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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 408.3 km/sec
density: 4.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A8
1755 UT Mar16
24-hr: A8
1400 UT Mar16
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 16 Mar. 10
Sunspot 1054 is slowly decaying, but it still has a "beta-gamma" magnetic field that harbors energy for C- and M-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO
Sunspot number: 28
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 15 Mar 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 6 days (8%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 776 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 15 Mar 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 86 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 15 Mar 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.4 nT
Bz: 0.3 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 16 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 16 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
30 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
30 %
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
What's up in Space
March 16, 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.


COMET FRAGMENTS: On March 11th, 12th and 13th no fewer than four comets plunged into the sun. Can you find all four in this movie (22 MB) from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory? Hint: The last comet is a double. These sungrazing comets are believed to be fragments of a giant comet that broke apart more than 2000 years ago.

AURORA WATCH: A solar wind stream is heading for Earth, and so is a coronal mass ejection (CME). Together, they add up to a geomagnetic storm alert for March 17th and 18th. The impact of the solar wind plus CME will brighten Arctic skies already alive with Northern Lights:

"We are getting some good activity here in Tromsø, Norway," reports Thomas Hagen. He took the picture on March 16th using a Canon 40D set at ISO 800 for 5 seconds. High-latitude sky watchers should take note of those camera settings. NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance of geomagnetic activity and a 5% chance of severe geomagnetic storms during the next 24 hours. Photo-ops are in the offing!

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

SOLAR ACTIVITY: Readers, if you have a solar telescope, scan your optics around the circumference of the sun. "A lovely prominence is visible on the sun's western limb today," reports Pete Lawrence who send this picture from his backyard observatory in Selsey UK:

"The giant arch of magnetized plasma was filled with gorgeously delicate detail," he says.

In addition to the prominence, big sunspot 1054 is putting on a good show near disk center. The active region has a "beta-gamma" magnetic field that harbors energy for C- and M-class solar flares. Monitoring is encouraged.

more images: from John Minnerath of Crowheart, Wyoming; from Alan Friedman of Buffalo, NY; from Ron Cottrell of Oro Valley, Arizona; from Jérôme Grenier of Paris, France; from Peter Desypris of Athens, Greece; from Pavol Rapavy of Observatory Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia; from Etienne Lecoq of Mesnil-Panneville, Normandy, France; from Fulvio Mete of Rome, Italy; from Rogerio Marcon of Campinas - Brazil; from Jörgen Blom of Stockholm, Sweden; from Davide Cirioni of Cilavegna, Pavia, Italy; from Laurent Corp of Rodez, France;

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 16, 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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