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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 412.0 km/sec
density: 1.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Mar08
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Mar08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 08 Mar 09
Sunspot 1014 has faded away leaving the sun blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 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= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.0 nT
Bz: 0.3 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should arrive on March 11th or 12th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Mar 08 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 08 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 8, 2009

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


AURORA WATCH: Arctic sky watchers should be alert for Northern Lights next Wednesday and Thursday. A solar wind stream is heading for Earth and it could spark high-latitude geomagnetic storms when it arrives on March 11th or 12th. [gallery]

SATURN AT OPPOSITION: This is the weekend of Saturn. On Sunday, March 8th, the ringed planet will be at its closest to Earth for the entire year, and a marvelous sight through small telescopes. Christopher Go of Cebu City, Philippines, sends this photo he took last night using an 11-inch Celestron:

"Look at the rings. They are becoming very bright," points out Go.

He's right. The rings are experiencing the opposition effect. When Saturn is close to Earth, it is also directly opposite the sun: diagram. From our point of view on Earth, sunlight shines directly down on the rings. Ring particles hide their own shadows, producing a surge of reflected brightness.

"This phenomenon will peak on opposition night, March 8," says Go. "For contrasting images from recent weeks, please check my web site.

Finding Saturn: The planet rises in the east at sunset and soars almost overhead at midnight. Look for the bright, golden "star" in the constellation Leo: sky map.

VENUS IN A SNOWSTORM: Fill in the blank. Venus is so bright, it _______.

"Can be seen through a snowstorm," says Wade B. Clark, Jr. of Lyman, Washington. "Here is a photo taken from my back door while snow fell during twilight on March 7th."

Seeing the planet under such conditions was "truly a delightful surprise," says Clark.

More answers: "Can be seen reflected in water," says Dale Ireland of Silverdale, Washington. "Can be seen in Northern Lights," says Sylvain Serre of Salluit, Canada. "Can be seen through clouds," says Gonzalo Vargas of Cochabamba, Bolivia. "Can be seen in broad daylight," says Denis Joye of Boulogne, France. "Can be seen through clouds in broad daylight," says Piotr Majewski of Torun, Poland.

Is that all? Submit your images here.

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

Comet Lulin Photo Gallery
[Comet Hunter Telescope] [Sky maps: March 8]

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 8, 2009 there were 1037 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
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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