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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: 384.7 km/s
3.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
A0 2235 UT Mar13
24-hr: A0 2235 UT Mar13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 13 Mar '06

New sunspot 858 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 18
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 12 Mar 2006

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: 4.0 nT
2.6 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

Coronal Holes:

SOHO ultraviolet images of the sun are temporarily unavailable. Why? The telescope's CCD camera is being baked out.


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 2006 Mar 13 2204 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 2006 Mar 13 2204 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 15 % 10 %
MINOR 05 % 05 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 30 % 20 %
MINOR 15 % 10 %
SEVERE 05 % 01 %

What's Up in Space -- 13 Mar 2006
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The space station is visible in the night sky this month. Would you like to see it? Sign up for Spaceweather PHONE.

WORM MOON: According to folklore, this week's full moon is the Worm Moon. It heralds warm Spring days, thawing ground, robins and earthworms. On Tuesday night, you might behold a rare "Eclipse of the Worm Moon." Details below...

LUNAR ECLIPSE: When the full moon rises on Tuesday evening, March 14th, you might notice something odd--a pale shadow darkening the moon's southern hemisphere. That is the shadow of Earth, and if you can see it, you've spotted a penumbral lunar eclipse.

A penumbral eclipse. Photo credit: Matt Wastell of Brisbane, Australia. April 24, 2005.

Penumbral eclipses are not as dramatic as total eclipses. A penumbral eclipse involves only the pale fringe of Earth's shadow while a total eclipse happens in the shadow's dark red core. Both are fun to observe. Galleries: penumbral vs. total.

Maximum eclipse occurs between 6:18 p.m. and 7:18 p.m. EST on March 14th (14/2318 UT and 15/0018 UT). Observers in Europe, Africa and eastern parts of North America are favored; the eclipse will not be visible from California and other western US states: visibility map.

EXTRA: Watch an animation of the eclipse created by graphic artist Larry Koehn.

BLUE SUN: For the second time this year, a blue sun has appeared over Egypt. "A powerful khamaseen dust storm swept through Alexandria on March 7th," reports astronomer Aymen Ibrahem of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. "The sun shining through the dust turned blue."

The Egyptian sun on March 7th. Photo credit: Aymen Ibrahem.

Blue suns occur when the air fills with particles just a little larger than the wavelength of light. This makes the air behave like a filter, scattering red while allowing blue to pass. For maximum blue, the particles should all be very close to the same size--about a millionth of a meter across. Khamaseen storms are notorious for such fine dust. The spring dusty season is just beginning in Egypt. Sky watchers there should be alert for more blue suns--and blue moons, too.

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 13 Mar 2006 there were 773 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

March 2006 Earth-asteroid encounters




2000 PN9

March 6

7.9 LD


~2 km
2006 EH1

March 7

2.0 LD


~20 m
2006 EC

March 8

0.7 LD


~19 m
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

Daily images from the sun -- 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.

Lists of Coronal Mass Ejections -- from 1998 to 2001

Mirages: Mirages in Finland; An Introduction to Mirages;

NOAA Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999; 2000; 2001; 2002; 2003; 2004; 2005; Jan-Mar 2006;

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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