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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 621.8 km/sec
density: 0.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1957 UT Mar01
24-hr: C6
0414 UT Mar01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 01 Mar 11
Growing sunspot 1164 (movie) has a complex "beta-gamma" magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 54
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 28 Feb 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 1 day (2%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 28 Feb 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 96 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 28 Feb 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 5 storm
24-hr max: Kp= 6
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.8 nT
Bz: 1.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 01 Mar 10
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on March 3rd or 4th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Mar 01 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
35 %
05 %
05 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2011 Mar 01 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
30 %
15 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
40 %
20 %
20 %
05 %
05 %
Tuesday, Mar. 1, 2011
What's up in space

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

Metallic pictures of the Sun

WHAT'S HITTING EARTH? Have you ever seen a fireball streak through the night sky and gone to bed wondering, "What was that?" NASA is deploying a network of smart cameras that will have an answer waiting for you when you wake up. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

MAGNETIC STORM IN PROGRESS: A solar wind stream hit Earth's magnetic field during the early hours of March 1st. The impact sparked a geomagnetic storm that was, at first, minor, but the storm has been intensifying throughout the day. Spotters are now reporting auroras over Northern Ireland, Latvia, Norway, and Sweden. If trends continue, the display could spread to the high latitudes of North America after nightfall. Stay tuned! [Aurora alerts: phone, text]

NASA space physicist James Spann sends this picture from Poker Flat, Alaska, where he is attending a scientific conference to study auroras:

"This is the first time I have seen the aurora borealis in person," says Spann who lives in Alabama. "It was fantastic--the greatest light show on Earth. It was cold (<-20 F) outside but worth every minute of exposure and lost sleep. I am afraid now that I have been ruined for life since my first personal viewing of the aurora was so amazing."

As a researcher he also appreciated the greater meaning of the display: "This is the most obvious and accessible evidence of the connectivity that Earth has with our star the sun. Witnessing the connectivity first-hand was particularly special to me."

more images: from Paul Evans of Larne, Northern Ireland; from Janis Satrovskis of Burtnieki, Latvia; from Markus Tingsnäs of Rättvik, Sweden; from Greger Lissollas of Rättvik, Sweden; from B.Art Braafhart of Salla in the Finnish Lapland; from Michael Jones of Anchorage Alaska;

GOOD WAY TO BEGIN A MONTH: When dawn broke on March 1st, early risers witnessed a spectacular sight in the eastern sky. Venus and the cresent Moon were in conjunction:

"What a great way to begin the day--and the month," says Piotr Majewski, who sends this picture from the Nicolas Copernicus Astronomy Centre near Torun, Poland.

If you overslept and missed the show, there's good news. A similar meetup between the crescent Moon and Jupiter (nearly as bright as Venus) will occur in the evening sky on March 6th. Sign up for backyard astronomy alerts, and we'll remind you too look.

more images: from KamilaM of Pulawy, Poland; from Adrian New of San Antonio, Texas; from Louis Suarato of Albany, NY; from Tomasz Adam of Kraków, Poland

NanoSail-D Photo Gallery
[NASA: Solar Sail Stunner] [Photo Contest]

February 2011 Aurora Photo Gallery
[previous Februaries: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]

  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 1, 2011 there were 1201 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 DU9
Feb 23
0.8 LD
21 m
2011 DQ
Feb 26
9.7 LD
26 m
2011 DT9
Feb 27
9 LD
40 m
2011 DE5
Mar 1
4.9 LD
23 m
2011 DW4
Mar 3
6.9 LD
15 m
2000 PN9
Mar 10
45.5 LD
2.6 km
2002 DB4
Apr 15
62.5 LD
2.2 km
2008 UC202
Apr 27
8.9 LD
10 m
2009 UK20
May 2
8.6 LD
23 m
2008 FU6
May 5
75.5 LD
1.2 km
2003 YT1
May 5
65.3 LD
2.5 km
2002 JC
Jun 1
57.5 LD
1.6 km
2009 BD
Jun 2
0.9 LD
9 m
2002 JB9
Jun 11
71.5 LD
3.2 km
2001 VH75
Jun 12
42.2 LD
1.1 km
2004 LO2
Jun 15
9.9 LD
48 m
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
Conquest Graphics
  for out-of-this-world printing and graphics
Science Central
  more links...
©2010 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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