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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: 386.6 km/s
15.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
B9 2005 UT Mar05
24-hr: B9 2005 UT Mar05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 05 Mar '05

Sunspot 741 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 13
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 04 Mar 2005

Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals one good-sized sunspot group on the far side of the Sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 9.3 nT
3.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT

Coronal Holes:

A solar wind stream flowing from this coronal hole could reach Earth as early as March 7th. Image credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope.


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 2005 Mar 05 2200 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 2005 Mar 05 2200 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 25 % 35 %
MINOR 10 % 20 %
SEVERE 05 % 10 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 30 % 40 %
MINOR 10 % 20 %
SEVERE 05 % 15 %

What's Up in Space -- 5 Mar 2005
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AURORA WATCH: Sporadic auroras are likely March 7th and 8th over Alaska, Canada and Scandinavia. The cause: a high speed solar wind stream heading for Earth. Mushers, look up!

Would you like a call when the ISS is about to fly over your backyard? Sign up for SpaceWeather PHONE.

ROSETTA FLYBY: The European Space Agency's Rosetta probe streaked past Earth last night, only 1900 km from our planet. The close encounter was a "gravity assist maneuver" slingshotting the spacecraft on its way to land on a comet.

Astronomers at the CAST Observatory in Italy caught the flyby on film:

At closest approach, Rosetta was only about as bright as a 9th magnitude star--much too dim for the human eye. Nevertheless, many amateur astronomers were able to photograph the spacecraft using CCD cameras and backyard telescopes.

more images: from Gianluca Masi, Franco Mallia and Roger Wilcox using the SoTIE telescope at Las Campanas, Chile; from V. Terno and W. Borghini of Casasco (AL), Italy.

LOOMING LIGHTHOUSE: Walking along a beach in France on Feb. 28th, Laurent Laveder watched in amazement as an island materialized above the waves. First a lighthouse appeared, then the ground beneath it--all floating in midair!

It was, of course, a mirage:

Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains: "We have all seen mirages over a hot road. Air near the road heats, expands and becomes less dense. Down-going light rays bend upwards again as they pass between the different density layers to make upside down images of vehicles." There's no road in Laveder's image, but the sea serves the same purpose: warm heated the cold morning air above it, bending light rays from a distant island in surprising ways.

"Sailors had their own words for mirage effects," adds Cowley. "Ships raised up over the horizon were 'looming.' Vertically stretched images were 'towering' and squashed ones 'stooping.'" Click here to view an animation of Laveder's looming lighthouse.

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 are on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.

On 5 Mar 2005 there were 672 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

Jan.-Feb. 2005 Earth-asteroid encounters


1998 DV9

Jan. 11

30 LD

2004 EW

Feb. 14

23 LD

2004 RF84

Feb. 27

23 LD

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

The Sun from Earth -- daily images of our star 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.

Aurora Forecast --from the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute

Daily Solar Flare and Sunspot Data -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Lists of Coronal Mass Ejections -- from 1998 to 2001

What is an Iridium flare? See also Photographing Satellites by Brian Webb.

Vandenberg AFB missile launch schedule.

What is an Astronomical Unit, or AU?

Mirages: Mirages in Finland; An Introduction to Mirages;

NOAA Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: 1999; 2000; 2001; 2002; 2003; Jan-Mar., 2004;

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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