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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 381.0 km/sec
density: 4.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C3
1731 UT Mar04
24-hr: M2
1052 UT Mar04
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 04 Mar 12
Big sunspot 1429 poses a threat for strong M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 52
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 03 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 03 Mar 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 116 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 03 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= 4
unsettled
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.9 nT
Bz: 2.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2348 UT
Coronal Holes: 04 Mar 12
A solar wind stream flowing from this coronal hole could reach Earth on March 5-6. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Mar 04 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
60 %
60 %
CLASS X
15 %
15 %
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 04 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
30 %
MINOR
01 %
15 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
35 %
MINOR
10 %
25 %
SEVERE
01 %
15 %
 
Sunday, Mar. 4, 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

FLYING THROUGH A GEOMAGNETIC STORM: Lately, the International Space Station has been flying through geomagnetic storms, giving astronauts a close-up view of the aurora borealis just outside their windows. ISS Flight Engineer Don Pettit shares the experience in a new video from Science@NASA.

BIG SUNSPOT: A sunspot almost four times as wide as Earth itself is rotating onto the solar disk. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded its entrance on March 2nd and 3rd; click to view a 24-hour animation:

The sunspot has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for strong M-class solar flares. Indeed, it has already unleashed an M3-class eruption on March 2nd that created mild waves of ionization in the atmosphere over Europe.

Earth-effects could become stronger as the sunspot turns toward our planet in the days ahead. NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of additional M-class flares and a 5% chance of an X-flare during the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: text, phone.

more images: from Dennis Put of Brielle, The Netherlands; from Pavol Rapavy of Observatory Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia; from Maximilian Teodorescu of Bucharest, Romania; from Jim Werle of Henderson, Nevada;

LOOK, THEN TURN AROUND: Just after sunset, as the evening sky fades to blue, Venus and Jupiter emerge from the twilight arrestingly close together in the western sky. Martin McKenna photographed the pair last night above the moonlit ruins of Downhill Estate in Co. Derry, Northern Ireland:

"Venus and Jupiter looked so beautiful," says McKenna, "They were simply stunning!!"

The two bright planets are converging for a 3o close encounter on March 12-13 that NASA says could be physiologically mesmerizing. They are so bright, you can see them through city lights and even thin clouds.

Done looking? Turn around. Another planet, almost as bright and more beautifully colored can be found rising in the east. Mars is putting on a show of its own opposite Venus and Jupiter. The Red Planet is at its closest to Earth for all of 2012 on March 5th. It appears at sunset and soars overhead at midnight--an easy target for the naked eye and backyard telescopes alike. [sky map]

more images: from Vesa Vauhkonen of Rautalampi, Finland; from Monika Landy-Gyebnar at Lake Balaton, Hungary; from Rob Ratkowski of Haleakala summit, Maui; from Petr Horálek of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic;


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 4, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2012 DS32
Mar 1
1.9 LD
--
24 m
2012 DN31
Mar 1
8 LD
--
79 m
2012 DR32
Mar 2
8.7 LD
--
51 m
2012 EA
Mar 3
2.6 LD
--
18 m
2012 DU60
Mar 3
9.1 LD
--
37 m
2012 EM1
Mar 6
7.6 LD
--
21 m
2008 EJ85
Mar 6
9.1 LD
--
44 m
2012 DH54
Mar 10
3.3 LD
--
13 m
2012 DW60
Mar 12
2.5 LD
--
24 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
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
Trade Show Displays
   
  more links...
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