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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 372.0 km/sec
density: 7.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M1
2111 UT Mar06
24-hr: M2
1241 UT Mar06
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 06 Mar 12
Big sunspot 1429 poses a continued threat for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 105
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 05 Mar 2012

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2012 total: 0 days (0%)
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 05 Mar 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 132 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 05 Mar 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.2 nT
Bz: 5.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 05 Mar 12
A solar wind stream flowing from this coronal hole could reach Earth on March 8-9. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Mar 06 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
80 %
80 %
30 %
30 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2012 Mar 06 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
20 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
35 %
15 %
40 %
10 %
Tuesday, Mar. 6, 2012
What's up in space

They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store.

Own your own meteorite

CHANCE OF FLARES: Today, NOAA forecasters estimate a 75% chance of M-class solar flares and a 30% chance of an X-flare from big sunspot AR1429.The active region is slowly turning to face Earth, so if any such eruptions do occur, they are increasingly likely to be geoeffective. Solar flare alerts: text, phone.

AURORA WATCH: High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on March 6th and 7th. Sunspot AR1429 has hurled two CMEs into space since it emerged over the weekend. Neither cloud is heading directly toward Earth, but both could deliver glancing blows to our planet's magnetic field. NOAA forecasters say there is a 30% to 40% chance of polar geomagnetic storms during the next 24-48 hours.

Even before the CMEs arrive, auroras are already dancing around the Arctic Circle:

"Even the bright moon and street lights couldn't hide the auroras on March 4th," says photographer Timo Newton-Syms of Ruka, Finland. "They lasted for a couple of hours after dusk, sometimes with short bursts all over the sky." Aurora alerts: text, phone.

more images: from Chad Blakley of Aurora Sky Station, Abisko National Park, Sweden; from Pavel Kantsurov of Norilsk, Russia; from Frank Olsen of Tromsø, Norway; from Darrell Jordan of Ersfjordbotn Norway

CONVERGING PLANETS: Go outside at sunset and look west. Venus and Jupiter are converging there for a 3o conjunction on March 12th and 13th. Even now, more than a week away from closest approach, the bright duo are a wonder to behold:

"They are like glowing lamps in the sky," says photographer M. Raşid Tuğral, who created this astronomical self-portrait at his home in Ankara, Turkey. "I really enjoyed them tonight and also the reddish planet Mars."

As the distance between Venus and Jupiter shrinks, something interesting happens. The converging pair can actually become physiologically mesmerizing, according to NASA. Do you find these planets hypnotic? Submit your answers with photos here.

more images: from Harrison Chu of Hualien, Yuli ,Taiwan; from Tamas Abraham of Zsambek, Hungary; from Peter Hill of Burton upon Trent UK; from Gene Taylor at the Cold Mountain Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway;

February 2012 Aurora Gallery
[previous Februaries: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]

  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 6, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2012 EZ1
Mar 1
0.6 LD
8 m
2012 DN31
Mar 1
8 LD
73 m
2012 DR32
Mar 2
8.7 LD
51 m
2012 EA
Mar 3
2.6 LD
18 m
2012 DU60
Mar 3
9.1 LD
37 m
2012 EM1
Mar 6
7.6 LD
21 m
2008 EJ85
Mar 6
9.1 LD
44 m
2012 DH54
Mar 10
3.3 LD
13 m
2012 DW60
Mar 12
2.5 LD
22 m
1999 RD32
Mar 14
57.9 LD
2.4 km
2011 YU62
Mar 16
73.4 LD
1.3 km
1996 SK
Apr 18
67.2 LD
1.6 km
2007 HV4
Apr 19
4.8 LD
8 m
2011 WV134
Apr 28
38.6 LD
1.8 km
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 web 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 Dynamics Observatory
  Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
  the underlying science of space weather
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
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