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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 448.2 km/sec
density: 4.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Mar28
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Mar28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 28 Mar 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI

more images: from Robert Arnold of Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Peter Desypris of Athens, Greece; from Matthias Juergens of Gnevsdorf, Germany; from Monty Leventhal of Sydney Australia
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 27 Mar. 2009
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= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.4 nT
Bz: 2.9 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Mar 28 2201 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: 2009 Mar 28 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
March 28, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you sleep through the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.


NEW MORNING STAR: On March 27th, Venus passed by the sun and underwent a transformation--from Evening Star to Morning Star. For the next eight months, the brightest of all planets will shine in the pre-dawn sky, changing phases, casting shadows, and occasionally posing with the crescent Moon for a lovely photo-op. A new animation from graphic artist Larry Koehn shows what to expect when you wake up in the morning: play it.

CRESCENT MOON ALERT: Tonight, when the sun goes down, step outside and look west. You might see something like this:

Martin McKenna, who took the photo, reports from Maghera, Northern Ireland: "Tonight, March 28th, I went to the countryside for a good view of the 2-day-old crescent Moon. It was such a fine Spring evening, and the Moon with Earthshine looked great."

more images: from Mike O'Leary of El Cajon, California; from Elias Chasiotis of Markopoulo, Greece; from Kevin Jung of Grand Rapids, Michigan; from Erkki Rauhala of Uurainen, Finland; from Steven Janowiecki of Kitt Peak National Observatory; from Mania Rahban of Isfahan, Iran; from Luca Basili of Rome - Italy; from Amir H. Abolfath of Dizin, Tehran, Iran; from Ulrich C. Beinert in an airplane flying over Dresden, Germany; from Christopher Calubaquib of El Sobrante, California; from Louis Suarato of Albany, NY; from Michael Boschat of Halifax, Nova Scotia

3D SPACE STATION: When space shuttle Discovery undocked from the International Space Station on March 25th, the shuttle left something behind--a brand new pair of 115-ft long solar arrays. Cross your eyes to see the results of last week's big construction in jump-out-of-the-screen 3D:

Click to view larger images

The crew of Discovery took these pictures shortly after undocking. Patrick Vantuyne of Belgium assembled them as shown for cross-eyed viewing and he also made an anaglyph suitable for 3D glasses.

The new solar wings have added more than 8000 sq. feet of light collecting area to the ISS. This has increased the station's brightness in the night sky and resulted in a number of widely-observed flares caused by sunlight glinting from the copper-colored panels. The ISS can now outshine Venus (the brightest planet) by a factor of four and Sirius (the brightest star) by a factor of nearly 70!

That's worth a look. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flyby times.

March 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Marches: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002]

Explore the Sunspot Cycle

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 28, 2009 there were 1048 potentially hazardous asteroids.
March 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 DS43
Mar. 1
6.9 LD
32 m
2009 DD45
Mar. 2
0.2 LD
35 m
2009 DN4
Mar. 3
8.1 LD
27 m
2009 EA
Mar. 4
7.4 LD
24 m
2009 EW
Mar. 6
0.9 LD
23 m
161989 Cacus
Mar. 7
70.5 LD
1.7 km
2009 EH1
Mar. 8
1.6 LD
12 m
2009 ET
Mar. 9
9.5 LD
15 m
2009 DV43
Mar. 10
8.5 LD
80 m
2009 EU
Mar. 11
3.5 LD
21 m
1998 OR2
Mar. 12
69.8 LD
3.3 km
2009 DR3
Mar. 14
7.2 LD
225 m
2009 FR
Mar. 16
6.7 LD
22 m
2009 FJ
Mar. 16
4.9 LD
46 m
2009 FW4
Mar. 17
2.8 LD
53 m
2009 FH
Mar. 18
0.2 LD
21 m
2009 FK
Mar. 19
1.0 LD
9 m
2009 DO111
Mar. 20
1.2 LD
117 m
2009 FX4
Mar. 23
6.1 LD
37 m
2009 FD
Mar. 27
1.6 LD
160 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 space weather bureau
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.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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