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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 649.9 km/sec
density: 0.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B8
1809 UT Mar02
24-hr: C1
1318 UT Mar02
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 02 Mar 11
Growing sunspot 1164 has a "beta-gamma-delta" magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 72
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 01 Mar 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 1 day (2%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 01 Mar 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 111 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 01 Mar 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.9 nT
Bz: 1.6 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 02 Mar 11
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on March 4th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Mar 02 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
35 %
05 %
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: 2011 Mar 02 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
25 %
15 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
25 %
15 %
15 %
10 %
05 %
Wednesday, Mar. 2, 2011
What's up in space

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Satellite flybys

WHAT'S HITTING EARTH? Have you ever seen a fireball streak through the night sky and gone to bed wondering, "What was that?" NASA is deploying a network of smart cameras that will have an answer waiting for you when you wake up. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A solar wind stream hit Earth's magnetic field on March 1st, sparking a day-long geomagnetic storm and bright auroras around the Arctic Circle. NASA space physicist James Spann photographed the display from Poker Flat, Alaska, where he is attending a scientific conference to study (you guessed it) auroras:

Photo details: Nikon D700 with 14-24mm lens at f/3.5, exposure of 25 seconds at 14 mm, ISO 1000

"This is the first time I have seen the aurora borealis in person," says Spann who lives in Alabama. "It was fantastic--the greatest light show on Earth. It was cold (<-20 F) outside but worth every minute of exposure and lost sleep. I am afraid now that I have been ruined for life since my first personal viewing of the aurora was so amazing."

As a researcher he also appreciated the greater meaning of the display: "This is the most obvious and accessible evidence of the connectivity that Earth has with our star the sun. Witnessing the connectivity first-hand was particularly special to me."

The storm is subsiding now, but it could start up again in response to ongoing high-speed solar wind. Stay tuned. [Aurora alerts: phone, text]

more images: from Doug Kiesling of Saint Cloud, MN; from Mike Dickson of Kelso, Scotland; from Paul Evans of Larne, Northern Ireland; from Bjarki Mikkelsen of Porjus Jokkmokk Sweden; from Robin Ramstad of Luleå, Norrbotten, Sweden; from Geir Øye of Ørsta, Norway; from John Pennell of Wasilla, Alaska; from Alan C Tough of Elgin, Moray, Scotland; from Janis Satrovskis of Burtnieki, Latvia; from Markus Tingsnäs of Rättvik, Sweden; from Greger Lissollas of Rättvik, Sweden;

SPACE STATION TRANSIT: This week, amateur astronomer Alan Friedman traveled 1800 miles to see an event that was over in a fraction of a second. "It was totally worth the trip," says the New York resident who, on March 1st, caught the International Space Station (ISS) transiting the sun over south Florida:

"The ISS paid a visit to the Winter Star Party in the Florida Keys," says Friedman. "A fine transit of the ISS across the sun was scheduled for 2:39 p.m. not far from this annual gathering of astronomers. I was scheduled to give a talk on astrophotography ending at 1:30 p.m. As soon as it was done, Brian Shelton, Mark Beale and I made a mad dash to set up and record the pass. We barely made it in time to catch the ISS silhouetted against the limb of the sun. Total elapsed time of the transit from our location at Knights Key Resort and Marina - one fifth of a second. A blink of an eye and an 1800 mile drive to see it!"

NanoSail-D Photo Gallery
[NASA: Solar Sail Stunner] [Photo Contest]

February 2011 Aurora Photo Gallery
[previous Februaries: 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 2, 2011 there were 1201 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 DQ
Feb 26
9.7 LD
26 m
2011 DT9
Feb 27
9 LD
42 m
2011 DE5
Mar 1
4.9 LD
23 m
2011 DW4
Mar 3
6.9 LD
15 m
2000 PN9
Mar 10
45.5 LD
2.6 km
2002 DB4
Apr 15
62.5 LD
2.2 km
2008 UC202
Apr 27
8.9 LD
10 m
2009 UK20
May 2
8.6 LD
23 m
2008 FU6
May 5
75.5 LD
1.2 km
2003 YT1
May 5
65.3 LD
2.5 km
2002 JC
Jun 1
57.5 LD
1.6 km
2009 BD
Jun 2
0.9 LD
9 m
2002 JB9
Jun 11
71.5 LD
3.2 km
2001 VH75
Jun 12
42.2 LD
1.1 km
2004 LO2
Jun 15
9.9 LD
48 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 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.
  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
  the underlying science of space weather
Conquest Graphics
  for out-of-this-world printing and graphics
Science Central
  more links...
©2010 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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