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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 539.7 km/sec
density: 0.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1501 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Mar14
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Mar14
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 14 Mar 09
A sunspot might be emerging in the circled region. Readers woth solar telescopes should take a look. Credit: SOHO/MDI

more images: from Matthias Juergens of Gnevsdorf, Germany
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 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= 2 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: 3.1 nT
Bz: 2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1503 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole is buffeting Earth's magnetic field. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Mar 14 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 14 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
March 14, 2009

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


NEW SUNSPOT: A new sunspot may be emerging in the southeastern quadrant of the sun. Readers, if you have a solar telescope, take a look. Images: #1, #2.

SPACE DEBRIS UPDATE: The piece of orbital space junk that buzzed the ISS on March 12th was bigger than originally reported. Initial reports quoted 0.35 inches; the correct size was 5 inches. If the metal fragment had struck one of station's pressurized modules, the crew would have had only 10 minutes of air: full story.

SKI HALOS: Friday the 13th was a lucky day at the Killington ski resort in Vermont. A bank of icy clouds drifted directly in front of the sun, producing a sun halo of such intense beauty, it stopped skiers in their tracks:

"I was simply astounded!" says photographer Steven Benatar. "The amazing halo lasted for about 45 minutes. Thankfully I had my handy Canon SD780 to snap some quick pics as evidence."

Benatar says he's seen pictures of sun halos before on the internet, but "they are much better in person!"

more images: from Alex Conu of Clinceni, Romania; from Jim Saueressig of Emporia, Kansas; from Lois Reinert of Tracy, Minnesota

TITAN TRANSIT: On March 12th, Saturn's giant moon Titan cast its shadow on the ringed planet's cloudtops. In the Phillipines, astrophotographer Christopher Go was waiting and took this well-timed shot through his 11-inch Celestron:

Click to view the movie

"Titan skimmed over Saturn's north pole with its shadow following behind," says Go. The ruddy disk of Titan is located just above the much darker shadow, he points out. "Also, I was also to capture the EZn white spot--a pale storm raging near Saturn's equator." To see it, play the movie.

UPDATED: Comet Lulin Photo Gallery
[Comet Hunter Telescope: review] [Comet Lulin finder chart]

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 14, 2009 there were 1041 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.
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