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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 530.1 km/sec
density: 0.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1719 UT Mar04
24-hr: C2
0137 UT Mar04
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 04 Mar 11
Sunspot 1164 is crackling with C-class solar flares. You can see sunspot 1164 with your own eyes using safe solar filters available in the Space Weather Store. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 71
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 03 Mar 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 03 Mar 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 121 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 03 Mar 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.4 nT
Bz: 2.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 04 Mar 11
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Mar 04 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
35 %
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: 2011 Mar 04 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
25 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
30 %
10 %
15 %
05 %
10 %
Friday, Mar. 4, 2011
What's up in space

Turn your cell phone into a field-tested satellite tracker. Works for Android and iPhone.

Satellite flybys

FARSIDE ACTIVITY: This morning, March 4th, multiple flares erupted behind the sun's eastern limb. NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft detected a shadowy shock wave in the sun's atmosphere while the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) recorded at least two plasma clouds billowing into space. Today's blasts were not Earth-directed, but future blasts could be geoeffective as the active zone turns toward our planet in the days ahead.

AURORA WATCH: A high-speed solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetic field and lighting up the Arctic Circle with auroras. Last night in the Finnish town of Salla, B.Art Braafhart pulled over for a snapshot:

Photo details: Fujifilm Finepix S100FS, f2.8, ISO 400, 13-30 sec.

"For a moment the 'flames' were so intense, the picture was totally overexposed!" says Braafhart. "After that, we saw a variety of dancing shapes--curtains, screws, omegas, rays. It was an evening not to forget!"

High latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras as the solar wind continues to blow.

SPACE STATION FLYBYS: On March 1st, the International Space Station flew over Germany with a double-docking of spacecraft alongside. Both space shuttle Discovery and Europe's new Kepler robotic supply ship were mated to the outpost, providing an extra-large target for backyard telescopes. Click on the image to enjoy the view through astrophotographer Dirk Ewer's 5-inch refractor:

"It was impressive to see the shifting colors of the main solar panels as the sun-angle changed during the overpass," says Ewers. "I also liked the 3-dimensional feel created by Discovery's shadow playing across the station's exoskeleton."

More flybys like this are in the offing--both for Europe and North America. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker (or your cell phone) to find out when to look.

more images: from Pawel Warchal of Cracow, Poland; from Andy Cade of London, England;

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 4, 2011 there were 1203 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 EB
Feb 26
2.4 LD
18 m
2011 DQ
Feb 26
9.7 LD
26 m
2011 DT9
Feb 27
9 LD
39 m
2011 DE5
Mar 1
4.9 LD
22 m
2011 DW4
Mar 3
6.9 LD
15 m
2011 EC
Mar 6
9.2 LD
33 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.
Spaceweather Flybys

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