You are viewing the page for Mar. 29, 2014
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids Internet Shopping Sites high quality binoculars excellent weather stations all-metal reflector telescopes rotatable microscopes
Solar wind
speed: 452.0 km/sec
density: 6.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: X1
1748 UT Mar29
24-hr: X1
1748 UT Mar29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Mar 14
Sunspot AR2017 is crackling with M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 135
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 29 Mar 2014

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2014 total: 0 days (0%)
2013 total: 0 days (0%)
2012 total: 0 days (0%)
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)

29 Mar 2014

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 145 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 29 Mar 2014

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.9 nT
Bz: 1.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 29 Mar 14
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA. posts daily satellite images of noctilucent clouds (NLCs), which hover over Earth's poles at the edge of space. The data come from NASA's AIM spacecraft. The north polar "daisy" pictured below is a composite of near-realtime images from AIM assembled by researchers at the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP).
Noctilucent Clouds
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 02-28-2014 16:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2014 Mar 29 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
55 %
55 %
20 %
20 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2014 Mar 29 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
Saturday, Mar. 29, 2014
What's up in space

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.

Northern Lights - a Guide

POTENT SUNSPOT: Sunspot AR2017 in the sun's northern hemisphere is crackling with M-class solar flares, and it has a delta-class magnetic field that harbors energy for even stronger eruptions. Earth-directed flares are possible this weekend. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

update: AR2017 has just unleashed an X1-class solar flare. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the extreme ultraviolet flash on March 29th at 1752 UT:

It is too soon to say whether this potent explosion hurled a CME toward Earth. Stay tuned for updates in the hours ahead.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

OPPOSITION OF MARS: Earth and Mars are converging for a close encounter in April. It's only March, but the view through backyard telescopes is already superb. Michael A. Phillips of Swift Creek, NC, took this picture using a 14-inch telescope on March 27:

In Phillips's picture, south is up. It shows the rapidly evaporating North Polar Cap (summer arrived in February), orographic clouds over martian volcanoes near the equator, and a bright blue cloud filling Hellas Basin in the south. Only an experienced astrophotographer can produce this kind of Hubblesque detail using backyard optics. Novice observers looking through the eyepiece of a small telescope can still see a lot, however, including the rusty-red disk of Mars and bright smudges corresponding to the polar cap and Hellas Basin.

The view will improve in April. Get ready to see the Red Planet at its best as explained in "The Opposition of Mars" from Science@NASA.

Realtime Mars Photo Gallery

HUBBLE SEES JETS IN MARS COMET: Later this year, Mars is going to have a close encounter with a comet. On Oct. 19, 2014, Comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1) will buzz the Red Planet about 10 times closer than any known comet has ever flown past Earth. Mars could actually find itself inside the comet's extended atmosphere as the comet passes by only 138,000 km away. Needless to say, NASA is watching carefully. The latest images from the Hubble Space Telescope show jets spewing from the comet's core:

The image, captured on March 11th, shows comet Siding Spring at a distance of 353 million miles from Earth. Hubble can't see the icy nucleus because it is hidden inside the comet's glowing dusty atmosphere. Nevertheless, image processing did reveal what appears to be two jets of dust coming off the nucleus in opposite directions. This observation allows astronomers to calculate the direction of the nucleus's pole, and axis of rotation.

"This is critical information that we need to determine whether, and to what degree, dust grains in the [atmosphere] of the comet will impact Mars and spacecraft orbiting Mars," says Jian-Yang Li of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona.

Indeed, meteoroids from the comet could hit NASA's Mars orbiters and damage them even as the orbiters try to study the comet. The level of risk won't be known for months, but NASA is already evaluating possible precautionary measures. Data from Hubble and other observatories in the months ahead will clarify the dangers. Stay tuned for full coverage.

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

  All Sky Fireball Network

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

On Mar. 28, 2014, the network reported 9 fireballs.
(9 sporadics)

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]

  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 29, 2014 there were 1462 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2014 FM33
Mar 26
9.4 LD
24 m
2014 FN38
Mar 26
8.9 LD
21 m
2003 QQ47
Mar 26
49.9 LD
1.4 km
2014 FO38
Mar 29
4.8 LD
26 m
2014 FT37
Mar 29
1 LD
13 m
2014 FK38
Mar 31
3 LD
39 m
1995 SA
Apr 2
73.1 LD
1.6 km
2000 HD24
Apr 4
42.2 LD
1.3 km
2007 HB15
Apr 28
6.7 LD
12 m
2010 JO33
May 17
4 LD
43 m
2005 UK1
May 20
36.7 LD
1.1 km
1997 WS22
May 21
47.1 LD
1.5 km
2002 JC
May 24
48.7 LD
1.4 km
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 web 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 Dynamics Observatory
  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
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
  the underlying science of space weather
Space Weather Alerts
  more links...
©2010 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
©2019 All rights reserved.