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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 424.7 km/sec
density: 1.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1825 UT Mar05
24-hr: A1
1430 UT Mar05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 05 Mar 08
A small sunspot did emerge yesterday (see this image from the Hinode spacecraft), but too briefly to gain an official number. It has faded away again leaving the sun blank. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 05 Mar 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.9 nT
Bz: 0.4 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 6th. Credit:SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Mar 05 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
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: 2008 Mar 05 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
20 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
25 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
05 %

What's up in Space
March 5, 2008
Where's Saturn? Is that a UFO--or the ISS? What's the name of that star? Get the answers from mySKY--a fun new astronomy helper from Meade.   mySKY

WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY: This morning began with a beautiful display of planets: Mercury, Venus and the slender crescent Moon gathered in a tight knot beneath the bright gaze of Jupiter. The quartet beamed brightly through the rosy glow of dawn.

But wait, the show's not over. In broad daylight, today, Venus and the crescent Moon will converge until there is only a sliver of blue sky between them. Anthony Ayiomamitis of Athens, Greece, sends this picture of a similar encounter last year over Europe:

"It is amazing how Venus can be picked out during the day and in spite of the brightness of the local sky when a large target such as the moon is nearby to help our eyes focus properly for infinity," says Ayiomamitis.

Today's Moon is a pale and slender 5% crescent, which could make it difficult to find in the bright blue sky. Try this: Command your GOTO telescope to slew to Venus. The planet and Moon will materialize together in the eyepiece. In parts of North America west of the Mississippi River, the Moon will actually pass in front of Venus causing the planet to disappear between about 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm CST (2030 and 2130 GMT). Occultation timetables for many US towns and cities may be found here.

AROUND THE SUN: Looking straight at the Sun is not a good idea. But looking around it has its rewards. "Today I saw the most amazing pastel clouds very close to the sun," reports Martin Mc Kenna of Maghera, N. Ireland. "I used my sun glasses held in front of the camera for these images."

The colored rings hugging the sun are caused by water in the cloud. Tiny droplets diffract sunlight to produce a lovely circumference of pastel shades called a corona. Coronas and their cousins, iridescent clouds, grace the sky with regularity, but we often miss them because the glare of the sun makes us look away. (Tip: Get shades!)

more images: from Mike Conlan at Blackcomb Glacier, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada; from Zoltan Goda of Baja, Hungary; from Giorgio Saporiti Jr of Gallarate, Varese, Italy; from Martin Popek of Bystrice Nad Olsi, Czech Republic; from Doug Zubenel of Johnson Co., Kansas; from Yasmin Angélique Walter of Observatorio del Teide, Tenerife, Spain;

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. [comment]
On March 5, 2008 there were 938 potentially hazardous asteroids.
March 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 DH5
Mar. 5
7.1 LD
60 m
1620 Geographos
Mar. 17
49 LD
3 km
2003 FY6
Mar. 21
6.3 LD
145 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 Links
NOAA Space Weather Prediction 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.
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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