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Solar wind
speed: 349.9 km/sec
density: 5.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B6
1701 UT Mar08
24-hr: B6
1657 UT Mar08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 08 Mar 13
None of these sunspots is actively flaring; sunspot AR1686 poses a slim threat for M-class solar flares, Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 80
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 Mar 2013

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2013 total: 0 days (0%)
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

08 Mar 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 114 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 08 Mar 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.4 nT
Bz: 3.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 08 Mar 13
Solar wind flowing from the indicated coronal holes should reach Earth on March 8-9. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Mar 08 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
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: 2013 Mar 08 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
15 %
15 %
10 %
10 %
Friday, Mar. 8, 2013
What's up in space

Hang the Transit of Venus on your wall! Hubble-quality images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory are now available as metallic posters in the Space Weather Store.

Venus Transit metal posters

SOLAR WIND ENERGY SOURCE DISCOVERED: Using data from an aging NASA spacecraft, researchers have found signs of an energy source in the solar wind that has caught the attention of fusion researchers. NASA will be able to test the theory later this decade when it sends a new probe into the sun for a closer look. Get the full story from Science@NASA

COMET PAN-STARRS MOVES NORTH: On March 10th, Comet Pan-STARRS (C/2011 L4) makes its closest approach to the sun inside the orbit of Mercury. As the comet swings by the sun it is also crossing the celestial equator, moving from southern to northern skies. First sightings of the comet are now coming in from the northern hemisphere. "At last it is visible from my latitude, 5oN," reports Veerayen Mohanadas, who sends this picture from Kulim, Kedah, Malaysia:

"Because the comet is still close to the sun, it is not yet an easy target for unaided eyes," he says. "I hope to see it more clearly in the days ahead when it climbs higgher in the western sky after sunset."

Indeed, the comet is now glowing at least as brightly as a 2nd magnitude star (like the stars of the Big Dipper); when it is framed by darker skies, it will become much easier to see. Dates of special interest include March 12th and 13th when the comet passes not far from the crescent Moon; think photo-op! Check the realtime comet gallery for the latest images.

More about Comet Pan-STARRS: NASA video, 3D orbit, ephemeris, light curves.

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

AURORA WATCH: NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on March 8th when a solar wind stream might brush against Earth's magnetic field. Arctic sky watchers--including those on dog sleds--should be alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Dirk Obudzinski was watching the lights dance over Cripple Creek, Alaska, on March 7th when a fireball split the sky:

"A lucky catch!" says Obudzinski. "Cripple Creek, just south of the White Mountains, is one of my favorite shooting locations, and it delivered a great spectacle."

The fireball was a random meteoroid disintegrating some 80 km above Earth's surface. It appears to be below the auroras--and it is. Auroras typically occur at altitudes between ~100 km and 300 km. One makes a great backdrop for the other. Catch more lucky shots in the realtime photo gallery:

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

LUNAR TRANSIT: It's not everyday you get to see a massive spaceship transit the Moon. In Argentina, March 5th was such a day. Amateur astronomer Mariano Ribas reports: "For the first time in my life, just 90 minutes before sunrise in Buenos Aires, I had a very good chance to see and photograph from my home the International Space Station (ISS) passing exactly in front the Moon." The image below is a composite of two snapshots, showing the ISS on either side of Mare Imbrium, the Sea of Rains:

"It was an extraordinary experience," adds Ribas. "I took these images using my Canon Rebel XTi digital camera attached to my 12-inch telescope."

Lunar transits of the ISS happen fairly frequently, but they only last for a split second. You have to know precisely when to look. Transit predictions are available from

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

FARSIDE EXPLOSION: An active region on the farside of the sun exploded during the early hours of March 5th, hurling a bright CME into space. Cameras onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) recorded the expanding cloud:

NASA's STEREO-Behind spacecraft is stationed over the farside of the sun, directly above the blast site. An extreme UV telescope onboard the spacecraft recorded a movie of the explosion. The responsible active region will rotate onto the Earthside of the sun in less than a week, which means geoeffective solar activity is in the offing. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]

  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 8, 2013 there were 1382 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2013 EC
Mar 4
1 LD
12 m
2013 ET
Mar 9
2.5 LD
102 m
2007 EO88
Mar 18
4.4 LD
23 m
1993 UC
Mar 20
49 LD
3.8 km
2013 ES11
Mar 22
6.4 LD
94 m
1997 AP10
Mar 28
45.9 LD
1.8 km
2010 GM23
Apr 13
3.9 LD
50 m
2005 NZ6
Apr 29
24.9 LD
1.3 km
2001 DQ8
Apr 30
74.3 LD
1.1 km
2004 BV102
May 25
69.9 LD
1.4 km
1998 QE2
May 31
15.2 LD
2.2 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
Space Weather Alerts
  more links...
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