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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 292.0 km/sec
density: 3.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2330 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
1735 UT Mar07
24-hr: X5
0028 UT Mar07
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 07 Mar 12
Big sunspot 1429 poses a continued threat for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 109
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 06 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 06 Mar 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 138 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 06 Mar 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 6
storm
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 9.7 nT
Bz: 9.6 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 07 Mar 12
A solar wind stream flowing from this coronal hole could reach Earth as early as March 8-9. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Mar 07 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
85 %
85 %
CLASS X
40 %
40 %
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 07 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
20 %
MINOR
40 %
40 %
SEVERE
45 %
30 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
25 %
MINOR
10 %
35 %
SEVERE
85 %
25 %
 
Wednesday, Mar. 7, 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

GEOMAGNETIC STORM UPDATE: A CME propelled toward Earth by this morning's X5-class solar flare is expected to reach our planet on March 8th at 0625 UT (+/- 7 hr). Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, who prepared the CME's forecast track, say the impact could spark a strong-to-severe geomagnetic storm. Sky watchers at all latitudes should be alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text, phone.

A mild geomagnetic storm is already underway, following a lesser CME impact on March 7th around 0400 UT. Shortly after the cloud arrived, a burst of Northern Lights appeared over the US-Canadian border. Shawn Malone photographed the display from the shores of Lake Superior:

"I was lucky to catch this brilliant outburst of aurora activity that was very active for close to an hour," says Malone, who has also made a time-lapse video of the display. "The aurora had no problem shining through the moonlit skies."

more images: from Eric Frigon of Banff National Park , Alberta, Canada; from John Welling of Ashland,Wisconsin; from Justin Phillips of New Auburn, Wisconsin; from Truls Tiller of Tromsø, Norway; from Stephen Voss of Sandy Point, New Zealand; from Olivier Du Tré of Cochrane, Alberta; from Manu Keggenhoff of Jake's Corner, Yukon, Canada; from Ed Stockard of Sun Mt Lodge, Methow Valley, Washington

MAJOR SOLAR FLARE (UPDATED): Big sunspot AR1429 has unleashed another major flare. This one is the strongest yet, an X5-class eruption on March 7th at 00:28 UT. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme UV flash:

This eruption hurled a bright CME into space, shown here in a movie from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab estimate that the CME will reach Earth on March 8th at 0625 UT (+/- 7 hr), possibly triggering a strong-to-extreme geomagnetic storm. An animated forecast track shows the progression of the fast-moving cloud.

The flare also accelerated energetic protons toward Earth, triggering an S3-class solar radiation storm, in progress. Such a storm is mainly a nuisance to satellites, causing occasional reboots of onboard computers and adding noise to imaging systems. Solar flare alerts: text, phone.

THE MOON AND MARS: This week, Mars is at its closest to Earth for all of 2012. The Red Planet is easy to find: On March 7th it's right beside the full Moon. Go outside after sunset and look for the Moon and Mars rising together in the east. [sky map]

Last night in Cobourg, Ontario, photographer Malcolm Park caught the Moon and Mars converging:

"[High clouds] created this lovely view from my back yard of an ice halo around the moon, with Mars inside punctuated by a high altitude contrail," says Park.

more images: from Gregg Alliss of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; from Luigi Fiorentino of Bari, Italy; from Heiko Ulbricht of Freital, Saxony, Germany; from Mihail of Yaroslavl, Russia; from Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project of Atlanta, GA


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 7, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
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
--
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
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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