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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 463.2 km/sec
density: 2.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1208 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B4
1755 UT Mar04
24-hr: C2
1610 UT Mar04
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 04 Mar. 10
These three small sunspots pose no threat for strong solar flares. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 39
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 03 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 03 Mar 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 80 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 03 Mar 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.1 nT
Bz: 2.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Mar 03 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 03 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
March 4, 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 A SUCCESS: On March 3rd, Mars Express flew past Phobos at a distance of only 67 km--the closest any spacecraft has ever been to the mysterious asteroid-moon of Mars. European Space Agency mission controllers say the spacecraft is in good health and its experiment to measure the gravity field of Phobos appears to have been a complete success. Next up: Mars Express will execute a 107 km flyby of Phobos on Sunday, March 7th, and send back high-res photos. Stay tuned!

NORTHERN LIGHTS: Northern spring is almost here--and that means it's aurora season. For reasons researchers don't fully understand, the weeks around equinoxes are the best time of the year to look for Northern Lights. On March 2nd, right on cue, the sky over Norway unexpectedly erupted in color:

"I didn`t expect to see any auroras, but then a sudden outburst came at about 22:00 local time," reports Fredrik Broms of Kvaløya. "During a brief but intense peak of activity, I saw a stunning corona in red and green. The auroras were criss-crossed by thin moonlit clouds, giving the winter landscape an eerie appearance. It was very pretty."

Stay tuned for more as the equinox approaches!

UPDATED: March Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Marches: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]

TIDAL WAVE! Tsunamis, such as the one spawned by the recent 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile, are often mistakenly called "tidal waves." In fact, tides and tsunamis have little to do with one another. One is caused by the gravitational pull of the sun and moon; the other is caused by the rumbling geology of our own planet.

To find a real tidal wave, go to the Severn river in Gloucestershire, UK:

"On March 2nd we experienced a 'five star' tidal bore on the river Severn," reports photographer Jamie Cooper. "It was caused by a large spring tide combined with the funneling effect of the Severn Estuary. There was a carnival atmosphere with hundreds of spectators watching and surfers risking life and limb to ride the wave! News organizations covered the event extensively."

"This is all a result of the sun and moon, of course, so I hope it qualifies as space weather." Indeed, responds the editor, space weather reaches even into the rivers of England. Click here for more images.

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 4, 2010 there were 1105 potentially hazardous asteroids.
March 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2001 PT9
March 3
11.1 LD
305 m
4486 Mithra
March 12
73.5 LD
3.3 km
2001 FM129
March 13
44.1 LD
1.5 km
2002 TE66
March 28
48.0 LD
940 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 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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