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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: 404.7 km/sec
density: 1.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Mar21
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Mar21
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 21 Mar 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 21 Mar. 2009
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= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
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: 7.6 nT
Bz: 6.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Mar 21 2201 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: 2009 Mar 21 2201 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
10 %
10 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
March 21, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you sleep through the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.

 

ASTEROID FLYBY: On March 20th, asteroid 2009 DO111 flew past Earth about 288,000 miles away--just beyond the orbit of the Moon. About the size of a football field, the dangerous space rock was visible in backyard telescopes as it raced through the constellation Cassiopeia shining like a 13th magnitude star. March has been a busy month for flybys with at least nine asteroids passing within a million miles of Earth. Stay tuned for more.

images: from David Strange of Branscombe, Devon, UK; from Mathew Marulla of Nashua, New Hampshire; from Ernesto Guido & Giovanni Sostero of Italy;

ISS GETS NEW WINGS: The International Space Station's solar arrays are the largest deployable space assemblies ever built. Yesterday, astronauts unfurled a pair on the starboard side of the outpost, adding enough power to double the size of the station's future crew. Amateur astronomers are already noticing a change in the station's profile:

Ralf Vandebergh took the picture from his backyard observatory in the Netherlands. "As the ISS flew overhead, I manually tracked it using my 10-inch Newtonian reflector. Note the shuttle with its payload bay doors open. The Canadian robotic arm, which helped install the arrays, is also visible."

Dirk Ewers of Germany also photographed the new wings. "I caught them only one hour deployment," he says. "It is a great addition to the station - not only for the power, but also for viewers on Earth." The movie he made using a 5-inch telescope is a must-see. (DivX required.)

more images: from Martin Wagner of Sonnenbuehl, Germany; from Rob Carew of Melbourne Australia; from Mike Tyrrell of Northwich, Cheshire, UK; from Dave Gallant of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada;

NEAR THE EDGE OF THE SUN: Imagine looking up at noon and seeing a planet with four moons just 0.1o from the edge of the blinding sun. Impossible? NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft did it this week. Click on the image below to launch a movie of Jupiter and the Galilean satellites in close "solar conjunction."


5 MB Quicktime movie | labeled still frame | Zoom in on Jupiter

During the 30-hour movie, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto circle Jupiter as a massive CME billows overhead. STEREO-B recorded the action on March 15th and 16th using an occulting disk to block the solar glare. This arrangment allowed STEREO's cameras to photograph moons of Jupiter eight thousand billion (8x1012) times dimmer than the adjacent sun.

STEREO's coronagraph (occulting disk+camera) is designed to monitor faint but powerful activity in the sun's outer atmosphere. The CME is a good example. With a limiting magnitude of +6.5, it can also see stars, planets, moons and comets so close to the edge of the sun, it seems impossible. In fact, it happens all the time. Browse the STEREO gallery for examples.


March 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Marches: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002]


Comet Lulin Photo Gallery
[Comet Hunter Telescope: review] [Comet Lulin finder chart]


Explore the Sunspot Cycle

       
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 21, 2009 there were 1046 potentially hazardous asteroids.
March 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2009 DS43
Mar. 1
6.9 LD
18
32 m
2009 DD45
Mar. 2
0.2 LD
11
35 m
2009 DN4
Mar. 3
8.1 LD
21
27 m
2009 EA
Mar. 4
7.4 LD
19
24 m
2009 EW
Mar. 6
0.9 LD
16
23 m
161989 Cacus
Mar. 7
70.5 LD
16
1.7 km
2009 EH1
Mar. 8
1.6 LD
18
12 m
2009 ET
Mar. 9
9.5 LD
21
15 m
2009 DV43
Mar. 10
8.5 LD
18
80 m
2009 EU
Mar. 11
3.5 LD
18
21 m
1998 OR2
Mar. 12
69.8 LD
14
3.3 km
2009 DR3
Mar. 14
7.2 LD
16
225 m
2009 FR
Mar. 16
6.7 LD
19
22 m
2009 FJ
Mar. 16
4.9 LD
17
46 m
2009 FW4
Mar. 17
2.8 LD
16
53 m
2009 FH
Mar. 18
0.2 LD
14
21 m
2009 FK
Mar. 19
1.0 LD
17
9 m
2009 DO111
Mar. 20
1.2 LD
13
117 m
2009 FX4
Mar. 23
6.1 LD
19
37 m
2009 FD
Mar. 27
1.6 LD
13
160 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 space weather bureau
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.
STEREO
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
   
  more links...
   
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