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Space Weather Bureau
Science news and information about the Sun-Earth environment.


Solar Wind

velocity: 381.2 km/s
1.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2148 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
M1 2105 UT Mar20
24-hr: M1 1505 UT Mar20
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 20 Mar '01
Sunspot group 9373 has a beta-gamma magnetic field that may harbor energy for M-class solar flares.

Sunspot Number: 85
More about sunspots
Updated: 19 Mar 2001

Radio Meteor Rate
24 hr max:
70 per hr
Listen to the Meteor Radar!
Updated: 18 Mar 2001

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 18.2 nT
8.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2148 UT

Coronal Holes:

A tiny coronal hole crossing the center of the Sun's disk is spewing a solar wind stream that Earth may encounter later this week. Image credit: Yohkoh Soft X-ray Telescope.
More about coronal holes


Solar Flares: Probabilities for a medium-sized (M-class) or a major (X-class) solar flare during the next 24/48 hours are tabulated below.
Updated at 2001 Mar 20 2200 UT

FLARE 24 hr 48 hr
CLASS M 60 % 50 %
CLASS X 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 2001 Mar 20 2200 UT

24 hr 48 hr
ACTIVE 25 % 50 %
MINOR 05 % 10 %
SEVERE 01 % 05 %

High latitudes
24 hr 48 hr
ACTIVE 30 % 60 %
MINOR 10 % 15 %
SEVERE 05 % 05 %

What's Up in Space -- 20 Mar 2001
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GEOSTORM: The arrival of a coronal mass ejection on Monday (see below) triggered strong geomagnetic activity that has persisted for nearly 24 hours. A G3-category geomagnetic storm is in progress with no signs of abating. Storm conditions are lingering because the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) near Earth has developed a strong south-pointing component. South-pointing IMFs create a weak spot in Earth's protective magnetosphere that can allow solar wind gusts to penetrate.

Above: The Planetary K-index, a measure of global geomagnetic activity, reached 7 on March 20th. Sky watchers above geomagnetic latitude ~50 deg. should be alert for auroras. NOAA geomagnetic latitude maps: North America, Eurasia, South Africa & Australia, South America

IMPACT! An interplanetary shock wave buffeted Earth's magnetosphere Monday morning at 1100 UT. The disturbance was the leading edge of a coronal mass ejection (CME) that left the Sun on March 15th. [450 kb CME animation]

HERE COMES THE SUN: Coronagraphs on board the ESA-NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory spotted a faint full-halo coronal mass ejection (CME) on March 19th at 05:26 UT. The CME emerged just after a solar filament collapsed near the center of the Sun's visible disk. This CME is apparently Earth-directed and could arrive on March 22nd or 23rd.

MIR UPDATE: On March 20, 2001, the Russian Space Agency reports that space station Mir is 224.4 km above Earth and losing altitude at a rate of 3.5 km per day. Deorbiting maneuvers are currently slated to begin on March 23nd. [Full Story]


Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than ~100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs are on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are searching for and discovering new ones all the time.

On 20 Mar 2001 there were 291 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

The most recently discovered near-Earth asteroid is 2001 EC16, a ~150m-wide space rock spotted on March 15th by Eleanor Helin and colleagues using JPL's NEAT/MSSS 1.2-meter survey telescope in Hawaii. 2001 EC16 will pass approximately four lunar distances from Earth on March 23rd. [3D orbit][ephemeris]

Other upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters (Mar 1 - Apr 30)


 Date (UTC)

 Miss Distance
2000 PN9  2001-Mar-02 17:29

 0.0610 AU
1998 SF36  2001-Mar-29 18:37

 0.0383 AU
1986 PA  2001-Apr-03 01:06

 0.1465 AU
2000 EE104  2001-Apr-12 20:37

 0.0822 AU

  • TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE: On Jan. 9, 2001, the full Moon glided through Earth's copper-colored shadow. [gallery]
  • CHRISTMAS ECLIPSE: Sky watchers across North America enjoyed a partial solar eclipse on Christmas Day 2000 [gallery]
  • LEONIDS 2000: Observers around the globe enjoyed three predicted episodes of shooting stars. [gallery]

Feb. 21, 2001: Nature's Tiniest Space Junk -- Using an experimental radar at the Marshall Space Flight Center, scientists are monitoring tiny but hazardous meteoroids that swarm around our planet.

Feb. 15, 2001: The Sun Does a Flip -- NASA scientists who monitor the Sun say our star's enormous magnetic field is reversing -- a sure sign that solar maximum is here.

Jan. 25, 2001: Earth's Invisible Magnetic Tail -- NASA's IMAGE spacecraft, the first to enjoy a global view of the magnetosphere, spotted a curious plasma tail pointing from Earth toward the Sun.

Jan. 4, 2001: Earth at Perihelion -- On January 4, 2001, our planet made its annual closest approach to the Sun.

Dec. 29, 2000: Millennium Meteors -- North Americans will have a front-row seat for a brief but powerful meteor shower on January 3, 2001.

Dec. 28, 2000: Galileo Looks for Auroras on Ganymede -- NASA's durable Galileo spacecraft flew above the solar system's largest moon this morning in search of extraterrestrial "Northern Lights"

Dec. 22, 2000: Watching the Angry Sun -- Solar physicists are enjoying their best-ever look at a Solar Maximum thanks to NOAA and NASA satellites.


Caveat Emptor: Space weather forecasts that appear on this site are based in part on data from NASA and NOAA satellites and ground-monitoring stations. Predictions and explanations are formulated by Dr. Tony Phillips; they are not official statements of any government organ or guarantees of space weather activity. is sponsored in part by the American Red Cross.

Essential Web Links

NOAA Space Environment 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.

Solar and Heliospheric Observatory -- Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO. (European Mirror Site)

Daily Sunspot Summaries -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Current Solar Images --a gallery of up-to-date solar pictures from the National Solar Data Analysis Center at the Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Latest SOHO Coronagraph Images -- from the Naval Research Lab

The Latest Space Weather Values -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

List of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

Observable Comets -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

What is the Interplanetary Magnetic Field? -- A lucid answer from the University of Michigan.

Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from NASA's ACE spacecraft.

More Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory Proton Monitor.

Aurora Forecast --from the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute

Daily Solar Flare and Sunspot Data -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Lists of Coronal Mass Ejections -- from 1998 to 2001.

NOAA geomagnetic latitude maps: North America, Eurasia, South Africa & Australia, South America

Quarterly Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: January - March 2000 -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Quarterly Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: April - June 2000 -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Quarterly Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: July - Sept 2000 -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Quarterly Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: Oct. - Dec. 2000 -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

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