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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 552.4 km/sec
density: 3.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2255 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B7
2125 UT Mar26
24-hr: M2
1856 UT Mar25
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 26 Mar 08
Three new sunspots have appeared and they are growing rapidly. Although Solar Cycle 24 has begun, these are not Cycle 24 spots. Their magnetic polarity associates them with old Cycle 23. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 52
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 25 Mar 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals one possible sunspot on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 5 storm
24-hr max: Kp= 5
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.2 nT
Bz: 2.5 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2256 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on March 28th or 29th. Credit:SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Mar 26 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
50 %
50 %
05 %
05 %
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 26 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
25 %
15 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
30 %
20 %
15 %
15 %
10 %
What's up in Space
March 26, 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: High-latitude sky watchers, be alert for auroras tonight. A solar wind stream (not associated with yesterday's flare) has just hit Earth and it is causing polar geomagnetic storms.

SOLAR ACTIVITY ALERT: With little warning, three big sunspots have materialized and on March 25th one of them (989) unleashed an M2-class solar flare. This is the biggest flare of the year and it signals a significant increase in solar activity. "It's March Madness," says Greg Piepol who photographed the three sunspots from his backyard observatory in Rockville, Maryland:

LISTEN: During the M2-flare, radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft heard a curious "heaving sound" coming from the loudspeaker of his 21 MHz radio telescope in New Mexico: listen. "It was a Type II solar radio burst," he explains. The burst was generated by a shock wave at the leading edge of a CME produced by yesterday's explosion: movie.

NOAA forecasters estimate a 50% chance of more M-flares during the next 24 hours. Readers, if you have a solar telescope, now is a good time to monitor the sun.

more images: from David Thomas of Lynchburg, Virginia; from Paul Haese of Blackwood, South Australia; from Robert Arnold of Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Stephen Ames of Hodgenville, Kentucky; from Mike Strieber of Las Vegas, Nevada; from John Nassr of Baguio, Philippines; from Paul Maxson of Surprise, Arizona; from John Stetson of South Portland, Maine;

SIGHTINGS: The International Space Station and space shuttle Endeavour are circling Earth in tandem and they are putting on a good show for sky watchers who know when to look. "What a wonderful sight," says Dan Bush who sends this photo taken last night from Albany, Missouri:

"I couldn't believe how bright the ISS flared at one point," he says. "I used a Nikon D200 at ISO 400 for this 25 second exposure."

Endeavour is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday, March 26th, at 7:05 p.m. EDT and at that time the shuttle-ISS apparitions will come to an end. It may still be possible, however, to see two spaceships in the night sky. Shining like a 1st magnitude star, the ESA's Jules Verne cargo carrier is flying 2000 km or 4 minutes ahead of the ISS. The distance between the two spacecraft will shrink in the nights ahead as Jules Verne prepares to dock with the space station. Stay tuned for another eye-catching duo!

Worldwide Map of Shuttle Sightings
[Flyby Timetables] [Spaceweather PHONE]

more images: from Brian Klimowski of Flagstaff, Arizona; from Becky Ramotowski of Tijeras, New Mexico; from Robert Jeffers of Virginia Beach, Virginia; from Billy Teets of Dyer Observatory, Brentwood, TN; from Mike Prokosch of Huntsville, Texas; from Shannon Story of Weatherford, Texas; from Jeff Green of Nashville TN;

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 26, 2008 there were 943 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
2008 EF32
Mar. 10
0.2 LD
6 m
2008 EM68
Mar. 10
0.6 LD
12 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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