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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 562.3 km/sec
density: 1.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
2251 UT Mar12
24-hr: M1
0443 UT Mar12
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 12 Mar 11
Sunspot 1166 is breaking up, but it still has an unstable "beta-gamma-delta" magnetic field that harbors energy for X-flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 105
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 11 Mar 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 1 day (1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 11 Mar 2011


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 123 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 11 Mar 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 5
storm
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.2 nT
Bz: 0.6 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 12 Mar 11
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole is likely to brush past Earth's magnetic field on or about March 13th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Mar 12 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
50 %
50 %
CLASS X
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: 2011 Mar 12 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
15 %
MINOR
15 %
10 %
SEVERE
05 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
20 %
MINOR
15 %
15 %
SEVERE
10 %
10 %
 
Saturday, Mar. 12, 2011
What's up in space
 

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Satellite flybys

COINCIDENCES: Many readers have asked if this week's terrible earthquake in Japan was connected to the contemporaneous geomagnetic storms of March 10th and 11th. In short, no. There is no known, credible evidence of solar activity triggering earthquakes. Moreover, in the historical record, there are thousands of examples of geomagnetic storms without earthquakes, and similar numbers of earthquakes without geomagnetic storms. The two phenomena are not linked.

SUBSIDING STORMS: The geomagnetic storms of March 10th and 11th are subsiding. Earth's magnetic field began shaking on March 10th in response to a CME impact; the reverberations continued for more than 24 hours. In Sweden the auroras were so bright, they competed with campfires:

"When I was sitting next to the fire and had the Aurora dancing above me, I felt like it could have been 100 years ago," says photographer Peter Rosén in Sweden's Abisko National Park. "I wonder what people thought when they saw this phenomena in centuries past. Old stories say that the Sami people believed the Aurora was home for the spirits of the dead, and that we should show respect when the lights appeared."

They could appear again, soon. A solar wind stream is heading for Earth, due to arrive on March 12th or 13th. NOAA forecasters estimate a 35% chance of geomagnetic activity during the next 24 hours. Get your aurora alerts here!

UPDATED: March 2011 Aurora Photo Gallery
[previous Marches: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002]

X-FLARE: March 9th ended with a powerful solar flare. Earth-orbiting satellites detected an X1.5-class explosion from behemoth sunspot 1166 around 2323 UT. A movie from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows a bright flash of UV radiation plus some material being hurled away from the blast site:


Movie formats: 4 MB gif, 1.2 MB iPad, 0.3 MB iPhone

UPDATE (March 10 @ 1800 UT): Newly-arriving coronagraph data from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory show no bright CME emerging from this eruption. Some material was surely hurled in our direction, but probably not enough for significant Earth-effects.

After four years without any X-flares, the sun has produced two of the powerful blasts in less than one month: Feb. 15th and March 9th. This continues the recent trend of increasing solar activity, and shows that Solar Cycle 24 is heating up. NOAA forecasters estimate a 5% chance of more X-flares during the next 24 hours.

SOLAR FLARE ALERTS: Would you like a call when the next X-flare erupts? Sign up for Spaceweather PHONE.

  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 12, 2011 there were 1204 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2011 EY11
Mar 7
0.3 LD
--
9 m
2011 EM40
Mar 7
0.7 LD
--
12 m
2011 EL40
Mar 8
3.4 LD
--
23 m
2011 EC12
Mar 8
3.3 LD
--
30 m
2000 PN9
Mar 10
45.5 LD
--
2.6 km
2011 EU20
Mar 11
1.6 LD
--
15 m
2011 BE38
Apr 10
48 LD
--
1.0 km
2002 DB4
Apr 15
62.5 LD
--
2.2 km
2008 UC202
Apr 27
8.9 LD
--
10 m
2009 UK20
May 2
8.6 LD
--
23 m
2008 FU6
May 5
75.5 LD
--
1.2 km
2003 YT1
May 5
65.3 LD
--
2.5 km
2002 JC
Jun 1
57.5 LD
--
1.6 km
2009 BD
Jun 2
0.9 LD
--
9 m
2002 JB9
Jun 11
71.5 LD
--
3.2 km
2001 VH75
Jun 12
42.2 LD
--
1.1 km
2004 LO2
Jun 15
9.9 LD
--
48 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 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.
STEREO
  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
Heliophysics
  the underlying science of space weather
Conquest Graphics
  for out-of-this-world printing and graphics
Science Central
   
  more links...
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