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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 311.3 km/sec
density: 2.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Mar02
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Mar02
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 02 Mar 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 01 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= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 1.7 nT
Bz: 0.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes:
A minor solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on or about March 3rd. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Mar 02 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 02 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
20 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
05 %
What's up in Space
March 2, 2009

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


ASTEROID FLYBY: Asteroid 2009 DD45 zipped past Earth today, March 2nd at 1340 UT, about 72,000 km (0.00048 AU) away. That's only twice the height of a geostationary communications satellite. The 35-meter-wide space rock is similar in size to the Tunguska impactor of 1908, but today there was no danger of a collision--just a close shave. Experienced amateur astronomers can track the asteroid receding from Earth using this ephemeris.

movies: from Albert Quijano Vodniza of the Nariño Observatory in Colombia; from Dave Herald of Canberra, Australia; from Cristovao Jacques and Eduardo Pimentel of Belo Horizonte, Brazil; from Ernesto Guido et al of the Skylive Observatory in Australia;

SATELLITE DEBRIS: The Feb 10th collision of Kosmos 2251 and Iridium 33 over northern Siberia had an uneven effect on the two satellites. Both were shattered, but Kosmos was broken into twice as many trackable pieces as Iridium, and the Kosmos pieces were scattered into a significantly wider band of orbits:

This debris map, created by Daniel Deak of Canada, traces the orbits of 129 Iridium and 275 Kosmos fragments. A side-view of the Kosmos data illustrates the degree to which the Russian satellite is "polluting" the near-Earth environment. "Kosmos fragments range in altitude from 227 km to 1690 km," notes Deak. For comparison, "the Iridiuim fragments are more tightly confined between 525 km and 1265 km."

NASA is reportedly concerned about the risks these debris streams pose to the space shuttle Atlantis when it visits the Hubble Space Telescope for servicing in mid-May 2009. The agency is evaluating the situation, and an update is expected in the near future.

More debris maps: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5

WEEKEND SKY SHOW: Yes, astronomy can tickle your nose. Hal Schade of Rio Dulce, Guatemala, found that out on Friday evening, Feb. 27th, when the Moon and Venus came bubbling out of his champagne glass:

"It was a beautiful conjunction," he says. "The Moon and Venus were very bright and only a little more than 1o degree apart." Schade added his glass to alignment and--snap!--took the picture.

Around the world, millions of others saw the same thing--the Moon gliding by Venus in the sunset. The luminous pair attracted crowds, stopped traffic, and produced a flurry of snapshots. Click on the links below to view some of the best.

more images: from P-M Hedén of Gysinge, Sweden; from Guillermo Abramson of Bariloche, Argentina; from Abe Megahed of Madison, Wisconsin; from Piotr Majewski of Torun, Poland; from Peter Lipscomb of Santa Fe, New Mexico; from Ben Cooper of Ponce Inlet, Florida; from Esteban Castro Acuña of San Nicolás de los Garza, Mexico; from Herfried of Strasbourg, France; from Valentin Grigore of Targoviste, Romania; from Christian Ramirez of Rochester, New York; from Michel Benvenuto of Nice, France; from Mario A. Mora Lara of Queretaro, Mexico; from Chris Peterson of Guffey, Colorado; from Tom Wagner of Iowa City, Iowa; from James W. Young on the RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach Harbor, CA; from Kevin Jung of Grand Rapids, Michigan

Comet Lulin Photo Gallery
[Comet Hunter Telescope] [Sky maps: March 1, 2]

February 2009 Aurora Gallery
[Previous Februaries: 2008, 2007, 2006, 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 2, 2009 there were 1033 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
161989 Cacus
Mar. 7
70.5 LD
1.7 km
2009 DV43
Mar. 10
8.5 LD
80 m
1998 OR2
Mar. 12
69.8 LD
3.3 km
2009 DR3
Mar. 14
7.2 LD
225 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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