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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 430.5 km/sec
density: 4.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A5
1355 UT Mar02
24-hr: B4
0000 UT Mar02
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 1840 UT
Daily Sun: 02 Mar. 10
New sunspots 1052 and 1053 pose no threat for strong solar flares. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 36
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 01 Mar 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 01 Mar 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 78 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 01 Mar 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.2 nT
Bz: 0.5 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole brushed against Earth's magnetic field on March 2nd, but the imapact was not enough to ignite geomagnetic storms. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Mar 02 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
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 02 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
March 2, 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.


PHOBOS FLYBY: On March 3rd, Mars Express will fly past Phobos at a distance of only 67 km, the closest any spacecraft has ever been to this mysterious moon of Mars. The purpose of the flyby is not to take pictures but to map the gravity field of Phobos and, thus, to determine its internal structure. Spacecraft cameras will be turned off during the encounter to provide a clean "carrier signal" for the radio-gravity experiment. Hi-res images will be made, however, on March 7th during a follow-up flyby at a range of 107 km. Follow the action at the ESA flyby blog.

SOLAR ACTIVITY: Old sunspot 1045 still has some life left in it. On March 1st, beginning at 2245 UT, magnetic fields around the much-decayed active region erupted for more than three hours. STEREO-B had an excellent view of the blast, shown here in a snapshot through the spacecraft's extreme ultraviolet telescope:

Click here to set the scene in motion

The eruption hurled a billion-ton CME away from the sun (image), but not toward Earth. The blast site is located on the sun's eastern limb where it faces away from our planet. This marks the fourth time in the past two days that a CME has billowed away from the sun without heading in our direction. Earth keeps dodging the bullet.

With solar activity on the rise, it's only a matter of time before a CME hits. And alert for auroras.

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

EVENING STAR: After a long absence from the evening sky, Venus is emerging from the glare of sunset to resume her position as Evening Star. Sky watchers everywhere are making their first Venus sightings of the year--even astronauts. Soichi Noguchi sends this picture from the International Space Station (ISS):

The Japanese engineer and astronaut is doing a 4-month tour of duty on the ISS, and he is taking lots of pictures of Earth and sky. You can find them on his Twitter page. Venus is one of his favorite targets.

To see the same bright planet astronauts have been admiring, look west at sunset. Venus pops out of the twilight as soon as the sun dips below the horizon. Welcome back, Evening Star.

more images: from Kevin Witman of Cochranville, Pennsylvania; from John C McConnell of Maghaberry Northern Ireland.

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 2, 2010 there were 1103 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Feb. 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 UN3
Feb. 9
14.3 LD
1.2 km
2010 CK19
Feb. 17
0.9 LD
11 m
2001 FD58
Feb. 19
58.5 LD
0.9 km
2010 CJ18
Feb. 19
3.3 LD
20 m
2002 EZ11
Feb. 24
77.5 LD
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.
  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...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.













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