When is the best time to see auroras? Where is the best place to go? And how do you photograph them? These questions and more are answered in a new book, Northern Lights - a Guide, by Pal Brekke & Fredrik Broms.
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SPACEWEATHER PAYLOAD RECOVERY: Last week, supported by Spaceweather.com, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched an experimental Rapid Response Space Weather Balloon to measure cosmic radiation in the stratosphere. On Sunday, March 23rd, a team will recover the payload from its landing site on a 11,000 ft mountain peak in the Inyos of central California. Stay tuned for updates and data.
SOUTHERN SUNSPOT TRAIN: A long line of sunspots is stretching across the sun's southern hemisphere, and at least two of them (AR2010 and AR2014) have 'beta-gamma' magnetic fields that harbor energy for M-class solar flares. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed the "sunspot train" in motion on March 22nd:
Most of these sunspots are facing Earth, so if any of them erupts the blast would likely be geoeffective. NOAA forecasters estimate a 45% chance of M-class flares and a 5% chance of X-flares this weekend. Solar flare alerts: text, voice
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
SPRING COLORS: For reasons not fully understood by researchers, equinoxes favor auroras. Around the start of northern spring, even small gusts of solar wind can spark bright lights in arctic skies. On March 21st, John Chumack captured an outburst of spring colors over Alaska:
Although solar wind conditions were quiet, "we saw absolutely amazing auroras for 30 minutes outside Fairbanks!" says Chumack. "I took over 450 photos as the lights danced and swayed. It got so bright at times, the snow turned green, red and purple, too."
The solar wind remaiins relatively quiet, but at this time of year it doesn't take much to stir up the lights. NOAA forecasters estimate a 20% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on March 22nd and 23rd. Aurora alerts: text, voice
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Realtime Mars Photo Gallery
Realtime Comet Photo Gallery
Every night, a network of NASA all-sky cameras scans the skies above the United States for meteoritic fireballs. Automated software maintained by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth in Earth's atmosphere and many other characteristics. Daily results are presented here on Spaceweather.com.
On Mar. 22, 2014, the network reported 2 fireballs.
In this diagram of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point--Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]
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 22, 2014 there were potentially hazardous asteroids. 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.
| ||The official U.S. government space weather bureau |
| ||The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena. |
| ||Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever. |
| ||3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory |
| ||Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO. |
| ||from the NOAA Space Environment Center |
| ||the underlying science of space weather |