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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 305.8 km/sec
density: 7.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2131 UT Feb28
24-hr: M1
1252 UT Feb28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 28 Feb 11
Sunspot 1164 has a complex "beta-gamma" magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 44
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 Feb 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 1 day (2%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 27 Feb 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 90 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 27 Feb 2011

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: 5.0 nT
Bz: 2.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 28 Feb 11
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about March 3rd. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Feb 28 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
35 %
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: 2011 Feb 28 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
25 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
Monday, Feb. 28, 2011
What's up in space

They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store. They make a unique Valentine's gift.

Own your own meteorite

SOLAR SAIL SIGHTINGS: NASA's NanoSail-D, the first solar sail to orbit Earth, is making a series of flybys over the United States this week. Normally, the sail is barely visible to the naked eye, but occaasionally sunlight glints off its reflective fabric, causing bright flares in the night sky. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker (or your cell phone) for flyby predictions. If you photograph a flare, you could win $500.

ISS-SHUTTLE MOVIE: Space shuttle Discovery docked to the International Space Station on Saturday, Feb. 26, delivering humanoid Robonaut 2 to join the ISS crew. Just before docking, observers in Europe witnessed a spectacular double flyby of the converging spacecraft. French astrophotographer Thierry Legault trained his telescope on the pair for a close-up view; the movie he made is a must-see:

"I had to travel as far as Weimar, Germany, to find a clear-enough sky to catch the ISS and Discovery 30 minutes before docking," says Legault. "The station fades near the end of the video as the sun sets on the ISS."

Another opportunity to see the spaceships arranged in this way will come on or about March 6th when Discovery undocks from the ISS. Until then, click on the links for more double shots: from Rob Bullen of Forest of Dean, Gloucestershie, England; from Tamas Ladanyi of Veszprem, Hungary; from Emmanuel Marchal of London, England; from Anton Husek of Svihov, Czech Republic; from Monika Landy-Gyebnar of Veszprem, Hungary; from Rafael Schmall of Hungary, Somogy, Kaposfo;

AIRPLANE AND SUNSPOT: Big sunspot 1164 is an attractive target for solar telescopes. Amateur astronomer Howard Eskildsen was monitoring the active region from his backyard observatory in Ocala, Florida, on Feb. 27th when an airplane flew by:

"Until now, I could only have dreamed of such a composition," Eskildsen says. He took the picture through a violet "Calcium-K" filter that highlights bright magnetic froth around the sunspot's dark core. NOAA forecasters say AR1164 has an unstable magnetic field that harbors energy for powerful M-flares. Tomorrow's composition could include a bright eruption. Stay tuned!

NanoSail-D Photo Gallery
[NASA: Solar Sail Stunner] [Photo Contest]

February 2011 Aurora Photo Gallery
[previous Februaries: 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 February 28, 2011 there were 1201 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 DU9
Feb 23
0.8 LD
21 m
2011 DQ
Feb 26
9.7 LD
26 m
2011 DT9
Feb 27
9 LD
40 m
2011 DE5
Mar 1
4.9 LD
22 m
2011 DW4
Mar 3
6.9 LD
15 m
2000 PN9
Mar 10
45.5 LD
2.6 km
2002 DB4
Apr 15
62.5 LD
2.2 km
2008 UC202
Apr 27
8.9 LD
10 m
2009 UK20
May 2
8.6 LD
23 m
2008 FU6
May 5
75.5 LD
1.2 km
2003 YT1
May 5
65.3 LD
2.5 km
2002 JC
Jun 1
57.5 LD
1.6 km
2009 BD
Jun 2
0.9 LD
9 m
2002 JB9
Jun 11
71.5 LD
3.2 km
2001 VH75
Jun 12
42.2 LD
1.1 km
2004 LO2
Jun 15
9.9 LD
48 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
Conquest Graphics
  for out-of-this-world printing and graphics
Science Central
  more links...
©2010 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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