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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 369.2 km/sec
density: 0.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Mar03
24-hr: A0
0810 UT Mar03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 03 Mar 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 01 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= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 9.0 nT
Bz: 1.9 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes:
A minor solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on or about March 3rd. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Mar 03 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 03 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
15 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
What's up in Space
March 3, 2009

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


AURORA WATCH: Sky watchers around the Arctic Circle should be alert for Northern Lights. A solar wind stream is heading for Earth, and NOAA forecasters estimate a 20% chance of high-latitude geomagnetic activity when it hits on March 3rd or 4th. [gallery]

SOLAR ACTIVITY: With no sunspots in sight, the face of the sun is blank and dull. The edge of the sun, on the other hand, is pretty lively. Peter Lawrence photographed the action on March 2nd from his backyard observatory in Selsey, UK:

"A lovely clear blue sky with the Sun shining brightly convinced me to take out my solar telescope and have a look at the Sun," says Lawrence. "It didn't disappoint. This lovely complex prominence was visible on the north-western limb, a superb sight to warm a chilly spring day."

According to SOHO, the prominence is still showing off today. Readers, if you have a solar telescope, take a look.

GONDOLA GLORY: On March 1st, skiing photographer Mike Conlan found himself suspended 1,500 feet in the air at the Whistler ski resort in British Columbia. "My friend Steph and I were riding the Peak2Peak gondola from Whistler to Blackcomb Mountain," he explains. "We looked down at the valley floor and noticed a beautiful corona in the clouds below us. The odd part was that it wasn't around the sun, but the shadow of our gondola!"

That's because it wasn't a corona--it was a glory.

Coronas are colorful rings around the Sun caused by water droplets in clouds. Sunlight is forward-scattered by the droplets, and the scattered light interferes with itself to produce the colors.

Glories are colorful rings opposite the Sun. They are also formed by water droplets in clouds. In this case, however, sunlight is back-scattered by the droplets. Because shadows converge on the anti-solar point, the center of a glory is usually punctured by the shadow of the photographer--or his gondola!

"It disappeared moments later as we moved past the clouds," says Conlan. "The sight was brief, but very beautiful."

more images: from Scott Sparrow of Pasadena, California; from Bob King of Duluth, Minnesota; from Mike Buchheit at Mohave Point, Grand Canyon National Park; from Jun Lao flying over Europe

Comet Lulin Photo Gallery
[Comet Hunter Telescope] [Sky maps: March 1, 2]

February 2009 Aurora Gallery
[Previous Februaries: 2008, 2007, 2006, 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 3, 2009 there were 1033 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
161989 Cacus
Mar. 7
70.5 LD
1.7 km
2009 DV43
Mar. 10
8.5 LD
80 m
1998 OR2
Mar. 12
69.8 LD
3.3 km
2009 DR3
Mar. 14
7.2 LD
225 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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