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Solar wind
speed: 459.6 km/sec
density: 1.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2106 UT Mar23
24-hr: C5
0348 UT Mar23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 23 Mar 14
Sunspots AR2010and AR2014 have 'beta-gamma' magnetic fields that harbor energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 159
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 23 Mar 2014

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2014 total: 0 days (0%)
2013 total: 0 days (0%)
2012 total: 0 days (0%)
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)

23 Mar 2014

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 155 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 23 Mar 2014

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.8 nT
Bz: 2.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 23 Mar 14
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA. posts daily satellite images of noctilucent clouds (NLCs), which hover over Earth's poles at the edge of space. The data come from NASA's AIM spacecraft. The north polar "daisy" pictured below is a composite of near-realtime images from AIM assembled by researchers at the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP).
Noctilucent Clouds
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 02-28-2014 16:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2014 Mar 23 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
45 %
45 %
05 %
05 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2014 Mar 23 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
25 %
20 %
30 %
20 %
Sunday, Mar. 23, 2014
What's up in space

When is the best time to see auroras? Where is the best place to go? And how do you photograph them? These questions and more are answered in a new book, Northern Lights - a Guide, by Pal Brekke & Fredrik Broms.

Northern Lights - a Guide

SPACEWEATHER PAYLOAD RECOVERY: Last week, supported by, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched an experimental Rapid Response Space Weather Balloon to measure cosmic radiation in the stratosphere. On Sunday, March 23rd, a team will recover the payload from its landing site on a 11,000 ft mountain peak in the Inyos of central California. Stay tuned for updates and data.

LONG-DURATION FLARE: On March 23rd around 0330 UT, the magnetic canopy of sunspot AR2014 became unstable and erupted, producing a long-duration C-class solar flare. Although C-class flares are considered to be minor, this one lasted so long (several hours) that it unleashed the energy-equivalent of a much stronger flare. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the action:

Slow flares usually produce CMEs and this one was no exception. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) recorded a bright cloud emerging from the blast site: movie. The CME appears to have an Earth-directed component that could reach our planet in ~3 days. Stay tuned for updates. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

RED MARS, BLUE SPICA, BIG ASTEROIDS: Mars is approaching Earth for a close encounter in mid-April. As the two planets converge, the red color of Mars is becoming increasingly vivid to the naked eye. This is especially true because Mars is located not far from Spica, a blue-giant star of first magnitude in the constellation Virgo. Each evening when Mars and Spica rise side by side in the eastern sky, the red-blue contrast is eye-catching:

Astronomy professor Jimmy Westlake of Colorado Mountain College took the picture on March 20th, the first night of northern spring, and labeled it to show not only "ruddy Mars and icy-blue Spica," but also two nearby space rocks.

"This spring, Mars is looping through the stars of Virgo alongside the large asteroids Ceres and Vesta," explains Westlake. "All three reach opposition next month: Mars on April 8th, Vesta on April 13th, and Ceres on April 15th. Vesta, the nearer and more reflective of the two, appears about a magnitude brighter than Ceres. Both are within easy grasp of binoculars."

Look for Mars and Spica rising in the east after sunset, around 9 pm local time. A backyard telescope pointed at Mars will show you more than a red dot. Mars's north polar cap, surface features and clouds are being photographed by amateur astronomers around the world as the red planet grows larger in the eyepiece every night. Browse the gallery for examples:

Realtime Mars Photo Gallery

SPRING COLORS: For reasons not fully understood by researchers, equinoxes favor auroras. Around the start of northern spring, even small gusts of solar wind can spark bright lights in arctic skies. On March 21st, John Chumack captured an outburst of spring colors over Alaska:

Although solar wind conditions were quiet, "we saw absolutely amazing auroras for 30 minutes outside Fairbanks!" says Chumack. "I took over 450 photos as the lights danced and swayed. It got so bright at times, the snow turned green, red and purple, too."

The solar wind remains relatively calm, but at this time of year it doesn't take much to stir up the lights. NOAA forecasters estimate a 20% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on March 23rd. Aurora alerts: text, voice

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

  All Sky Fireball Network

Every night, a network of NASA all-sky cameras scans the skies above the United States for meteoritic fireballs. Automated software maintained by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth in Earth's atmosphere and many other characteristics. Daily results are presented here on

On Mar. 22, 2014, the network reported 2 fireballs.
(2 sporadics)

In this diagram of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point--Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]

  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 23, 2014 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2014 FZ
Mar 25
7.5 LD
18 m
2014 FD
Mar 25
4.5 LD
34 m
2003 QQ47
Mar 26
49.9 LD
1.4 km
1995 SA
Apr 2
73.1 LD
1.6 km
2000 HD24
Apr 4
42.2 LD
1.3 km
2007 HB15
Apr 28
6.7 LD
12 m
2010 JO33
May 17
4 LD
43 m
2005 UK1
May 20
36.7 LD
1.1 km
1997 WS22
May 21
47.1 LD
1.5 km
2002 JC
May 24
48.7 LD
1.4 km
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
Space Weather Alerts
  more links...
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