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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 266.6 km/sec
density: 0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2343 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Apr03
24-hr: A0
0915 UT Apr03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 03 Apr 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 02 Apr 2009

NEW: Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 26 days
2009 total: 80 days (87%)
Since 2004: 591 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 02 Apr 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: 2.1 nT
Bz: 1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on April 8th or 9th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Apr 03 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 Apr 03 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
April 3, 2009

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


VOTE FOR SOHO: The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is on the cusp of losing the semi-final round of NASA's Mission Madness tournament.Vote now for a spaceweather favorite and propel SOHO to the finals!

ISS MOON TRANSIT: The International Space Station has grown so big and bright, you can see it even when it is directly in front of the Moon. Oscar Martin Mesonero of Salamanca, Spain, took this picture on April 1st:

"I recorded the transit using my 8-inch Celestron telescope and a Canon EOS 50D," says Mesonero. "The ISS was much brighter than the lunar background."

His snapshot caught the space station passing over the Sea of Nectar (Mare Nectaris). Just to the north of the transit path is the Sea of Tranquility where Apollo 11 astronauts landed 40 years ago. The ISS seems so close to lunar soil that the crew could hop out for a visit of their own. In fact, the Moon is about 384,000 km away from the Earth-orbiting spacecraft. Astronauts won't be truly close to Nectar until 2020.

The ISS will join the Moon in the evening sky again this weekend. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for viewing times.

more images: from Thorsten Boeckel of Fuerstenfeldbruck, Germany; from P. Nikolakakos of Nafplio, Greece; from Joe Westerberg of Palm Springs, California; from Oscar Martin Mesonero of Salamanca, Spain

POLLEN CORONAS: "The 2009 season for pollen coronas has begun," says Peter Paul Hattinga Verschure of the Netherlands. He photographed the onset from his garden in Deventer:

"On April 1st, clouds of pollen were blown out of the pine tree by a dry northeasterly wind," he says. "When the pollen passed in front of the sun, an intensely colorful corona formed."

Coronas appear when sunlight is scattered by very small particles in the air. The most common coronas are produced by water droplets in clouds. Pollen grains work just as well--and in some ways they are even better.

"Unlike water droplets, pollens are non-spherical--and this adds to their magic," explains atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "Many have air sacs to help carry them in the wind. These align the grains to give beautiful elliptical coronas with bright spots."

Is there pollen in the air where you live? Be alert for coronas!

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 April 3, 2009 there were 1049 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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