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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 364.4 km/sec
density: 0.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A3
1930 UT Mar09
24-hr: A4
0850 UT Mar09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Mar. 10
The Earth-facing side of the sun is blank-no sunspots. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 Mar 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 3 days
2010 total: 5 days (7%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 775 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 08 Mar 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 77 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 08 Mar 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.1 nT
Bz: 3.9 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 09 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 09 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
March 9, 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.


THE MYSTERY OF PHOBOS: Something is wrong with Phobos. The martian moon looks like a solid, but it is not as dense as a rocky solid should be. Some researchers think Phobos might be riddled with vast caverns; others say it is just a "rubble pile" masquerading as a solid body. To solve the mystery, Europe's Mars Express spacecraft is making a series of close Phobos-flybys this month. High-res photos could be available as early as this Wednesday. Stay tuned!

DARK FILAMENT: For the 4th day in a row, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is tracking a dark magnetic filament curling over the sun's northeastern limb. Click on the image to launch a movie recorded by the observatory's extreme ultraviolet telescope:

The massive, plasma-filled filament has been remarkably stable since SOHO first spotted it on March 5th. However, filaments like this have been known to collapse. If this one does and hits the stellar surface, the impact could produce a powerful Hyder flare. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor developments.

more images: from Robert Arnold of Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from Mike Borman of Evansville, Indiana; from David Gradwell of Near Birr Ireland; from Malcolm Park of London UK; from James Kevin Ty of Manila , Philippines; from Stephen Ames of Hodgenville, KY; from Davide Cirioni of Cilavegna, Italy; from Fabio Mariuzza of Biauzzo - Italy; from Bavais Joel of Ath, Belgium;

SOLAR TRANSIT: The sun is blank--no sunspots. That makes it much easier to pick out the spaceships. On March 7th, Leonardo Julio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, watched the silhouette of the International Space Station zip across the featureless solar disk:

Click to view the full solar disk

"The ISS crossed the entire solar disk in only 0.5 seconds," says Julio. "I captured the split-second transit using a solar-filtered Meade LX-90 8-inch telescope and a Canon EOS 40D digital camera (1/1600 sec, ISO-1600)."

The ISS is easier to see in the night sky where the glare of the sun is absent and the super-bright spaceship spends a leisurely five minutes gliding from horizon to horizon. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flybys of your home town. And don't forget, there's an app for that, too.

more ISS images: from Pawel Warchal of Krakow, Poland; from Jo Smeets of Maastricht Netherlands; from Max Bittle of Concord, New Hampshire

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 9, 2010 there were 1106 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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