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Solar wind
speed: 360.4 km/sec
density: 8.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1027 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C3
0656 UT Mar29
24-hr: C3
0656 UT Mar29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 1000 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Mar 15
Sunspot AR2305 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. However, the sunspot is quiet and solar activity remains low. Credit: SDO/HMI

Sunspot number: 82
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 29 Mar 2015

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2015 total: 0 days (0%)

2014 total: 1 day (<1%)
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%)

Updated 29 Mar 2015

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 146 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 29 Mar 2015

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/Ovation
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 9.1 nT
Bz: 0.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1028 UT
Coronal Holes: 29 Mar 15

A stream of solar wind flowing from this southern coronal hole should reach Earth on March 29-30. Credit: SDO/AIA.
Noctilucent Clouds The southern season for NLCs has come to an end. The last clouds were observed by NASA's AIM spacecraft on Feb. 20, 2015. Now attention shifts to the northern hemisphere, where the first clouds of 2015 should appear in mid-May.
Switch view: Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctic Penninsula, East Antarctica, Polar
Updated at: 02-28-2015 02:55:03
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2015 Mar 28 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
25 %
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: 2015 Mar 28 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
30 %
25 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
25 %
30 %
60 %
35 %
Sunday, Mar. 29, 2015
What's up in space

Come to Tromsø and share Marianne's passion for rural photography: invites you to experience "Heaven on Earth" with an aurora, fjord, fishing, whale watching, photography or sightseeing tour.

Chase the Light Tours

JUPITER AND THE MOON IN CONJUNCTION: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look up. The Moon and Jupiter are side by side, only about 5o apart in the constellation Cancer. Try to catch them before the evening sky fades to black. The conjunction framed by twilight blue is a beautiful sight. [photo gallery]

INCOMING SOLAR WIND: NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Sunday, March 29th, when a high-speed solar wind stream hits Earth's magnetic field. The source of the stream is a coronal hole on the sun:

Image credit: NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory

Coronal holes are places in the sun's atmosphere where the magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape. In the extreme UV image, above, curved lines trace the sun's magnetic field; arrows indicate the flow of gaseous material (solar wind) out of the deep-purple coronal hole.

Gas velocities in the stream could be as high as 700 km/s (1.6 million mph). When such a high-speed stream hits Earth, it is likely to spark bright polar auroras. Stay tuned for weekend lights. Aurora alerts: text, voice

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

QUIET WITH A CHANCE OF FLARES: Solar activity is low, but one sunspot could break the quiet: AR2305. The sunspot's dark core is larger than Earth and it has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Philippe Tosi sends this high-res image of AR2305 from his backyard oobservatory in Nîmes, France:

The clarity of the image is impressive. Note the granulation of the stellar surface surrounding the sunspot's dark cores. Those are Texas-sized bubbles of plasma rising and falling like water boiling on top of a hot stove. These granules are present even when sunspots are not. (You are now ready to take the solar granulation quiz.)

If AR2305 does erupt, the flare will surely be geoeffective because the sunspot is almost directly facing Earth. NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of M-class flares on March 29th. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE STRATOSPHERE? Lately, and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been launching a lot of Space Weather Bouys. The missions aim to solve a minor mystery in the stratosphere. On March 17th, a CME hit Earth's magnetic field, sparking the strongest geomagnetic storm of the current solar cycle. Shortly after the CME hit, ground-based neutron monitors measured a drop in cosmic rays. Here is an example from the monitoring station in Oulu, Finland:

This drop is called a "Forbush Decrease." It happens because the CME sweeps aside cosmic rays that normally surround Earth, causing radiation levels to drop. The Earth to Sky space weather ballooning program has measured two previous Forbush Decreases, on Sept 13th and Dec 21st, 2014. On both occasions, radiation levels in the stratosphere dropped in sync with neutron counts on the ground.

This time, however, was different. Instead of dropping, radiation in the stratosphere ticked upward. At least that is what the Space Weather Buoys are telling us. This particular buoy was launched on March 17th during the peak of the geomagnetic storm:

So far, the student team has launched balloons with radiation sensors on March 13th, March 17th, March 21st, and March 24th; and more launches in the offing. By sampling the response of the stratosphere to the great storm--both the initial impact and the rebound--they hope to unravel the puzzle. After a few more flights, the team will share the full data set with the public.

This is crowd-funded research. Every one of Earth to Sky's flights is sponsored by a private individual or company. In exchange for a $500 donation, sponsors can have their logo or favorite family photo transported to the edge of space. Readers, if you would like to contribute to the research, please contact Dr. Tony Phillips for details.

Realtime Eclipse Photo Gallery

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. 28, 2015, the network reported 10 fireballs.
(10 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 29, 2015 there were 1565 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2015 FN34
Mar 25
8 LD
20 m
2015 FL35
Mar 25
10.2 LD
60 m
2015 FX33
Mar 26
13.8 LD
29 m
2015 FC
Mar 26
2.9 LD
20 m
2014 YB35
Mar 27
11.6 LD
715 m
2015 FH37
Mar 27
8.9 LD
46 m
2015 FM118
Mar 28
0.9 LD
8 m
2015 FP
Mar 28
9.6 LD
40 m
2015 FF36
Mar 28
3.5 LD
22 m
2015 FT117
Mar 28
2.8 LD
9 m
2015 FW117
Apr 1
3.6 LD
116 m
2015 CW13
Apr 3
13.5 LD
109 m
2015 FN33
Apr 6
9.8 LD
25 m
2063 Bacchus
Apr 7
76 LD
1.6 km
2005 KA
Apr 12
13 LD
50 m
5381 Sekhmet
May 17
62.8 LD
2.1 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...

space weather alerts
©2010 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.

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