You are viewing the page for Mar. 12, 2009
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 353.5 km/sec
density: 5.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2105 UT Mar12
24-hr: A0
1515 UT Mar12
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 12 Mar 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 11 Mar. 2009
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= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 14.7 nT
Bz: 10.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should arrive on or about March 13th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Mar 12 2201 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: 2009 Mar 12 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
30 %
20 %
20 %
05 %
05 %
What's up in Space
March 12, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you sleep through the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.


CLOSE CALL: A piece of space junk about the size of a small marble zipped past the International Space Station today at a relative speed of ~20,000 mph. As a safety precaution, the crew sheltered themselves in the station's Soyuz landing craft. If the debris had hit the ISS, puncturing its hull, the crew could have quickly closed the hatches of the Soyuz and returned to Earth. It missed, and ISS operations have returned to normal. More: from NASA, from CNN.

3D SATELLITE DEBRIS: Regard the maps below. Cross your eyes until the two globes merge and voila!--you can see the remains of Cosmos 2251 and Iridium 33 in spellbinding 3D. (Having trouble? A larger pair may help.)

Tom Wagner of Waterloo, Iowa, created the graphics. "John Burns supplied a KML file that in Google Earth shows where 217 pieces of Iridium 33 and 455 pieces of Cosmos 2521 were located on March 11th at 12:00 UT. Using Google Earth, I produced stereo pairs for cross-eyed viewing and also a red-blue anaglyph for 3D glasses."

"Note the three yellow dots," he points out. "Those are the pieces of Cosmos 2251 predicted to reenter the atmosphere [on March 12th, 28th and 30th]."

VIDEO UPDATE: Iridium 33 was not completely shattered by its collision with Cosmos 2251. A substantial "chunk" of the satellite's body held together, and it is now being seen in Earth orbit. Kevin Fetter video recorded the object as it tumbled across the sky over Brockville, Ontario, on March 11th: movie. An intact satellite, Iridium 28, follows Iridium 33 in the video. Note how one flashes and the other does not.

WORM MOON: The early bird catches the worm, but it takes a Night Owl to catch the Worm Moon. Emy Schade was out after dark on March 10th when she alertly captured the Moon in a bed of clouds over Rio Dulce, Guatemala:

Hal Schade took the picture from a dock on the river's bank. "Dulce suenos, Luna Lombriz (Sweet dreams, Worm Moon)," he says.

The full Moon of March is called the "Worm Moon" because it heralds the coming of northern spring and the first stirrings of earthworms in dormant winter gardens. Robins benefit most from this turn of events, but the Night Owls seem to be enjoying it, too. Click on the links below for more examples.

Worm Moon images: from P. Nikolakakos of Sparta, Greece; from Mark Seibold of Portland, Oregon; from Keith Breazeal of Amador County, California; from Mark and Nancy Staples of Santa Fe, New Mexico; from Doug Zubenel of Cedar Creek near De Soto, Kansas; from Tamas Ladanyi of Veszprem, Hungary; from Elias Chasiotis of Markopoulo, Greece; from Abraham Tamas of Zsámbék, Hungary; from Lord Akela of Ráckeve, Hungary; from Jean-Marc Lecleire of Torcy, France

March 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Marches: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002]

Explore the Sunspot Cycle

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 12, 2009 there were 1037 potentially hazardous asteroids.
March 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 DS43
Mar. 1
6.9 LD
32 m
2009 DD45
Mar. 2
0.2 LD
35 m
2009 DN4
Mar. 3
8.1 LD
27 m
2009 EA
Mar. 4
7.4 LD
24 m
2009 EW
Mar. 6
0.9 LD
23 m
161989 Cacus
Mar. 7
70.5 LD
1.7 km
2009 EH1
Mar. 8
1.6 LD
12 m
2009 ET
Mar. 9
9.5 LD
15 m
2009 DV43
Mar. 10
8.5 LD
80 m
2009 EU
Mar. 11
3.5 LD
21 m
1998 OR2
Mar. 12
69.8 LD
3.3 km
2009 DR3
Mar. 14
7.2 LD
225 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 space weather bureau
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.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
©2019 All rights reserved.