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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 651.7 km/sec
density: 1.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Mar12
24-hr: A4
0735 UT Mar12
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 12 Mar 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 12 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= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.6 nT
Bz: 2.6 nT north
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 12 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 12 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
25 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
30 %
10 %
10 %
04 %
04 %

What's up in Space
March 12, 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: A solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetic field and causing high-latitude geomagnetic storms. Sky watchers from Alaska to Scandinavia should be alert for auroras: gallery.

NIGHT LAUNCH: The latest space shuttle mission began Tuesday morning in unusual fashion--with a night launch. At 2:28 am Florida time, Endeavour roared off its launch pad at Kennedy Space Center and lit up the sky like an early sunrise:

Photo credit: "Martin" shooting from KSC's press site.

The ascent was so bright, people as far away as Massachusetts saw it. Chris Cook took this picture from Cape Cod, more than a thousand miles from the launch site. "I watched the show with some 10x50 binoculars," says Cook. "I could easily pick out the shuttle's main engines glowing. But what really caught me was the way it moved 'effortlessly' across the starry backdrop..... very cool!!"

more images: from Pam Winegar of Malabar, Florida; from Chuck Clevenstine of Titusville, Florida; from Edward Staples at the Kennedy Space Center;

UPSIDE DOWN WORLD: With the approach of northern spring, icicles are starting to melt. Find one, examine the tip, and behold--an upside down world:

Photographer Lois Reinert sends this picture and others from Tracy, Minnesota. "The water drop acts like a convex lens and inverts any scenery in the background. Images in these droplets are always fun to observe." But look quickly, because you know what happens next!

more images: from Iain Petrie of London, England

March 2008 Aurora Gallery
[aurora alerts] [night-sky cameras]

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 12, 2008 there were 941 potentially hazardous asteroids.
March 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 DH5
Mar. 5
7.1 LD
60 m
2008 EZ7
Mar. 9
0.4 LD
18 m
2008 ED8
Mar. 10
1.4 LD
64 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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