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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 372.6 km/sec
density: 2.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Mar06
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Mar06
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 06 Mar 09
A new sunspot is emerging in the circled location. Credit: SOHO/MDI

more images: from Howard Eskildsen of Ocala, Florida; from Paul Pocklington of Lincolnshire UK
Sunspot number: 12
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 06 Mar. 2009
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= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.2 nT
Bz: 0.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should arrive on March 11th or 12th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Mar 06 2201 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: 2009 Mar 06 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
March 6, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you sleep through the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.


KEPLER NIGHT LAUNCH: NASA mission controllers say there is a 95% chance that the Kepler spacecraft will lift off from Cape Canaveral tonight at 10:49 p.m. EST. The spectacular night launch will propel Kepler on a mission to find Earth-like planets around other stars. [updates]

LULIN AND THE BEEHIVE: Tonight, March 5th, Comet Lulin is having a close encounter with the Beehive star cluster. Astrophotographer Doug Zubenel reports from rural Kansas: "I stepped outside around 10 p.m. and discovered to my great delight a big gap in the cirrus clouds with the Comet Lulin right in the middle. A 90-second exposure with my Canon Rebel XTi revealed the star cluster as well."

Next, Zubenel pointed his hand-ground 4.25" RFT (rich field telescope) at the gap. "Wow! What a sight it was seeing the bright green atmosphere of Comet Lulin in the same 3.5o field of view as the Beehive Cluster. Even in the bright moonlight, it was a good show."

UPDATED: Comet Lulin Photo Gallery
[Comet Hunter Telescope] [Sky maps: March 5, 6, 7]

MOON HALO ALERT: The Moon is brightening in the evening sky--and that means it's time to be alert for Moon halos. Stuart Heggie of Flesherton, Ontario, saw this one on Wednesday night, March 4th:

"It was intense," says Heggie. "The halo curving through the bright stars of Orion was stunning to see!"

Moon halos are formed by moonlight passing through ice crystals in high cirrus clouds. Generally speaking, bright Moons produce bright halos, and that's why the nights ahead are a good time to look. The Moon is waxing gibbous, producing plenty of light for icy March clouds to bend as shown.

more images: from Ken Scott of Suttons Bay, Michigan; from Abraham Tamas of Matrei, Austria; from Laurent Laveder of Quimper, Bretagne, France; from Rafael Schmall of Hungary, Somogy, Kaposfo; from Zoltan Goda of Baja, Hungary; from Martin Popek of Nydek, Czech Republic;

March 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Marches: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002]

Explore the Sunspot Cycle

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 6, 2009 there were 1035 potentially hazardous asteroids.
March 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 DS43
Mar. 1
6.9 LD
32 m
2009 DD45
Mar. 2
0.2 LD
35 m
2009 DN4
Mar. 3
8.1 LD
27 m
2009 EA
Mar. 4
7.4 LD
24 m
2009 EW
Mar. 6
0.9 LD
23 m
161989 Cacus
Mar. 7
70.5 LD
1.7 km
2009 EH1
Mar. 8
1.6 LD
12 m
2009 DV43
Mar. 10
8.5 LD
80 m
2009 EU
Mar. 11
3.5 LD
21 m
1998 OR2
Mar. 12
69.8 LD
3.3 km
2009 DR3
Mar. 14
7.2 LD
225 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 space weather bureau
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.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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