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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 600.6 km/sec
density: 1.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A6
2215 UT Mar28
24-hr: B1
1200 UT Mar28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 28 Mar 08
Sunspot 989 has been quiet since unleashing an M2-class flare on March 25th. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 57
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 Mar 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
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: 3.5 nT
Bz: 3.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is entering a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit:SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Mar 28 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
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: 2008 Mar 28 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
What's up in Space
March 28, 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

JULES VERNE DOCKING: On March 31st, the European Space Agency's Jules Verne cargo carrier will approach the International Space Station (ISS) stopping only 12 meters from the docking port and then backing away again. This is practice for the first real automated docking attempt on April 3rd. Sky watchers, check for ISS flybys over your location on those dates; you may be able to witness the docking maneuvers with your own eyes: more.

Jules Verne photos: from Jeff Greenwald of Laramie, Wyoming; from Eugene Miller of Brooklyn,New York; from Phil Harrington of Miller Place, New York

NOT-SO-NORTHERN LIGHTS: It must be springtime. Last night a gust of solar wind sent auroras rippling down from Canada into the United States. Shawn Malone sends this picture from Marquette, Michigan:

Photo details: Canon 5D, ISO 1600, 15 to 30 sec exp.

"There was a nice burst of aurora activity right after sunset," says Malone who captured the scene using his Canon 5D. "The thawing snowbanks in the foreground were not the most scenic, but I had to act quickly to catch the auroras."

The solar wind continues to blow and more geomagnetic storms are possible tonight. Northern (and not-so-northern) sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

March 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-sky Cameras]

SUNSPOT SUNSET: A few evenings ago, Mark Walters of
Four Crosses, Wales, trained his Personal Solar Telescope on the western horizon--"I was hoping to catch the new sunspots before nightfall," he says--and took this dramatic photo:

"The sun was setting behind trees almost a mile away," he explains. The branches look almost frosted compared to the furnace behind."

In the photo, sunspots 987 and 988 are the light-and-dark blotches just above the treetops. These old-cycle spots are putting on a good show for amateur astronomers with solar telescopes--no trees required!

more images: from Mark Sibole of Fife Lake Michigan; from J├Ârgen Blom of Stockholm, Sweden; from Masa Nakamura of Otawara, Tochigi, Japan; from Monty Leventhal of Sydney. Australia; from Matthias Juergens of Gnevsdorf, Germany; from Pavol Rapavy of Rimavski Sobota, Slovakia; from Malcolm Park of London, England, UK; from David Thomas of Lynchburg, Virginia;

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 28, 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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