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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
SPACE WEATHER
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 578.6 km/sec
density: 1.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1920 UT Mar15
24-hr: A0
1920 UT Mar15
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 13 Mar 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 14 Mar 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
unsettled
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.8 nT
Bz: 1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no well-defined coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit:SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Mar 15 2203 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
01 %
01 %
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: 2008 Mar 15 2203 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
30 %
30 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
05 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
40 %
40 %
MINOR
10 %
10 %
SEVERE
05 %
05 %

What's up in Space
March 15, 2008
Where's Saturn? Is that a UFO--or the ISS? What's the name of that star? Get the answers from mySKY--a fun new astronomy helper from Meade.   mySKY

AURORA WATCH: For the eighth day in a row, a solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetic field and causing high-latitude geomagnetic storms. Sky watchers from Scandinavia to Alaska should remain alert for bright auroras: gallery.

SIGHTINGS: Space shuttle Endeavour has docked to the International Space Station (ISS) and together they are an impressive sight: Yesterday, "I watched them blaze across the predawn sky of Northern Ireland," reports Martin Mc Kenna who caught the pair in a 30-second exposure:

"I was very impressed by their brightness," he says.

A telescope trained on that bright and slowly moving light would have revealed something like this: photo. "Endeavour and ISS had just docked on March 13th when I took the picture," says Mark van der Hum of Naarden, The Netherlands. "I used a Meade LX200 10-inch telescope and a Nikon D80 camera. [The spacecraft showed up very nicely] in a 1/1000 second exposure."

More sightings are in the offing as Endeavor's mission to the ISS continues for another 12 days. Get your flyby alerts from Spaceweather PHONE.

CIRCLES: While we look up at the ISS, astronauts on board the space station are looking back--and taking pictures. Among a batch of March photos just beamed down to Earth are two eye-catching circles:

The shapes are similar, but their nature is oh-so different. On the left is the Manicouagan Crater, which formed about 200 million years ago when an asteroid barreled into northern Canada. The present day terrain, eroded by long years of weather and glaciers, supports a 70-kilometer diameter hydroelectric reservoir in the telltale form of an annular lake.

On the right is an atoll in the Gulf of Mexico not far offshore the resorts of Cancun. Unlike the Manicouagan Crater, an ancient marker of local extinction, the atoll is a sign of life. The island's coral boundary is formed by marine organisms that thrive in warm, nutrient-rich tropical waters. Climate change and pollution threaten the health of these important organisms; as the photo shows, the ISS is in a good position to monitor their well-being.

For more snapshots from space, visit NASA's Gateway to Astronaut Photography.

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. [comment]
On March 15, 2008 there were 944 potentially hazardous asteroids.
March 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2008 DH5
Mar. 5
7.1 LD
18
60 m
2008 EZ7
Mar. 9
0.4 LD
18
18 m
2008 ED8
Mar. 10
1.4 LD
12
64 m
2008 EF32
Mar. 10
0.2 LD
18
6 m
2008 EM68
Mar. 10
0.6 LD
18
12 m
1620 Geographos
Mar. 17
49 LD
13
3 km
2003 FY6
Mar. 21
6.3 LD
15
145 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 Links
NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
  The official U.S. government bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
Atmospheric Optics
  The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
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