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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 632.7 km/sec
density: 2.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Mar09
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Mar09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Mar 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 Mar 2008
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= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 5
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.4 nT
Bz: 0.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit:SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Mar 09 2203 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: 2008 Mar 09 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
30 %
15 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
40 %
20 %
20 %
10 %
10 %

What's up in Space
March 9, 2008
Where's Saturn? Is that a UFO--or the ISS? What's the name of that star? Get the answers from mySKY--a fun new astronomy helper from Meade.   mySKY

CRESCENT MOON: When the sun goes down tonight, look toward the western horizon for a super-slender crescent Moon beaming through the glow of twilight. There's no great astronomical significance to the event, just a dose of great beauty. Don't miss it!

AURORA WATCH: Last night a solar wind stream hit Earth's magnetic field, sparking bright auroras around the Arctic Circle and as far south as Michigan in the United States. Travis Favretto describes the scene in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario: "The glow caught my eye while playing hockey on a backyard rink; it was bright enough to see within the city and even with floodlights beaming down on the ice."

Photo details: Canon 350D, 30 seconds, ISO 1600

"The auroras were incredibly active," adds Beth Allan of Paddle Prairie, Alberta. "They really did look like a river or a ribbon being blown across the sky from one horizon to the other." .

Northern sky watchers should remain alert for auroras tonight. The solar wind continues to blow and NOAA forecasters estimmate a 55% change of more geomagnetic activity: gallery.

ASTEROID FLYBY: Newly-discovered asteroid 2008 EZ7 flew past Earth last night at a distance of only ~100,000 miles. Amateur astronomers Ivan Majchrovic and Tomas Maruska photographed the 18-meter wide space rock racing across the starry skies of Slovakia:

The video consists of ten 4s exposures taken through a 2.5-inch refractor. They used this ephemeris to guide their telescope.

Normally, an asteroid as small as 2008 EZ7 would attract minimal attention. Even if it hit Earth, the result would be little more than a bright fireball and a sprinkling of meteorites across some uninhabited stretch of our planet. 2008 EZ7 may prove to be more interesting, however; rumor has it that a second space rock provisionally named "BJ19377" is following 2008 EZ7 in a similar orbit and will soon make its own close approach. Could this be a twin asteroid flyby? Stay tuned for updates.

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. [comment]
On March 9, 2008 there were 941 potentially hazardous asteroids.
March 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 DH5
Mar. 5
7.1 LD
60 m
2008 EZ7
Mar. 9
0.4 LD
18 m
1620 Geographos
Mar. 17
49 LD
3 km
2003 FY6
Mar. 21
6.3 LD
145 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 bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
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.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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