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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 581.7 km/sec
density: 0.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2342 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C9
2025 UT Mar09
24-hr: M6
0353 UT Mar09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Mar 12
Big sunspot 1429 poses a continued threat for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 86
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 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 08 Mar 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 140 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 08 Mar 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 7
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.3 nT
Bz: 5.3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 08 Mar 12
A solar wind stream flowing from this coronal hole could reach Earth as early as March 9-10. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Mar 09 2210 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
80 %
80 %
40 %
40 %
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 09 2210 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
30 %
20 %
35 %
05 %
20 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
20 %
25 %
30 %
15 %
50 %
Friday, Mar. 9, 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

ANOTHER CME IS HEADING FOR EARTH: Sunspot AR1429 has unleashed another strong solar flare, an M6-class eruption on March 9th at 0358 UT. The blast hurled a coronal mass ejection (movie) almost directly toward Earth. According to analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the CME will arrive on March 11th at 0649 UT (+/- 7 hr) adding to the geomagnetic unrest already underway. An animated forecast track shows that the cloud will also hit the Mars Science Lab spacecraft and Mars itself on March 12th and 13th, respectively. Geomagnetic storm alerts: text, phone.

AFTERSHOCKS: At first, yesterday's widely-reported CME impact produced little in the way of Earth effects. Eventually, however, a geomagnetic storm did develop as Earth passed through the wake of the CME. Mild to strong geomagnetic storms are underway around the Arctic Circle, producing auroras like these photographed by Jónína Óskarsdóttir of Faskrudsfjordur, Iceland:

"No words can describe the experience of the Northern Lights show tonight," says Óskarsdóttir. "This is just a 1s exposure!"

High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras as Earth's magnetic field continues to feel the aftershocks of the CME impact. Aurora alerts: text, phone.

more images: from Ryan de los Reyes of Anchorage, Alaska; from Doug Kiesling of Saint Cloud, Minnesota; from Nick Monk of Mountain River, Tasmania, Australia; from Chris Picking of Owhiro Bay, Wellington, New Zealand; from Ron D of Carrington, North Dakota; from Carlton McMillan of Pine City, Minnesota; from Ben Chorn of Duluth, Minnesota; from Lyle Anderson of Duluth, Minnesota; from Yuichi Takasaka of Lumby, British Columbia; from Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre flying 34,000 feet over Minnesota; from David Barthel of Sauk Rapids, Minnesota; from Jerry Zhu of Middleton, Wisconsin; from Friedrich Deters of Spring Lake Park, Minnesota; from Bob Conzemius of Bovey, Minnesota

HUGE SUNSPOT: Active sunspot AR1429 continues to grow. It is now more than seven times wider than Earth, which makes it an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. In fact, yesterday, David Tremblay of Alto, New Mexico, saw it using no telescope at all. All he needed was a dust storm:

"The dust blowing from Tularosa Basin was so dense, we could observe the sun with the naked eye--and there was sunspot AR1429. Wow!" says Tremblay.

The behemoth spot has unleashed four strong flares since it emerged on March 2nd, including the X5-class eruption of March 7th. More could be in the offing. The active region has a "beta-gamma-delta" class magnetic field that harbors energy for additional X-class eruptions. Solar flare alerts: text, phone.

more images: from Jett Aguilar of Quezon City, Philippines; from James Kevin Ty of Manila, Philippines; from Harald Paleske of Langendorf b. Weißenfels, Germany; from Rogerio Marcon of Campinas SP Brasil; from Monika Landy-Gyebnar of Veszprem, Hungary; from Ron Wayman of Tampa Florida; from John Stetson of Falmouth, Maine; from Robert Lowton of Whaley Bridge, Peak District, United Kingdom; from José Geraldo Mattos of Florianópolis, Jurerê Internacional, Santa Catarina, Brasil; from Matthew Wastell of Brisbane, Australia; from Kiss Csongor of Derecske, Hungary

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 9, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2012 DU60
Mar 3
9.1 LD
37 m
2012 EM1
Mar 6
7.6 LD
22 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
23 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
1992 JD
May 2
9.5 LD
43 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
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
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