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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 421.6 km/sec
density: 1.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2140 UT Mar24
24-hr: B4
0245 UT Mar24
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 24 Mar 08
New sunspots 987 and 988 are growing very rapidly and pose a threat for B- and C-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 14
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 23 Mar 2008
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= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 1.7 nT
Bz: 1.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on or about March 29th. Credit:SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Mar 24 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
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: 2008 Mar 24 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
30 %
05 %
15 %
01 %
10 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
35 %
05 %
20 %
05 %
15 %
What's up in Space
March 24, 2008
Where's Saturn? Is that a UFO--or the ISS? What's the name of that star? Get the answers from mySKY--a fun new astronomy helper from Meade.   mySKY

JULES VERNE AND THE ISS: Europe's Jules Verne spacecraft is orbiting Earth just ahead of the International Space Station (ISS) and this week the pair can be seen flying in tandem across the night sky. Jules Verne comes first, glowing about as brightly as a 1st-magnitude star, followed by the ISS five minutes later. When should you look? Click here for simple flyby predictions.

NOT-SO-QUIET SUN: The sun may be at a low point of its 11-year cycle, but there was plenty of solar activity this weekend. On March 22nd, Texas astronomer Larry Alvarez looked through his his Coronado SolarMax90 and watched a "monster prominence" spew over the sun's southeastern limb:

Click to view a 2.2 MB movie

A day later on March 23rd, Easter Sunday, two new sunspots broke through the sun's surface and a dark magnetic filament appeared. Lesson: A 1027-ton nuclear explosion (a star) is never truly quiet. Readers with solar telescopes, prepare for action.

more images: from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from Mark Walters of Powys, Wales, UK; from John Nassr of Baguio, the Philippines; from James Kevin Ty of Manila, the Philippines; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from John Stetson of South Portland, Maine; from Mike Borman of Evansville, Indiana; from Erika Rix of Zanesville, Ohio

HAWAIIAN BLAST: Around 3:00 a.m. on March 19, 2008, Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupted explosively for the first time since 1924. Volcano researcher Steve O'Meara (shown below in a self portrait) was one of the last persons to see Halemaumau, the volcano's summit crater, still intact before the big blast:

Steve left the summit around 11:00 p.m. on March 18th, shortly after he felt the ground shake and heard solid rock crack beneath his feet. "It was eerie," he says. "After that my eyes were wide open." The explosion took most scientists by surprise, though Steve's wife and fellow researcher, Donna, called it right. After a heavy rain, she predicted an explosive event--and that's just what happened. A follow-up photo shows the volcano on the evening of March 19th as it continued to erupt steam and dark ash.

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. [comment]
On March 24, 2008 there were 943 potentially hazardous asteroids.
March 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 DH5
Mar. 5
7.1 LD
60 m
2008 EZ7
Mar. 9
0.4 LD
18 m
2008 ED8
Mar. 10
1.4 LD
64 m
2008 EF32
Mar. 10
0.2 LD
6 m
2008 EM68
Mar. 10
0.6 LD
12 m
1620 Geographos
Mar. 17
49 LD
3 km
2003 FY6
Mar. 21
6.3 LD
145 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 bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
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.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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