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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 388.0 km/sec
density: 1.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2110 UT Mar06
24-hr: B5
0800 UT Mar06
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 06 Mar. 10
Sunspots 1052 and 1053 are departing over the sun's western limb, putting the sun on the verge of only its 3rd blank day of 2010. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 35
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 05 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 05 Mar 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 80 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 05 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: 8.5 nT
Bz: 8.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 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 06 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 06 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
15 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
20 %
01 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
March 6, 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.


QUIET SUN: All the spots on the Earth-facing side of the sun are fading away. The sun is quiet and the chance of an Earth-directed solar flare this weekend is very low.

BE ALERT FOR ZODIACAL LIGHT: If you live in the northern hemisphere, now is the time to look for the Zodiacal Light. It jumps up in the west after sunset, a luminous triangle that can amaze observers in dark rural areas. Rob Ratkowski sends this picture from atop the Haleakala volcano in Maui:

"We've had many visitors to our high observing site who have never seen the Zodiacal Light before and are surprised to see how bright it really is," says Ratkowski, who sometimes likens it to "light pollution."

The phenonenon is caused by sunlight shining on billions of tiny dust particles scattered throughout the plane of our solar system. The tilt of the sky favors evening sightings in the weeks of late winter and early spring--in other words, now! For best results, get away from city lights. Find a place with a clear western horizon. Let your eyes adapt to the darkness after sunset and prepare to be amazed.

more images: from Steve Cullen of Rodeo, New Mexico;

AROUND THE SUN: Have you ever seen a luminous ring around the sun and felt you'd witnessed something rare and beautiful? You were only half right. Sun halos are beautiful, but not rare. "[They] are visible much more often than rainbows, once or twice a week on average," according to atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "The key to finding them is shielding the eyes from excessive glare."

For that purpose, a statute works nicely:

"I was walking along the waterfront on March 3rd when I spotted this nice 22o ice halo around the sun," says Vincent Phillips of Liverpool, UK. "I used one of the waterfront statues of Billy Fury to block the bright sun and take this picture."

The display was caused by sunlight shining through six-sided ice crystals in high cirrus clouds. Readers, the next time icy clouds drift across your sun, stand in the shadow of a statue and look up. No statues? Browse the links below for substitutes.

more images: from M. Raşid Tuğral of Ankara Turkiye; from Rob Driessen of Maastricht, the Netherlands; from Eddy Decorte of Ostend Belgium;

March Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Marches: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]
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 6, 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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