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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 493.0 km/sec
density: 0.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2341 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B9
1813 UT Feb27
24-hr: B9
1813 UT Feb27
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 27 Feb 12
These sunspots pose no threat for strong flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 58
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 26 Feb 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 26 Feb 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 107 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 26 Feb 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 5 storm
24-hr max: Kp= 5
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 14.9 nT
Bz: 4.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 27 Feb 12
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Feb 27 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 Feb 27 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
15 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
Monday, Feb. 27, 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

CME IMPACT: A CME hit Earth's magnetic field on Feb. 26th at ~2100 UT. Although the impact was weak, it did spark some auroras around the Arctic Circle. "I witnessed a wonderful show here in the municipality of Inari, Finland," reports Andy Keen, who recorded the scene in this 25 second exposure:

The brief outburst, which was visible mainly over Scandinavia, subsided before it became a full-fledged geomagnetic storm.

According to a forecast track prepared by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the same CME will hit Mars on Feb. 28th. Because Mars has no global magnetic field to protect it, the impact could rip away a small amount of Mars' atmosphere. Any loss from this one CME would be miniscule, but billions of years of CMEs and solar wind gusts might account for a lot of lost martian air.

If the forecast is correct, the CME could also hit NASA's Mars rover Curiosity later today. Curiosity is en route to the red planet onboard the Mars Science Lab spacecraft. The rover is in no danger from the CME, but it might be able to measure energetic particles accelerated by the CME's passage.

more images: from Thomas Kast of Muonio, Finland; from Thomas Achermann of Utkujärvi, Muonio, Finnish Lapland; from Simon Eskil de Lusua of Östra Näset, Sweden; from Hanneke Luijting of Tromsø, Norway; from Chad Blakley of Abisko National Park, Sweden

February 2012 Aurora Gallery
[previous Februaries: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]

WEEKEND SKY SHOW: This weekend's triangular conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and the crescent Moon was just as good as advertised. On the beach at Edgecomb Pond in Bolton Landing, New York, amateur astronomer John Cordiale found the bright threesome surrounded by a 22o ice halo:

"I was photographing the alignment when high thin clouds rolled in," says Cordiale. "They threatened to ruin the view, but then this halo encircled Jupiter, Venus and the Moon, framing them perfectly."

As the week unfolds, the Moon will leave Jupiter and Venus behind, but the show isn't over. The two planets are converging for a close encounter on March 12th and 13th--an event so nice it has been described in a NASA news release. Until then, browse the images below.

more images: from Petr Horálek of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic; from Jun Lao of Mason, Ohio; from Marek Nikodem of Szubin, Poland; from Jimmy Westlake of Stagecoach, Colorado; from Zach Brady and John Stetson of Hinckley, Maine; from Todd Bush of Banner Elk, NC; from Pekka Sammallahti of Vetsikko, Utsjoki, Finland; from Brian Emfinger of Ozark, Arkansas; from Gene Taylor of Blue Ridge Parkway, NC; from Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project of Atlanta, GA;

  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 February 27, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2012 DY
Feb 24
9.2 LD
21 m
2012 DX13
Feb 25
4.9 LD
70 m
2012 CS46
Feb 25
2.7 LD
12 m
2012 DN31
Mar 1
8 LD
80 m
2008 EJ85
Mar 6
9.1 LD
44 m
1999 RD32
Mar 14
57.9 LD
2.4 km
2011 YU62
Mar 16
73.4 LD
1.3 km
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
1.8 km
1992 JD
May 2
9.5 LD
43 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 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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