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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 476.7 km/sec
density: 3.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M8
1745 UT Mar10
24-hr: M8
1745 UT Mar10
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 10 Mar 12
Big sunspot 1429 poses a continued threat for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 96
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 09 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 09 Mar 2012

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 146 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 09 Mar 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 5
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.1 nT
Bz: 0.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 10 Mar 12
A solar wind stream flowing from this coronal hole could reach Earth on March 16-17. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Mar 10 2200 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 10 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
25 %
35 %
30 %
35 %
25 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
15 %
15 %
25 %
75 %
55 %
Saturday, Mar. 10, 2012
What's up in space

Listen to radar echoes from satellites and meteors, live on listener-supported Space Weather Radio.

Spaceweather Radio is on the air

WEEKEND SOLAR FLARE: Sunspot AR1429 is still erupting this weekend. On Saturday, March 10th, it produced a powerful M8-class flare that almost crossed the threshold into X-territory. In New Mexico, amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft recorded a series of shortwave bursts emanating from the blast site: audio. Also, the explosion propelled yet another CME toward Earth: forecast track. The cloud is expected to hit our planet's magnetosphere on March 12th around 1800 UT. A CME from an earlier explosion will arrive much sooner, however. Continue reading.....

INCOMING CME: A CME from sunspot AR1429 is nearing Earth. According to analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the cloud will arrive on March 11th at 0649 UT (+/- 7 hr). NOAA forecasters say the odds of a strong geomagnetic storm at that time is 50%. Aurora alerts: text, phone.

The same eruption that hurled the CME toward Earth also produced a monsterous tsunami of plasma on the sun. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the shadowy but powerful wave rippling away from the blast site:

The tsumani was about 100,000 km high and raced outward at 250 km/s with a total energy of about 2 million megatons of TNT. Such waves often underlie CMEs like the one en route to Earth now.

Animated forecast tracks show that the CME will also hit the Mars Science Lab (MSL) spacecraft on March 12th followed by Mars itself on March 13th. Mars rover Curiosity onboard MSL might get some interesting readings as the cloud passes by.

CALM BEFORE THE STORM: Earth's magnetic field is growing quiet again after two days of geomagnetic storming prompted by CME impacts. At the peak of the disturbance on March 9th, Northern Lights were spotted in the United States as far south as the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oregon, Wyoming, Illinois, Montana, and even Kansas. The finest displays, as usual, were reserved for Alaska:

"Almost immediately after sunset, the sky began to fill with ribbons of auroras above Chena Hot Springs (just outside Fairbanks) in Alaska," reports photographer Christopher Freemantle. "The intensity grew until very bright, multicoloured and fast moving auroras were visible."

Although the magnetosphere is calm now, more storms arre in tthe offing. A CME hurled toward our planet by the M6-class solar flare of March 9th is expected to reach Earth during the early hours of March 11th. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text, phone.

more images: from Todd Salat north of Anchorage, Alaska; from Dave Headland of Oamaru, Southern New Zealand; from Brian Hall of Edmonton, Alberta; from Ben Podolak of Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, MN; 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;

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 10, 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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