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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 403.1 km/sec
density: 4.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2341 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: no data
0000 UT 0
24-hr: no data
0000 UT 0
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: UT
Daily Sun: 22 Mar 12
Sunspot 1440 is crackling with C-class solar flares. Otherwise, the solar disk is mostly quiet. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 62
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 21 Mar 2012

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2012 total: 0 days (0%)
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 21 Mar 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 100 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 21 Mar 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.5 nT
Bz: 0.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2343 UT
Coronal Holes: 22 Mar 12
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Mar 22 2200 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: 2012 Mar 22 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
Thursday, Mar. 22, 2012
What's up in space

Listen to radar echoes from satellites and meteors, live on listener-supported Space Weather Radio.

Spaceweather Radio is on the air

MIDNIGHT ROCKET PLUMES: On Friday, March 23rd, between midnight and 3 am EDT, NASA plans a rapid-fire launch of five sounding rockets from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The rockets will deliver a chemical tracer to the upper reaches of Earth's atmosphere, forming milky white plumes that reveal high-speed winds at the edge of space. The display should be visible to the naked eye from coastal areas between South Carolina and New Jersey. [full story] [updates]

SPRING GREEN: Northern Lights continue to flicker around the Arctic Circle despite waning solar wind speeds. What's keeping them going? Answer: Equinoxes favor auroras. "I love March! We've seen auroras for four straight nights," says Einar Halvorsrud, who sends this picture from Alta, Norway:

"This short explosion of lights on March 21st lasted for about 8 minutes," says Halvorsrud. "It was a beautiful sight with auroras all over the sky, in every direction."

NOAA forecasters estimate a 15% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on March 22nd. Considering the season, however, a full-fledged storm might not be necessary. Stay tuned for auroras. Aurora alerts: text, phone.

more images: from Bernt Olsen of Simavika, Tromsø, Norway; from Frank Olsen of Sommarøy / Tromsø, Norway; from Arild Heitmann of Tennevik River, Troms, Norway; from B.Art Braafhart of Salla, Finnish-Lapland; from Einar Halvorsrud of Alta, Norway; from Nenne Åman of Arjeplog, northern Sweden; from Andy Keen of Inari, Finland; from B.Art Braafhart of Salla, Finnish-Lapland; from Dirk Obudzinski of Snowshoe Creek, Alaska;

MARS AND THE SUPERNOVA: "On March 18th, I photographed the planet Mars among the galaxies of Leo," reports amateur astronomer Oscar Martín Mesonero of Salamanca, Spain. "The next morning, I learned that a supernova exploded in the galaxy M95. I quickly checked the photos and there it was!" (continued below)

"Unwittingly, using my ED80, I had photographed a supernova of magnitude +13.5 only two days after its discovery," says Mesonero. "I never expected the night to bring so many wonderful things."

The rapidly brightening supernova is an easy target for mid-sized backyard telescopes equipped with CCD cameras--and it's easy to find only a degree south of Mars. Astrophotographers, now is your chance to catch a supernova in the act.

more images: from Martin Wagner of Sonnenbuehl-Genkingen, Germany; from Anthony Ayiomamitis of Athens, Greece; from Efrain Morales Rivera of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; from Zlatan Merakov of Smolyan, Bulgaria; from Jeff Donaldson of Enfield, NS Canada;

February 2012 Aurora Gallery
[previous Februaries: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 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 22, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 YU62
Mar 16
73.4 LD
1.3 km
2012 FM
Mar 18
8.2 LD
26 m
2012 EO8
Mar 21
3.6 LD
58 m
2012 EK5
Mar 22
5.8 LD
34 m
2012 EG5
Apr 1
0.6 LD
62 m
1996 SK
Apr 18
67.2 LD
1.6 km
2007 HV4
Apr 19
4.8 LD
8 m
2011 WV134
Apr 28
38.6 LD
1.6 km
1992 JD
May 2
9.5 LD
43 m
2010 KK37
May 19
2.3 LD
31 m
4183 Cuno
May 20
47.4 LD
5.7 km
2002 VX94
May 26
72.8 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
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
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