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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 297.4 km/sec
density: 1.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C9
2212 UT Mar09
24-hr: M1
1107 UT Mar09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Mar 11
Behemoth sunspot 1166 has a "beta-gamma-delta" magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 137
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 Mar 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 1 day (2%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 08 Mar 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 155 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 08 Mar 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.6 nT
Bz: 4.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 09 Mar 11
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole is likely to brush past Earth's magnetic field on or about March 13th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Mar 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
50 %
40 %
05 %
05 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2011 Mar 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
25 %
20 %
15 %
10 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
35 %
25 %
20 %
15 %
10 %
Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2011
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. They make a unique Valentine's gift.

Own your own meteorite

X-FLARE: Earth-orbiting satellites have just detected an impulsive X1-class solar flare. Stay tuned for analysis.

FAST CORONAL MASS EJECTION: A coronal mass ejection (CME) exploded from the vicinity of sunspot 1164 during the late hours of March 7th. It leapt away from the sun traveling ~2200 km/s, making it the fastest CME since Sept. 2005. A movie of the cloud prepared by Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab shows a possibly substantial Earth-directed component. This CME and at least one other could brush against Earth's magnetic field on March 9th or 10th. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

SUNSPOT CONJUNCTION: On March 7th, shortly after space shuttle Discovery undocked from the International Space Station, the two ships flew directly in front of the sun over Europe. Catalin Fus of Krakow, Poland, had his solar-filtered telescope trained on sunspot 1166 and recorded this amazing conjunction:

"I was surprised that I could see Discovery flying around the station," says Fus. "The shuttle is so small compared to the ISS." Nevertheless, both silhouettes were clearly visible alongside the sunspot. Browse the links for more transit images: from Jérôme DELPAU of Coemont, Sarthe, France; from Jan Eric Krikke of Heerenveen, The Netherlands; from Pawel Warchal of Cracow, Poland.

LAST WATER DUMP: At the end of the day on March 8th, a strange curlicue-shaped comet appeared in the twilight skies of Europe. It was space shuttle Discovery performing a dump of waste water. Crystals of flash-frozen urine and other substances glistened in the sunlight, putting on an impressive show. Click on the image to view of a movie of the event recorded by Jens Hackmann of Weikersheim, Germany:

Discovery landed safely this morning at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, bringing the orbiter's final mission to an end. The spacecraft will now be retired as part of NASA's wind-down of the shuttle program. Farewell, Discovery, and thanks for everything--water dumps and all.

more images: from Ralf Vandebergh of the Netherlands

March 2011 Aurora Photo Gallery
[previous Marches: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 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 9, 2011 there were 1204 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 EC
Mar 6
9.2 LD
34 m
2011 EO11
Mar 6
1.8 LD
15 m
2011 EY11
Mar 7
0.3 LD
9 m
2011 EC12
Mar 8
3.3 LD
29 m
2000 PN9
Mar 10
45.5 LD
2.6 km
2011 EU20
Mar 11
1.6 LD
15 m
2011 BE38
Apr 10
48 LD
1.0 km
2002 DB4
Apr 15
62.5 LD
2.2 km
2008 UC202
Apr 27
8.9 LD
10 m
2009 UK20
May 2
8.6 LD
23 m
2008 FU6
May 5
75.5 LD
1.2 km
2003 YT1
May 5
65.3 LD
2.5 km
2002 JC
Jun 1
57.5 LD
1.6 km
2009 BD
Jun 2
0.9 LD
9 m
2002 JB9
Jun 11
71.5 LD
3.2 km
2001 VH75
Jun 12
42.2 LD
1.1 km
2004 LO2
Jun 15
9.9 LD
48 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 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
Conquest Graphics
  for out-of-this-world printing and graphics
Science Central
  more links...
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