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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: 400.0 km/sec
density: 3.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A5
2055 UT Mar31
24-hr: A6
0810 UT Mar31
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 31 Mar. 10
Sunspot 1057 is in a state of slow decay. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 32
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 30 Mar 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 6 days (7%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 776 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 30 Mar 2010


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 83 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 30 Mar 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.8 nT
Bz: 0.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on April 5th or 6th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Mar 31 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: 2010 Mar 31 2201 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
01 %
01 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
01 %
01 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
March 31, 2010

NEW AND IMPROVED: Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a field-tested global satellite tracker. The Satellite Flybys app now works in all countries.

 

SUNSET PLANETS: The Solar System's innermost planets are about to put on a beautiful show. This week, Mercury is emerging from the glare of the sun and making a beeline for Venus. By week's end the two planets will be just 3o apart, a bright and eye-catching pair. Keep an eye on the sunset! Sky maps: April 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

AURORA WATCH: On March 27th, Dave Sundberg was flying a C-130 Hercules across northern Canada (between Yellowknife NWT and Baker Lake, Nunavut) when he looked out the window and saw this:

"The auroras were so bright, they were visible even with the cockpit storm lights on," he reports. "I darkened the cockpit, pulled out my Nikon D80 and snapped a few pictures."

Next week, dimming the lights might not be necessary. An even stronger display is expected on April 5th or 6th. That's when a solar wind stream flowing from a hole in the sun's atmosphere (a "coronal hole") is expected to hit Earth. High-latitude sky watchers--especially Canadian pilots--should be alert for auroras.

March Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Marches: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]

LENTICULAR LIGHTS: Yesterday, a storm in the Sierra Nevada mountains of central California decorated the sky with wind-sculpted lenticular clouds. When photographer Andrew Kirk stepped outside to observe, he got more than he bargained for:

"With a high wind warning posted for the area, lenticular clouds were no surprise," says Kirk. "But the beautiful iridescence late in the afternoon was a special gift." He positioned a local church between his camera and the sun to reduce the glare and highlight the phenomenon.

Iridescence is caused by sunlight diffracting through water droplets. Lenticular clouds are a good place for this to happen because the clouds are filled with tiny droplets of nearly uniform size--a combination that produces vivid pastel colors.

See? Wind isn't so bad, after all.

 
       
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 31, 2010 there were 1110 potentially hazardous asteroids.
March 2010 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2001 PT9
March 3
11.1 LD
15
305 m
4486 Mithra
March 12
73.5 LD
15
3.3 km
2001 FM129
March 13
44.1 LD
16
1.5 km
2010 FU9
March 18
1.5 LD
17
19 m
2010 EF43
March 18
5.0 LD
19
23 m
2010 FT
March 27
5.5 LD
20
33 m
2002 TE66
March 28
48.0 LD
15
940 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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