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Solar wind
speed: 444.5 km/sec
density: 1.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B9
2016 UT Mar15
24-hr: M1
0703 UT Mar15
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 15 Mar 13
Sunspot AR1696 has a beta-gamma magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 133
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 15 Mar 2013

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
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%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Update
15 Mar 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 123 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 15 Mar 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.1 nT
Bz: 2.9 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 15 Mar 13
Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole could reach Earth on March 19-20. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Mar 15 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
20 %
20 %
CLASS X
01 %
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: 2013 Mar 15 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
30 %
30 %
MINOR
20 %
35 %
SEVERE
05 %
20 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
05 %
MINOR
15 %
20 %
SEVERE
10 %
70 %
 
Friday, Mar. 15, 2013
What's up in space
 

Listen to radar echoes from satellites and meteors, live on listener-supported Space Weather Radio.

 
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AMAZING COMET PIX: NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft continues to beam back jaw-dropping photos of Comet Pan-STARRS, which has a beautifully structured tail. Some of the images show the comet dodging CMEs! Tune into the Twitter feed of comet expert Karl Battams for the latest images.

WILL THE SKY TURN GREEN ON ST. PATRICK'S DAY? A magnetic filament snaking around sunspot AR1692 erupted on March 15th at about 0600 UT. The slow explosion, which took hours to unfold, produced an M1-class solar flare and a bright CME. SOHO (the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) photographed the expanding cloud, which is heading directly toward Earth:

The CME left the sun traveling some 900 km/s (2 million mph). Three-dimensional computer models based on observations from SOHO and NASA's twin STEREO probes predict the CME will cross the void between sun and Earth in two days or less. NOAA forecasters estimate a 70% chance of polar geomagnetic storms when the cloud arrives on March 17th. This means the sky could turn green on St. Patrick's Day! High latitude (and possibly even middle latitude) sky watchers should be alert for auroras this weekend. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

THE MAGNITUDE OF COMET PAN-STARRS: "There seem to be a lot of pictures, but a shortage of magnitude estimates for Comet Pan-STARRS," says Richard Keen, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Colorado. "I saw it for the first time this evening, and got a magnitude estimate before the comet slipped behind a narrow cloud bank." Keen is an expert observer of astronomical brightness, especially that of lunar eclipses which he uses to study aerosols in the stratosphere. "The comet is magnitude +0.2 with a short, but bright vertical tail. It was quite visible to the unaided eye. After the [head of the comet] set behind the mountains, the tail was visible for two or three more minutes."

A growing number of observers say they can see the comet with their unaided eye. Here it is on March 14th at sunset over Valley Forge, PA:

"The comet looked fantastic through my 10x70 Fujinon binoculars, and it was barely visible to the naked eye," says photographer John Chumack. Note: "Barely visible" is an improvement over recent nights.

Visibility should continue to improve in the nights ahead as Pan-STARRS moves away from the sun. Keen's magnitude estimate of +0.2 means that the comet is approximately twice as bright as a first magnitude star. When it is framed by darker skies, it will really stand out. Tonight when the sun goes down, step outside, face west, and take a look: sky map.

More: NASA video, 3D orbit, ephemeris, light curves.

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery


Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery


Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]

  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 15, 2013 there were 1384 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2013 ES41
Mar 13
6.5 LD
21 m
2013 EA29
Mar 14
3.5 LD
20 m
2013 ED68
Mar 16
1.4 LD
11 m
2007 EO88
Mar 18
4.4 LD
23 m
1993 UC
Mar 20
49 LD
3.8 km
2013 ES11
Mar 22
6.3 LD
80 m
1997 AP10
Mar 28
45.9 LD
1.8 km
2013 EL89
Mar 29
4.6 LD
31 m
2010 GM23
Apr 13
3.9 LD
50 m
2005 NZ6
Apr 29
24.9 LD
1.3 km
2001 DQ8
Apr 30
74.3 LD
1.1 km
2004 BV102
May 25
69.9 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.
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
Space Weather Alerts
   
  more links...
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