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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 437.0 km/sec
density: 2.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Mar29
24-hr: A0
0630 UT Mar29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Mar 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI

more images: from Larry Alvarez of Flower Mound, Texas
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 28 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= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.4 nT
Bz: 0.1 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Mar 29 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
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 29 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
March 29, 2009

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


SOLAR ACTIVITY: With no sunspots to break the monotony, the face of the sun has been blank and quiet for nearly a month. The edge of the sun is another matter. "The solar limb has been pretty busy lately," reports Alan Friedman of Buffalo, New York. "Today I photographed several beautiful prominences, and one of them looks like a tidal wave." Readers, if you have a solar telescope, point it at the limb; that's where the action is.

more images: from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Franck Charlier of Marines, Val d'Oise - France; from Mike Strieber of Las Vegas, Nevada; from Robert Arnold of Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Monty Leventhal of Sydney Australia; from Sylvain Weiller of Saint Rémy lès Chevreuse, France; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany

VOLCANIC CLOUDS: Alaska's Mt. Redoubt volcano has erupted no fewer than 19 times since March 22nd, and several of the larger blasts have hurled plumes of ash and gas into the lower stratosphere. The GOME-2 (Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment) sensor onboard Europe's MetOp-A satellite has been tracking Redoubt's sulfur dioxide emissions, colored red in this March 26th SO2 column density map:

Click to view a full-sized animation with labels

The animation begins on March 25th and ends on the 28th. One cloud has just crossed North America en route to the Atlantic Ocean and Europe. A second cloud is leaving Alaska on the same east-west track. The last time an Alaskan volcano blew its top (Kasatochi in 2008), clouds like these caused fantastic sunsets around the northern hemisphere. More could be in the offing. If you live along the SO2 ground track, keep an eye on the twilight sky for signs of Redoubt--and stay tuned for updates.

CRESCENT MOON ALERT: Tonight, when the sun goes down, step outside and look west. You might see something like this:

P-M Hedén took the picture just a few hours ago from Vallentuna, Sweden. "The lovely crescent Moon with Earthshine is always so beautiful! I recorded the scene using my Canon 450D."

more images: from Chris Kotsiopoulos of Athens, Greece; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from Mike O'Leary of El Cajon, California; from Elias Chasiotis of Markopoulo, Greece; from Kevin Jung of Grand Rapids, Michigan; from Erkki Rauhala of Uurainen, Finland; from Steven Janowiecki of Kitt Peak National Observatory; from Mania Rahban of Isfahan, Iran; from Luca Basili of Rome - Italy; from Amir H. Abolfath of Dizin, Tehran, Iran; from Ulrich C. Beinert in an airplane flying over Dresden, Germany; from Christopher Calubaquib of El Sobrante, California; from Louis Suarato of Albany, NY; from Michael Boschat of Halifax, Nova Scotia ;

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

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 29, 2009 there were 1048 potentially hazardous asteroids.
March 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 DS43
Mar. 1
6.9 LD
32 m
2009 DD45
Mar. 2
0.2 LD
35 m
2009 DN4
Mar. 3
8.1 LD
27 m
2009 EA
Mar. 4
7.4 LD
24 m
2009 EW
Mar. 6
0.9 LD
23 m
161989 Cacus
Mar. 7
70.5 LD
1.7 km
2009 EH1
Mar. 8
1.6 LD
12 m
2009 ET
Mar. 9
9.5 LD
15 m
2009 DV43
Mar. 10
8.5 LD
80 m
2009 EU
Mar. 11
3.5 LD
21 m
1998 OR2
Mar. 12
69.8 LD
3.3 km
2009 DR3
Mar. 14
7.2 LD
225 m
2009 FR
Mar. 16
6.7 LD
22 m
2009 FJ
Mar. 16
4.9 LD
46 m
2009 FW4
Mar. 17
2.8 LD
53 m
2009 FH
Mar. 18
0.2 LD
21 m
2009 FK
Mar. 19
1.0 LD
9 m
2009 DO111
Mar. 20
1.2 LD
117 m
2009 FX4
Mar. 23
6.1 LD
37 m
2009 FD
Mar. 27
1.6 LD
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.
  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...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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