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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 515.7 km/sec
density: 1.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2341 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B3
2040 UT Mar11
24-hr: B3
2040 UT Mar11
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 11 Mar. 10
New sunspot 1054 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Another new sunspot may be emerging at the circled location. This is a magnetic map of the sun, temporarily standing in for the usual white-light image. Credit: SOHO
Sunspot number: 12
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 10 Mar 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 6 days (9%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 776 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 10 Mar 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 80 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 10 Mar 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.7 nT
Bz: 0.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Mar 11 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
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: 2010 Mar 11 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
10 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
March 11, 2010

NEW AND IMPROVED: Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a field-tested global satellite tracker. The Satellite Flybys app now works in all countries.


CHILEAN QUAKE SHIFTS EARTH'S AXIS: Widespread press reports have noted that February's Chilean earthquake might have shortened Earth's day by a small amount. Today's story from Science@NASA explores a more significant effect---how the quake might have shifted Earth's axis.

SPACE STATION MOVIE: Last month, astronauts added a new room to the space station--a cupola with seven windows and a breathtaking panoramic view. Members of the crew say they enjoy spending their spare time floating among the glass looking at the Earth below. Last night, someone on Earth was looking back. Dirk Ewers photographed the ISS as it flew over his backyard in Hofgeismar, Germany. The cupola is circled:

Click to launch a 3 MB movie (DivX required)

Ewers obtained the crystal-clear view using only a 5-inch refracting telescope. "I was lucky to have clear skies and good seeing," he says. For five minutes, he tracked the bright spaceship across the sky and his movie of the entire transit is a must-see.

This week the space station is making a series of bright passes over Europe. Next week the apparitions shift to North America. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker or your iPhone for flybys. You might just lock eyes with an astronaut.

more images: from Martin McKenna of Maghera, Co. Derry, N. Ireland; from Martin Popek of Nýdek, Czech republic; from Martin Hahn of Dresden, Germany; from James Burke of Sligo, Ireland; from Pawel Warchal of Krakow, Poland; from Enrico Finotto of Health of Livenza (VE) Italy

IDITAROD SKIES: This week, hundreds of the world's finest athletes are racing 1,150+ miles across some of most extreme and beautiful terrain in the world--the Iditarod trail of Alaska. If any of those sled dogs raise their blue eyes to the sky, they might see something like this:

Daryl Peterson took the picture on March 21, 2009. "I went to Nome last year to shoot the finish of the Iditarod," he recalls. "During the race you can almost bank on seeing some Northern Lights, even when solar activity is low."

He's right. On average, March is the most geomagnetically active month of the year; October is a close second (histogram). The reason is not fully understood, but it has something to do with the orientation of Earth's axes and the sun's magnetic field around the time of the equinoxes. The Iditarod takes place smack-dog in the middle of aurora season.

Now, if only huskies could operate a camera....

March Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Marches: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]

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 11, 2010 there were 1106 potentially hazardous asteroids.
March 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2001 PT9
March 3
11.1 LD
305 m
4486 Mithra
March 12
73.5 LD
3.3 km
2001 FM129
March 13
44.1 LD
1.5 km
2002 TE66
March 28
48.0 LD
940 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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