You are viewing the page for Mar. 15, 2011
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 374.7 km/sec
density: 1.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
1735 UT Mar15
24-hr: M1
0022 UT Mar15
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 15 Mar 11
Sunspot 1166, the source of so many beautiful auroras, is about to rotate over the sun's western limb. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 51
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 14 Mar 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 1 day (1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 14 Mar 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 107 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 14 Mar 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 0
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.0 nT
Bz: 5.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 15 Mar 11
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated southern coronal hole. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Mar 15 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
30 %
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: 2011 Mar 15 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Tuesday, Mar. 15, 2011
What's up in space

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

Metallic pictures of the Sun

NO X-FLARE: Don't panic, there was no catastrophic X20-flare today. Earlier this morning, a hiccup on our web server caused some of the values under "current conditions" to go haywire. The most noticable error was a purported "X20+" solar flare. Such flares can occur, but not today. A reboot has solved the problem and reporting is back to normal. My apologies to readers who were confused or alarmed by the mix-up. Signed, Tony Phillips, webmaster of

SUNSET PLANETS: This week, sky watchers have a rare opportunity to see Mercury at its best as NASA's MESSENGER probe prepares to enter orbit around the innermost planet. Look west at sunset: Mercury pops out of the evening twilight alongside Jupiter for a fantastic sky show.

Peter Rosén caught the two planets hovering together over Stockholm, Sweden, at the end of the day on March 14th:

"Jupiter and Mercury were easy to spot in the twilight sky tonight," says Rosén. "Even Jupiter's moons Callisto, Ganymede and Europa can be seen in the full-sized image as tiny dots that follow the planet."

more sunset shots: from Charaf Chabou of Algiers, Algeria; from M. Raşid Tuğral of Ankara, Turkey; from Rosenberg Róbert of Adony, Hungary; from Thierry Demange of Erstein, Alsace, FRANCE; from Geir Øye of Ørsta, Norway; from Alan C Tough of Elgin, Moray, Scotland; from Peter Chappell of Swindon, Wiltshire, UK; from George Kristiansen of Lincolnshire, UK

ACTIVE SUNSPOT: Formerly quiet sunspot 1169 is suddenly crackling with M-class solar flares. Amateur astronomer Michael Buxton of Ocean Beach, California, was video-recording the region on March 14th at 1952 UT when it erupted:

"I captured this M4-class flare as it released its awesome power from AR1169," says Buxton. "It was a powerful blast."

It was not, however, geoeffective. NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft observed a bright coronal mass ejection (CME) emerging from the blast site, but the cloud is expected to sail wide-right of Earth. Because of the sunspot's location near the sun's western limb, future eruptions from AR1169 are likely to miss as well. NOAA forecasters say there is a 40% chance of more wayward M-flares during the next 24 hours.

OBSERVE THE SUN: Got a telescope? Turn it into a solar telescope. Safe and affordable solar filters are available at the Space Weather Store.

March 2011 Aurora Photo Gallery
[previous Marches: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002]

  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 15, 2011 there were 1204 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 EU20
Mar 11
1.6 LD
15 m
2011 EB74
Mar 16
0.9 LD
18 m
2011 EW74
Mar 20
9.9 LD
101 m
2011 BE38
Apr 10
48 LD
1.0 km
2002 DB4
Apr 15
62.5 LD
2.2 km
2008 UC202
Apr 27
8.9 LD
10 m
2009 UK20
May 2
8.6 LD
23 m
2008 FU6
May 5
75.5 LD
1.2 km
2003 YT1
May 5
65.3 LD
2.5 km
2002 JC
Jun 1
57.5 LD
1.6 km
2009 BD
Jun 2
0.9 LD
9 m
2002 JB9
Jun 11
71.5 LD
3.2 km
2001 VH75
Jun 12
42.2 LD
1.1 km
2004 LO2
Jun 15
9.9 LD
48 m
2001 QP181
Jul 2
35.1 LD
1.1 km
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 web 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 Dynamics Observatory
  Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
  the underlying science of space weather
Conquest Graphics
  for out-of-this-world printing and graphics
Science Central
  more links...
©2010 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
Spaceweather Flybys

©2019 All rights reserved.