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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 492.7 km/sec
density: 0.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2025 UT Mar03
24-hr: A0
1525 UT Mar03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 03 Mar 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 01 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= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 1.9 nT
Bz: 0.9 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit:SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Mar 03 2203 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: 2008 Mar 03 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %

What's up in Space
March 3, 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: Earth is exiting a solar wind stream that sparked beautiful Northern Lights over the weekend: gallery. The display is subsiding, but another solar wind stream is en route. Sky watchers in Alaska, Canada and Scandinavia should be alert for more auroras when it arrives on or about March 6th.

PHOTO-OP: Comet 17P/Holmes is having a close encounter with the California Nebula. "This pale ghost of a comet makes the brilliant red of my home state's nebula seem that much more intense," says Richard Nolthenius of Bonny Doon, California, who photographed the pair on March 1st:

"On the evenings of March 7th and 8th, Holmes will pass just 'offshore of San Francisco' in the nebula," adds Doug Zubenel of Linn County, Kansas, who labels his own snapshot "California Dreaming." This will be a wonderful photo-op for astronomers with wide-field telescopes. The duo is easy to find; after sunset, just point your optics north at the constellation Perseus: sky map, ephemeris.

more images: from Jack Newton of the Arizona Sky Village; from Michael J├Ąger of Stixendorf, Austria

RING AROUND THE SUN: Ice in the sky: you know its there when a luminous ring forms around the Sun. William McMullen sends this picture from Ottawa, Ontario:

Photo details: Canon Rebel XT, ISO 200, 1/1000 sec

"The sky has been full of cirrus clouds the past few days, and we've seen lots of 22o sun halos," he says. "This one appeared in the early afternoon of Feb. 29th."

Cirrus clouds are fertile ground for this phenomenon. They are wispy enough to admit sunlight and icy enough to do something with it: Cirrus ice crystals reflect and refract sun beams, forming lovely rings, arcs and pillars. Such ice halos are even more common than rainbows. They can be seen on average twice a week in Europe and parts of the United States.

more images: from Tammy MacKenzie of Perth, Ontario, Canada; from Evelyn Lockwood of Frankfort, Kentucky; from Mike Lynch of Lexington, Kentucky; from Vincent Elder of Austin, Minnesota; from Michael French at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida; from Patrick Malriat of Doylestown, Pennsylvania;

Lunar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[Interactive World Map of Eclipse Photos]

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 3, 2008 there were 935 potentially hazardous asteroids.
March 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 DH5
Mar. 5
7.1 LD
60 m
1620 Geographos
Mar. 17
49 LD
3 km
2003 FY6
Mar. 21
6.3 LD
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, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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