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Solar wind
speed: 360.3 km/sec
density: 11.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B2
1701 UT Mar26
24-hr: B3
1551 UT Mar26
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 26 Mar 13
None of these sunspots is actively flaring. Solar activity is low. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 56
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 26 Mar 2013

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2013 total: 0 days (0%)
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

26 Mar 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 93 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 26 Mar 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.8 nT
Bz: 2.1 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 26 Mar 13
Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on March 29-30. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Mar 26 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: 2013 Mar 26 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
40 %
01 %
20 %
01 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
10 %
30 %
05 %
60 %
Tuesday, Mar. 26, 2013
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

VERY QUIET SUN: All of the sunspots on the Earthside of the sun are quiet. NOAA forecasters put the odds of a significant eruption today at no more than 1%. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

DAYLIGHT ALIGNMENT OF PLANETS: Venus, Mars and Uranus are gathering for a remarkable alignment. But don't bother looking for the conjunction; it is happening in the daylight sky within a few degrees of the glaring sun. Using an opaque disk to block the glare, coronagraphs onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) are able to track the planets:

Venus and Uranus will cross paths within 1.5 degrees of the sun on March 27-28. Mars and Venus have their own very close encounter on April 6-7. Mars will be so close to the sun throughout the month of April that it will limit NASA's contact with the Mars rovers and orbiters.

According to a NASA press release, "Mars will be passing almost directly behind the sun [as seen from Earth]. The sun can easily disrupt radio transmissions between the two planets during the near-alignment. To prevent an impaired command from reaching an orbiter or rover, mission controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., are preparing to suspend sending any commands to spacecraft at Mars for weeks in April. Transmissions from Mars to Earth will also be reduced." Mars will be at its closest to the sun, a slim 0.4 degrees on April 17th.

The ongoing dance of the sun and planets is invisible to the human eye, but coronagraphs can see the show. Join SOHO for a ringside seat.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

SPACE STATION TRANSIT: With no sunspots actively flaring, the face of the sun is still and quiet--except for the spaceship. The International Space Station (ISS) broke the monotony yesterday when it zipped across the solar disk:

Russell Vallelunga photographed the transit from Cave Creek, Arizona. Travelling around Earth faster than 17,000 mph, the ISS zipped across the sun in a fraction of a second. "It took my reflexes half the transit to trigger the shutter, but I caught this image and two others after it," says Vallelunga. "It's my first attempt, and I'm glad it was sucessful!"

Space station transits of the sun happen often, but they are rarely seen (1) because of the glare and (2) because they happen so fast. A solar filter takes care of the first probem, while precise transit predictions solve the second. With NOAA predicting a 1% chance of flares, ISS transits may be the only action on the sun today. Check Calsky to find out when to trigger the shutter.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

TIPS FOR OBSERVING COMET PAN-STARRS: Comet Pan-STARRS is fading as it recedes from the sun. In recent nights, several experienced observers put its magnitude near +2.3, only about half as bright as last week. Time is running out for easy spotting and photography.

Below, astrophotographer John Chumack of Dayton, Ohio, offers "some tips for capturing your keepsake photo." Follow his recipe to take a picture like this:

"Find a low west-northwest horizon," he advises. "Be ready before sunset, so you can mark the horizon where the sun set as a reference to find the comet. A digital camera with manual settings is all you need to photograph Pan-STARRS. Try 1 to 30 second exposures at ISO settings ranging from 400 to 1600, about 30 to 45 minutes after sunset. The twilight fades fast, so increase your ISO and exposure time to compensate." Click here for additional details.

Using procedures similar to Chumack's, photographers have recently captured Comet Pan-STARRS over the Grand Canyon, Stonehenge, Greek monuments, Lake Superior, and many other scenic locations.

More: NASA video, 3D orbit, ephemeris, light curves.

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]

  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, 2013 there were potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2013 ES11
Mar 22
6.3 LD
80 m
2013 FG
Mar 24
3.8 LD
32 m
2013 FD8
Mar 27
8.4 LD
29 m
1997 AP10
Mar 28
45.9 LD
1.8 km
2013 EL89
Mar 29
4.6 LD
29 m
2013 FB8
Mar 30
4.2 LD
47 m
2010 GM23
Apr 13
3.9 LD
50 m
2005 NZ6
Apr 29
24.9 LD
1.3 km
2001 DQ8
Apr 30
74.3 LD
1.1 km
2004 BV102
May 25
69.9 LD
1.4 km
1998 QE2
May 31
15.2 LD
2.2 km
2000 FM10
Jun 5
50.3 LD
1.3 km
2002 KL3
Jun 6
66.4 LD
1.1 km
1999 WC2
Jun 12
39.2 LD
1.9 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
Space Weather Alerts
  more links...
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