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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 341.3 km/sec
density: 8.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B3
2249 UT Mar26
24-hr: C1
0643 UT Mar26
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 26 Mar 12
None of these sunspots pose a threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 84
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 25 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 25 Mar 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 101 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 25 Mar 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.1 nT
Bz: 3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 26 Mar 12
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth at the end of March. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Mar 26 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
40 %
05 %
10 %
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 26 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
35 %
01 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
15 %
30 %
05 %
45 %
Monday, Mar. 26, 2012
What's up in space

Can you drop a probe on a comet? A new iPhone game from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory puts you in control of the Rosetta spacecraft as it prepares to intercept Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Download it now.

Comet Quest for iOS

MIDNIGHT ROCKET PLUMES: On Tuesday, March 27th, between midnight and 5 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]

CELESTIAL TRIANGLE: They're at it again. Venus, Jupiter and the crescent Moon are in conjunction, forming a bright triangle in the sunset sky. On Sunday evening, March 25th, Alexandre Croisier photographed the trio from the Pointe of Dinan in Brittany, France:

"They are easy to see with the naked eye," says Croisier, "and they look great through a telescope, too."

The triangle will appear again on Monday evening, March 26th, although the vertices will be shifted as the Moon glides from Jupiter to Venus. Observing tip: Look before the sky fades completely black. Bright planets are extra-beautiful when they are framed by twilight blue. Sky maps: March 25, March 26.

more images: from Petr Horálek at Lichnice castle, Podhradi, Czech republic; from Sylvain Weiller of Saint Rémy lès Chevreuse, France; from M. Raşid Tuğral of Eymir Gölü, Ankara, Turkiye; from Piotr Potepa of Torun, Poland; from Martin McKenna of White Park Bay Beach, Antrim Coast, N. Ireland; from Stefano De Rosa of Turin (Italy); from P-M Hedén of Waldemars Cape, Stockholm Sweden; from Monika Landy-Gyebnar of Paloznak, Hungary; from Roger Schneider of Brugg Switzerland; from Szymon Seweryn of Cracow, Poland; from Alan C Tough of Elgin, Moray, Scotland; from Christophe Stolz of Köniz, Switzerland; from Stephan Brügger of Lübeck, Germany

ROBOT SPACESHIP CHASES ISS: Europe's robotic supply ship, the Edoardo Amaldi (ATV-3), is chasing the International Space Station (ISS) around Earth. Marco Langbroek saw it at daybreak on March 24th flying over the rooftops of his neighborhood in Leiden, the Netherlands:

"The ATV-3 was very bright and easily visible to the naked-eye, nothwithstanding the bright twilight (the sun was less than 7o below the horizon)," says Langbroek. "It was about magnitude 0 to -1.5, and somewhat orange in color. A video of the flyby may be found here."

Launched on March 23rd laden with almost 7000 lb of supplies, the cargo carrier is expected to dock with the ISS on March 28th. As the two spacecraft converge, it might be possible to see them both in the sky at once. Check's Simple Satellite Tracker or your cell phone to see if you are favored with a double flyby.

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 26, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2012 FX35
Mar 23
3.7 LD
29 m
2012 FT35
Mar 24
1.9 LD
6 m
2012 FZ23
Mar 25
52.8 LD
1.2 km
2012 FU23
Mar 25
3.1 LD
14 m
2012 FP35
Mar 26
0.4 LD
12 m
2012 FS35
Mar 26
0.2 LD
4 m
2012 FV23
Mar 30
6.6 LD
36 m
2012 EG5
Apr 1
0.6 LD
60 m
2012 FW35
Apr 1
8.3 LD
23 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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