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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: 467.0 km/s
7.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
A8 1900 UT Mar15
24-hr: B1 1045 UT Mar15
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 14 Mar '06

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

Sunspot Number: 34
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 14 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: 5.8 nT
5.0 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 15 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 15 2204 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 10 % 10 %
MINOR 01 % 01 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

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

What's Up in Space -- 15 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.

SOLAR WIND: A solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetic field. This could spark auroras tonight over Alaska, Canada and Scandinavia.

LUNAR ECLIPSE: On March 14th the full Worm Moon dipped into Earth's shadow producing a penumbral lunar eclipse visible from Europe, Africa and eastern parts of North America. "The moon rose at mid-eclipse here in Indiana," says Robert B Slobins who had his camera ready and snapped this picture:

March 14 Lunar Eclipse Gallery

The red color of the moon is not the eclipse. Moons turn red when they are viewed through low dusty layers of Earth's atmosphere. The eclipse is the gray shading of the moon's right quarter. "A very subtle display, hard to notice if you were not told, but charming nonetheless," says Koen van Gorp of Boechout, Belgium, another photographer whose work appears in our lunar eclipse gallery.

JUPITER MOVIE: Astronomers call Jupiter "the giant planet" for a reason: It's so big, 11 times wider than Earth, that you can see fantastic details through an ordinary backyard telescope. On March 12th, Mike Salway of Australia made this 90-minute movie using a 10-inch telescope and a CCD video camera:

Click on the image to see the rest of Jupiter.

Dominating the scene is the Great Red Spot, the biggest storm in the solar system; two planet Earths could fit inside with room to spare. Can you also see Jupiter's newest red spot, Red Jr? It pops over the planet's limb near the end of the movie.

To see Jupiter for yourself, wake up before dawn and look south. Jupiter is the brightest "star" in that part of the sky. You can't miss it.

more images: from Chotechai Piyavongsiri of Bangkok, Thailand (note the shadow of Europa on Jupiter's cloudtops).

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 15 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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