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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 492.8 km/sec
density: 0.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2336 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M7
1741 UT Mar13
24-hr: M7
1741 UT Mar13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 13 Mar 12
Sunspot 1429 is decaying as it turns away from Earth. The 'spot poses a declining threat for Earth-directed flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 89
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 12 Mar 2012

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2012 total: 0 days (0%)
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 12 Mar 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 115 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 12 Mar 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.5 nT
Bz: 2.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 13 Mar 12
A solar wind stream flowing from this coronal hole could reach Earth on March 17-18. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Mar 13 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
70 %
70 %
CLASS X
20 %
20 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2012 Mar 13 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
20 %
20 %
SEVERE
10 %
10 %
 
Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2012
What's up in space
 

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

 
Metallic pictures of the Sun

ANOTHER STRONG FLARE: So much for the decay of sunspot AR1429. The active region unleashed another strong flare on March 13th, an M7-class eruption that peaked around 1741 UT. A first-look image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory show's the flare's extreme ultraviolet flash. The blast accelerated energetic protons toward Earth and a solar radiation storm is now developing around our planet. Stay tuned for updates. Space weather alerts: text, phone.

VENUS-JUPITER CONJUNCTION: This is a great week to admire the sunset. Venus and Jupiter are side-by-side only 3o apart in the western sky, beaming through the twilight as soon as the sun goes down. Photographer Marek Nikodem of Szubin, Poland, recorded the scene at nightfall on March 12th:

"Venus and Jupiter are like two lanterns illuminating the darkness," says Nikodem. "It's a wonderful sight."

The two planets are closest together on March 12th and March 13th. Try to catch them before the sky fades completely black. Venus and Jupiter surrounded by twilight blue is a wonderful sight indeed.

more images: from Jimmy Westlake of Stagecoach, Colorado; from Peter Wine of Dayton, Ohio; from Laurent Laveder of Pluguffan, Brittany, France; from Rhiannon Palframan of Cookham Dean, Berkshire, UK; from John Cordiale of Edgecomb Pond, Bolton NY; from Ulf Jonsson of LuleƄ, Sweden; from Alexander Birkner of Eppelborn, Germany; from Diana Bodea of Ibiza, Spain; from Andrey A. Belkin of Moscow, Russia; from Vesa Vauhkonen of Rautalampi, Finland; from Mitchell Krog of Magaliesburg, South Africa; from Sven Melchert of Stuttgart, Germany; from Bob Northup of Studio City CA

BROKEN RECORD? The recent sustained activity of sunspot AR1429 has kept the Arctic Circle alight with auroras for almost two weeks. "I have spent many thousands of hours watching and photographing the Northern Lights," says aurora tour guide Chad Blakely of Abisko Sweden, "and I can honestly say that I have never seen the auroras this strong for so many days in a row." In a movie he made last night, March 12th, a green tornado of light swirls across Venus and Jupiter:

"We were all absolutely stunned by the natural beauty of this display," says Blakeley. "I know I sound like a broken record, but sunspot 1429 just will not stop!"

The Antarctic Circle has been similarly active. Click on the links for recent shots of Southern Lights: from Dave Headland of Oamaru, New Zealand; from Ian Stewart of Tinderbox, Tasmania, Australia; from Nick Monk of Mountain River, Tasmania, Australia; from John Golja of Tooradin, Victoria, Australia; from Stephen Voss of Invercargill, New Zealand; from Dave Headland of Oamaru, Southern New Zealand

WEEKEND SOLAR FLARE: Sunspot AR1429 erupted again over the weekend. On Saturday, March 10th, it produced a powerful M8-class flare that almost crossed the threshold into X-territory. During the flare, New Mexico amateur astronomer Thomas Ashcraft recorded a series of radio bursts at 21 and 28 MHz:


Dynamic spectrum courtesy Wes Greenman, Alachua County, Florida

The roaring sounds you just heard are caused by shock waves plowing through the sun's atmosphere in the aftermath of the explosion. "There is incredible complexity in the waveforms," notes Ashcraft. "This is a recording of one of the most turbulent events in all of Nature!"

more data: from the Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project in Atlanta, Georgia; from Eric Todd of Philadelphia, PA


February 2012 Aurora Gallery
[previous Februaries: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]

  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 13, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2012 DW60
Mar 12
2.5 LD
--
23 m
1999 RD32
Mar 14
57.9 LD
--
2.4 km
2011 YU62
Mar 16
73.4 LD
--
1.3 km
1996 SK
Apr 18
67.2 LD
--
1.6 km
2007 HV4
Apr 19
4.8 LD
--
8 m
2011 WV134
Apr 28
38.6 LD
--
1.8 km
1992 JD
May 2
9.5 LD
--
43 m
2010 KK37
May 19
2.3 LD
--
31 m
4183 Cuno
May 20
47.4 LD
--
5.7 km
2002 VX94
May 26
72.8 LD
--
1.1 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.
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
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  more links...
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