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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: 539.4 km/sec
density: 0.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A6
1840 UT Mar29
24-hr: B3
0045 UT Mar29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Mar 08
All three of these old-cycle sunspots are beginning to decay. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 63
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 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= 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: 3.9 nT
Bz: 3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit:SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Mar 29 2203 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
05 %
05 %
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 29 2203 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
10 %
MINOR
10 %
05 %
SEVERE
05 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
25 %
15 %
MINOR
15 %
05 %
SEVERE
05 %
01 %
What's up in Space
March 29, 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

EARTH HOUR: Do you love starry skies? Would you like to help the environment? Tonight (March 29) at 8 p.m. local time, join millions of people around the world in turning off your lights for Earth Hour, an event created by the World Wildlife Fund. The best photos of urban skies during the event will be published on spaceweather.com: Submit your images.

JULES VERNE AND THE ISS: The European Space Agency's Jules Verne cargo carrier is maneuvering around the International Space Station this weekend and the two spacecraft are drawing very close together in the night sky. Maneuvers ending tonight will leave Jules Verne parked only 16 km from the ISS.

On March 28th Tom A. Warner photographed the pair flying over Rapid City, South Dakota; click on the image to play his movie:


Click to play the movie

"Jules Verne was following the ISS and quite a bit dimmer [but still easy to see]," he says. "The movie consists of nine 30-second exposures I made using a Nikon D300 set at ISO 400."

Jules Verne has never docked with the ISS before; the ongoing maneuvers are practice runs. A key date is March 31st when Jules Verne will will come within 11 meters of the station before backing away again. If all goes well, the cargo carrier will perform an actual, automated docking on April 3rd. European sky watchers can see these events with their own eyes as the two spacecraft fly over their continent in the evenings ahead. Check http://heavens-above.com for European flyby timetables.

more images: from Jirka Bulant of Orlov, the Czech Republic;

SUNSPOT SUNSET: Last Thursday evening, Mark Walters of Four Crosses, Wales, trained his Personal Solar Telescope on the western horizon--"I was hoping to catch the new sunspots before nightfall," he says--and took this dramatic photo:

"The sun was setting behind trees almost a mile away," he explains. "The branches look almost frosted compared to the furnace behind." In the photo, sunspots 987 and 988 are the light-and-dark blotches just above the treetops. These old-cycle spots are putting on a good show for amateur astronomers with solar telescopes--no trees required!

more images: from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Mark Sibole of Fife Lake Michigan; from Malcolm Park of London, England; from P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden; from Ching Yu of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; from Stephen Ames of Hodgenville, KY; from Javier Temprano of Santander, Spain; from Joel Bavais of Anvaing, Belgium; from Paul Haese of Blackwood, South Australia; from Masa Nakamura of Tochigi, Japan; from Matthias Juergens of Gnevsdorf, Germany; from Peter Garbett of Sharnbrook, UK; from Michael Buxton of Ocean Beach, CA; from Jan Timmermans of Valkenswaard, The Netherlands;


March 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-sky Cameras]

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 29, 2008 there were 943 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...
©2008, SpaceWeather.com -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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