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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 545.0 km/sec
density: 1.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2217 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M4
1952 UT Mar14
24-hr: M4
1952 UT Mar14
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 14 Mar 11
Sunspot 1166, the source of so many beautiful auroras, is about to rotate over the sun's western limb. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 64
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 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 13 Mar 2011


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 113 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 13 Mar 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.3 nT
Bz: 3.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2219 UT
Coronal Holes: 14 Mar 11
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Mar 14 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
40 %
20 %
CLASS X
05 %
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: 2011 Mar 14 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Monday, Mar. 14, 2011
What's up in space
 

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Satellite flybys

HAPPY PI DAY: March 14th (3.14) is day and all around the world mathematicians are celebrating this compelling and mysterious constant of Nature. Pi appears in equations describing the orbits of planets, the colors of auroras, the structure of DNA. It's everywhere.

Humans have been struggling to calculate for thousands of years. Divide the circumference of a circle by its diameter; the ratio is . Sounds simple, but the devil is in the digits. While the value of is finite (a smidgen more than 3), the decimal number is infinitely long:

3.1415926535897932384626433832795
02884197169399375105820974944592307
81640628620899862803482534211706...more

Supercomputers have succeeded in calculating more than 2700 billion digits and they're still crunching. The weirdest way to compute : throw needles at a table or frozen hot dogs on the floor. Party time!

SUNSET PLANETS: When the sun sets tonight, go outside and look west. Jupiter and Mercury are beaming through the twilight:

Pete Lawrence took the picture on March 13th from Selsey UK. The largest and smallest planets in the Solar System were in conjunction in the evening twilight. It was a glorious sight."

Jupiter and Mercury will be on display all week. Tuesday, March 14th, and Wednesday, March 15th, are the best evenings to look as the two worlds converge to a scant separation of about 2o. Keep an eye on the sunset!

more images: from Tavi Greiner of Shallotte, NC; from Pete Glastonbury of Devizes, Wiltshire, UK

CAUTIONARY TALE: This week marks t he 22nd anniversary of the Quebec Blackout. On March 13, 1989, a geomagnetic storm brought down Hydro-Québec's power grid and blacked out the entire province. Brownouts and other power irregularities were experienced across much of North America. Today's "smart power grids" are even more vulnerable because they are interconnected by high voltage lines spanning thousands of miles. In good times, this arrangement allows ultilities to guide power wherever it might be needed. During geomagnetic storms, however, it spreads the danger of a blackout far and wide. What we need is a Solar Shield.

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 phenomenon 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 new solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetic field today, and NOAA forecasters estimate a 10% chance of severe geomagnetic storms. Get your aurora alerts here!

March 2011 Aurora Photo Gallery
[previous Marches: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 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 14, 2011 there were 1204 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
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
2001 QP181
Jul 2
35.1 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
Conquest Graphics
  for out-of-this-world printing and graphics
Science Central
   
  more links...
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