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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Science news and information about the Sun-Earth environment.


Solar Wind
speed: 362.4 km/s
2.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2255 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
B6 1655 UT Mar12
24-hr: C1 0905 UT Mar12
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 11 Mar '05

Sunspot 742 is still growing, but it does not yet pose a threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 59
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 11 Mar 2005

Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals no large sunspots on the far side of the Sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.3 nT
1.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2256 UT

Coronal Holes:

There are no big coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun today. Image credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope.


Solar Flares: Probabilities for a medium-sized (M-class) or a major (X-class) solar flare during the next 24/48 hours are tabulated below.
Updated at 2005 Mar 12 2200 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 05 % 05 %
CLASS X 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 2005 Mar 12 2200 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 20 % 25 %
MINOR 10 % 15 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 25 % 30 %
MINOR 20 % 25 %
SEVERE 05 % 05 %

What's Up in Space -- 12 Mar 2005
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SUNSET MERCURY: This weekend is the best time of the year to see the planet Mercury. It's easy: Step outside at sunset. Look west. Mercury is that bright "star" shining through the rosy glow of sunset: sky map.

Right: Mercury and the crescent moon side by side on March 11th. Credit: Kevin Cox of Hull, UK.

more images: from Jimmy Westlake at Yampa, Colorado; from Alan Tough of Scotland; from Vasilis Wooseas of Greece; from Guillaume Bertrand at Saint Laurent sur Sèvre in France; from Vincent Jacques of Menton on the French Riviera; from Michael J. Blackburn of Meridian, Idaho; from Timothy Cummings of Lakeland, Florida; from Lauri Kangas of Caledon, Ontario;

DOG STAR: Got Mercury? Now turn around and face southeast. There's an even brighter star there: Sirius. It pops out of the twilight sky long before blue fades to black. Sirius is the nose of Orion's dog, Canis Major.

Canis Major by Robert Frost

The great Overdog
That Heavenly beast
With a star in one eye
Gives a leap in the east.
He dances upright
All the way to the west
And never once drops
On his forefeet to rest.
I'm a poor underdog,
But tonight I will bark
With the great Overdog
That romps through the dark!

Prof. Jimmy Westlake, a fan of Robert Frost, took this stunning picture of Sirius rising over the mountains around Trout Lake, Colorado:

"What a thrill to see the Great Overdog poke his nose over the horizon!" says Westlake. "When Sirius suddenly appears, it's as if a miniature sun has risen, casting faint, flickering shadows over the snow. I captured the Great Overdog giving his 'leap in the east' on Saturday evening January 15, 2005. This photo is a 20 minute tripod-mounted exposure."

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 are on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.

On 12 Mar 2005 there were 672 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

Jan.-Feb. 2005 Earth-asteroid encounters


1998 DV9

Jan. 11

30 LD

2004 EW

Feb. 14

23 LD

2004 RF84

Feb. 27

23 LD

Notes: LD is a "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 Environment 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. See also Snow Crystals.

Solar and Heliospheric Observatory -- Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO. (European Mirror Site)

Daily Sunspot Summaries -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Current Solar Images --a gallery of up-to-date solar pictures from the National Solar Data Analysis Center at the Goddard Space Flight Center. See also the GOES-12 Solar X-ray Imager.

Recent Solar Events -- a nice summary of current solar conditions from

SOHO Farside Images of the Sun from SWAN and MDI.

The Latest SOHO Coronagraph Images -- from the Naval Research Lab

The Sun from Earth -- daily images of our star from the Big Bear Solar Observatory

List of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

Observable Comets -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

What is the Interplanetary Magnetic Field? -- A lucid answer from the University of Michigan. See also the Anatomy of Earth's Magnetosphere.

Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from NASA's ACE spacecraft. How powerful are solar wind gusts? Read this story from Science@NASA.

More Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory Proton Monitor.

Aurora Forecast --from the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute

Daily Solar Flare and Sunspot Data -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Lists of Coronal Mass Ejections -- from 1998 to 2001

What is an Iridium flare? See also Photographing Satellites by Brian Webb.

Vandenberg AFB missile launch schedule.

What is an Astronomical Unit, or AU?

Mirages: Mirages in Finland; An Introduction to Mirages;

NOAA Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: 1999; 2000; 2001; 2002; 2003; Jan-Mar., 2004;

Space Audio Streams: (University of Florida) 20 MHz radio emissions from Jupiter: #1, #2, #3, #4; (NASA/Marshall) INSPIRE: #1; (Stan Nelson of Roswell, New Mexico) meteor radar: #1, #2;

Recent International Astronomical Union Circulars


This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips: email

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