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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Science news and information about the Sun-Earth environment.


Solar Wind
speed: 401.1 km/s
2.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
A9 2155 UT Mar04
24-hr: B2 1315 UT Mar04
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 04 Mar '05

Tiny sunspot 740 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 24
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 03 Mar 2005

Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals no large sunspots on the far side of the Sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.6 nT
1.3 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

Coronal Holes:

A solar wind stream flowing from this coronal hole could reach Earth on March 7th or 8th. Image credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope.


Solar Flares: Probabilities for a medium-sized (M-class) or a major (X-class) solar flare during the next 24/48 hours are tabulated below.
Updated at 2005 Mar 04 2200 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 2005 Mar 04 2200 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 15 % 25 %
MINOR 01 % 10 %
SEVERE 01 % 05 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 15 % 30 %
MINOR 01 % 10 %
SEVERE 01 % 05 %

What's Up in Space -- 4 Mar 2005
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QUIET SUN: With only one tiny sunspot facing Earth, the sun looks impressively blank today. Solar activity should remain low.

Would you like a call when the ISS is about to fly over your backyard? Sign up for SpaceWeather PHONE.

ROSETTA FLYBY: The European Space Agency's Rosetta probe, en route to land on a comet, is about to fly past Earth. Closest approach: 1900 km. Amateur astronomers in Europe can see it at sunset on March 4th. The spacecraft will glow about as brightly as an 8th- or 9th-magnitude star--too dim for the unaided eye but an easy target for backyard telescopes. [full story] [finder charts] [photo contest]

Above: As seen through a 12-inch telescope, the Rosetta spacecraft approaches Earth on Feb. 28th. Photo credit: Thomas Hugentobler of Bolligen, Switzerland.

ROSETTA UPDATE: Astronomer Frank Reddy has prepared an eye-popping simulation of the Rosetta flyby. See it: 17 MB (mpeg format) or 8 MB (RealPlayer format).

WHERE'S VENUS? Have you noticed something missing from the dawn sky? The brightest planet of all, Venus, has disappeared.

Actually, it's just hiding. This month Venus is orbiting behind the Sun where we can't see it because of the glare. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), however, can see Venus using its coronagraph to block the Sun. Witness this SOHO image from March 1st:

Venus is so bright, it overloads the coronagraph's digital camera, bleeding into adjacent pixels. That's why there's a horizontal line running through Venus. The planet doesn't really have rings, it's a digital artifact.

Throughout March, you can watch Venus glide by the Sun on SOHO's realtime images website. In April, Venus will emerge again, becoming a bright and beautiful evening "star" that you can see with your own two eyes. Stay tuned!

RAINBOWS ON TITAN: Like Earth, Titan is a wet place, but Titan's "water" is not like ours. Read this story from Science@NASA to find out about boats, waves, rain and rainbows on Saturn's giant moon.

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 are on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.

On 4 Mar 2005 there were 672 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

Jan.-Feb. 2005 Earth-asteroid encounters


1998 DV9

Jan. 11

30 LD

2004 EW

Feb. 14

23 LD

2004 RF84

Feb. 27

23 LD

Notes: LD is a "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 Environment Center -- The official U.S. government bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.

Atmospheric Optics -- the first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena. See also Snow Crystals.

Solar and Heliospheric Observatory -- Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO. (European Mirror Site)

Daily Sunspot Summaries -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Current Solar Images --a gallery of up-to-date solar pictures from the National Solar Data Analysis Center at the Goddard Space Flight Center. See also the GOES-12 Solar X-ray Imager.

Recent Solar Events -- a nice summary of current solar conditions from

SOHO Farside Images of the Sun from SWAN and MDI.

The Latest SOHO Coronagraph Images -- from the Naval Research Lab

The Sun from Earth -- daily images of our star from the Big Bear Solar Observatory

List of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

Observable Comets -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

What is the Interplanetary Magnetic Field? -- A lucid answer from the University of Michigan. See also the Anatomy of Earth's Magnetosphere.

Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from NASA's ACE spacecraft. How powerful are solar wind gusts? Read this story from Science@NASA.

More Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory Proton Monitor.

Aurora Forecast --from the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute

Daily Solar Flare and Sunspot Data -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Lists of Coronal Mass Ejections -- from 1998 to 2001

What is an Iridium flare? See also Photographing Satellites by Brian Webb.

Vandenberg AFB missile launch schedule.

What is an Astronomical Unit, or AU?

Mirages: Mirages in Finland; An Introduction to Mirages;

NOAA Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: 1999; 2000; 2001; 2002; 2003; Jan-Mar., 2004;

Space Audio Streams: (University of Florida) 20 MHz radio emissions from Jupiter: #1, #2, #3, #4; (NASA/Marshall) INSPIRE: #1; (Stan Nelson of Roswell, New Mexico) meteor radar: #1, #2;

Recent International Astronomical Union Circulars


This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips: email

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