye. Best estimates place the magnitude of the comet at +0.2, about twice as bright as a 1st magnitude star. As the comet moves away from the sun, its visibility is improving, which means you might be able to see it in the nights ahead. Step outside about an hour after sunset and look west: sky map.

More: NASA video, 3D orbit, ephemeris, light curves.

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery


Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery


Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]

  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 17, 2013 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2013 ES41
Mar 13
6.5 LD
21 m
2013 EA29
Mar 14
3.5 LD
20 m
2013 ED68
Mar 16
1.4 LD
11 m
2007 EO88
Mar 18
4.4 LD
23 m
1993 UC
Mar 20
49 LD
3.8 km
2013 ES11
Mar 22
6.3 LD
80 m
1997 AP10
Mar 28
45.9 LD
1.8 km
2013 EL89
Mar 29
4.6 LD
31 m
2010 GM23
Apr 13
3.9 LD
50 m
2005 NZ6
Apr 29
24.9 LD
1.3 km
2001 DQ8
Apr 30
74.3 LD
1.1 km
2004 BV102
May 25
69.9 LD
1.4 km
1998 QE2
May 31
15.2 LD
2.2 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
Space Weather Alerts
   
  more links...
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