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Solar wind
speed: 376.8 km/sec
density: 2.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1849 UT Mar22
24-hr: C2
0238 UT Mar22
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 22 Mar 13
None of these sunspots poses a threat for Earth-directed flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 60
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 22 Mar 2013

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

22 Mar 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 106 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 22 Mar 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.4 nT
Bz: 0.3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 22 Mar 13
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Mar 22 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
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: 2013 Mar 22 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
25 %
10 %
20 %
05 %
Friday, Mar. 22, 2013
What's up in space

Listen to radar echoes from satellites and meteors, live on listener-supported Space Weather Radio.

Spaceweather Radio is on the air

SOLAR ACTIVITY MISSES EARTH: Sunspot AR1692 is crackling with C- and M-class solar flares. However, all of the eruptions are missing Earth because of the sunspot's off-center location on the sun's NW limb. Earth-directed flares are unlikely during the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

THE BRIGHTNESS OF COMET PAN-STARRS: Comet Pan-STARRS is receding from the sun and dimming as it goes, yet sky watchers are seeing it better than ever as it moves into darker skies. How bright is it? University of Colorado atmospheric sciences professor Richard Keen, an expert estimator of astronomical magnitudes because of his work with lunar eclipses, has the answer:

"My best estimate for the comet's brightness is magnitude +1.9, a factor of five fainter than five days earlier," he says. "However, thanks to the increasing altitude of the comet in a somewhat darker sky, it is still just as easy to see with the naked eye - actually, a bit easier, because it's no longer buried in the trees." He had no trouble finding the comet for this picture looking over the Continental Divide on March 19th:

"The comet is easy to spot in the clear high-altitude skies of Colorado," Keen continues. "It appears to the unaided eye in the twilight sky as a slightly fuzzy star. Observers in more humid or hazier climates still might need binoculars to locate the comet."

"PanSTARRS will likely fade another magnitude or two over the next week as the moon brightens towards full on the night of the 26th," he predicts. "Then, on the 28th of March, the moon will rise a couple of hours after sunset, and the comet will become visible in a dark sky for the first time (for Northern observers). I expect it will still be of naked-eye brightness."

More: NASA video, 3D orbit, ephemeris, light curves.

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

FIRST AURORAS OF NORTHERN SPRING: It is a well known scientific fact that equinoxes favor auroras. At this time of year, the slightest gust of solar wind can provoke bright lights around the poles. The phenomenon was in full effect Wednesday night in Sweden's Abisko National Park:

"Springtime IS aurora season here in Abisko," reports photographer and aurora tour guide Chad Blakley. "As the nights get shorter it seems like the auroras get more intense and their colours become more vivid. If we are lucky we have two more weeks of amazing aurora displays before the sun overpowers the northern lights."

"I also made a time-lapse video of the display and I was lucky enough to capture comet Pan-STARRS with the lights dancing overhead," he adds. "You can see the film here." Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]

  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 22, 2013 there were 1389 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
1993 UC
Mar 20
49 LD
3.8 km
2013 ES11
Mar 22
6.3 LD
80 m
2013 FG
Mar 24
3.8 LD
33 m
2013 FD8
Mar 27
8.4 LD
28 m
1997 AP10
Mar 28
45.9 LD
1.8 km
2013 EL89
Mar 29
4.6 LD
29 m
2013 FB8
Mar 30
4.2 LD
45 m
2010 GM23
Apr 13
3.9 LD
50 m
2005 NZ6
Apr 29
24.9 LD
1.3 km
2001 DQ8
Apr 30
74.3 LD
1.1 km
2004 BV102
May 25
69.9 LD
1.4 km
1998 QE2
May 31
15.2 LD
2.2 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...
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