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Space Weather Bureau
Science news and information about the Sun-Earth environment.


Solar Wind

velocity: 291.1 km/s
2.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2244 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
C2 2145 UT Mar21
24-hr: M1 0235 UT Mar21
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 21 Mar '01
Sunspot groups 9373, 9384 and 9390 have each unleashed an M-class solar flare since Tuesday. Active region 9373 has a beta-gamma magnetic field that may harbor energy for more such eruptions.

Sunspot Number: 98
More about sunspots
Updated: 20 Mar 2001

Radio Meteor Rate
24 hr max:
40 per hr
Listen to the Meteor Radar!
Updated: 20 Mar 2001

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.4 nT
3.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

Coronal Holes:

The small coronal hole indicated in this extreme ultraviolet image of the Sun is spewing a solar wind stream that Earth may encounter on Thursday or Friday. Image credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope.
More about coronal holes


Solar Flares: Probabilities for a medium-sized (M-class) or a major (X-class) solar flare during the next 24/48 hours are tabulated below.
Updated at 2001 Mar 21 2200 UT

FLARE 24 hr 48 hr
CLASS M 60 % 60 %
CLASS X 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 2001 Mar 21 2200 UT

24 hr 48 hr
ACTIVE 50 % 25 %
MINOR 10 % 05 %
SEVERE 05 % 01 %

High latitudes
24 hr 48 hr
ACTIVE 60 % 30 %
MINOR 15 % 10 %
SEVERE 05 % 05 %

What's Up in Space -- 21 Mar 2001
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DOUBLE WHAMMY? Earth's magnetosphere could be hit by two coronal mass ejections (CMEs) before the weekend. SOHO coronagraphs spotted the first, a faint full halo CME, on March 19th. It billowed into space after a solar filament collapsed near the center of the Sun's disk. Another CME left the Sun on March 20th when a solar flare exploded near sunspot group 9373. Forecasters estimate a 10% to 15% chance of geomagnetic storms when the CMEs arrive.

AURORA PHOTOS: A strong geomagnetic storm, which began Monday when a coronal mass ejection hit Earth's magnetosphere, finally subsided on Wednesday morning. At its peak, the G3-category disturbance spawned auroras in the USA as far south as New York and Washington State. Mark Simpson captured this photo of Northern Lights over Banff National Park in Canada. For more pictures see our AURORA GALLERY.

Above: The estimated planetary K-index (Kp), a measure of global geomagnetic activity, reached 7 on Tuesday. [more information]

MIR UPDATE: On March 21, 2001, the Russian Space Agency reports that space station Mir was 220 km above Earth and losing altitude at a rate of 4.2 km per day. Deorbiting maneuvers are currently slated to begin on March 23nd. [Full Story]


Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than ~100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs are on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are searching for and discovering new ones all the time.

On 21 Mar 2001 there were 291 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

The most recently discovered near-Earth asteroid is 2001 EC16, a ~150m-wide space rock spotted on March 15th by Eleanor Helin and colleagues using JPL's NEAT/MSSS 1.2-meter survey telescope in Hawaii. 2001 EC16 will pass approximately four lunar distances from Earth on March 23rd. [3D orbit][ephemeris]

Other upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters (Mar 1 - Apr 30)


 Date (UTC)

 Miss Distance
2000 PN9  2001-Mar-02 17:29

 0.0610 AU
1998 SF36  2001-Mar-29 18:37

 0.0383 AU
1986 PA  2001-Apr-03 01:06

 0.1465 AU
2000 EE104  2001-Apr-12 20:37

 0.0822 AU

  • TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE: On Jan. 9, 2001, the full Moon glided through Earth's copper-colored shadow. [gallery]
  • CHRISTMAS ECLIPSE: Sky watchers across North America enjoyed a partial solar eclipse on Christmas Day 2000 [gallery]
  • LEONIDS 2000: Observers around the globe enjoyed three predicted episodes of shooting stars. [gallery]

Feb. 21, 2001: Nature's Tiniest Space Junk -- Using an experimental radar at the Marshall Space Flight Center, scientists are monitoring tiny but hazardous meteoroids that swarm around our planet.

Feb. 15, 2001: The Sun Does a Flip -- NASA scientists who monitor the Sun say our star's enormous magnetic field is reversing -- a sure sign that solar maximum is here.

Jan. 25, 2001: Earth's Invisible Magnetic Tail -- NASA's IMAGE spacecraft, the first to enjoy a global view of the magnetosphere, spotted a curious plasma tail pointing from Earth toward the Sun.

Jan. 4, 2001: Earth at Perihelion -- On January 4, 2001, our planet made its annual closest approach to the Sun.

Dec. 29, 2000: Millennium Meteors -- North Americans will have a front-row seat for a brief but powerful meteor shower on January 3, 2001.

Dec. 28, 2000: Galileo Looks for Auroras on Ganymede -- NASA's durable Galileo spacecraft flew above the solar system's largest moon this morning in search of extraterrestrial "Northern Lights"

Dec. 22, 2000: Watching the Angry Sun -- Solar physicists are enjoying their best-ever look at a Solar Maximum thanks to NOAA and NASA satellites.


Caveat Emptor: Space weather forecasts that appear on this site are based in part on data from NASA and NOAA satellites and ground-monitoring stations. Predictions and explanations are formulated by Dr. Tony Phillips; they are not official statements of any government organ or guarantees of space weather activity. is sponsored in part by the American Red Cross.

Essential Web Links

NOAA Space Environment 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.

Solar and Heliospheric Observatory -- Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO. (European Mirror Site)

Daily Sunspot Summaries -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Current Solar Images --a gallery of up-to-date solar pictures from the National Solar Data Analysis Center at the Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Latest SOHO Coronagraph Images -- from the Naval Research Lab

The Latest Space Weather Values -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

List of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

Observable Comets -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

What is the Interplanetary Magnetic Field? -- A lucid answer from the University of Michigan.

Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from NASA's ACE spacecraft.

More Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory Proton Monitor.

Aurora Forecast --from the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute

Daily Solar Flare and Sunspot Data -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Lists of Coronal Mass Ejections -- from 1998 to 2001.

NOAA geomagnetic latitude maps: North America, Eurasia, South Africa & Australia, South America

Quarterly Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: January - March 2000 -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Quarterly Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: April - June 2000 -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Quarterly Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: July - Sept 2000 -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Quarterly Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: Oct. - Dec. 2000 -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

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