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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 478.0 km/sec
density: 1.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
1735 UT Mar30
24-hr: B1
1735 UT Mar30
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Mar 08
All three of these old-cycle sunspots are beginning to decay. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 50
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 29 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= 4
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.4 nT
Bz: 2.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit:SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Mar 30 2203 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: 2008 Mar 30 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
20 %
15 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
March 30, 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

EARTH HOUR: What are those twinkling things in the sky? Oh, stars! Last night, millions of people in hundreds cities switched off their lights for one hour to draw attention to the problem of climate change. Skies over urban areas darkened allowing stars overhead a rare appearance. Organizers of Earth Hour declared it "a remarkable global event. Never before have people from so many different backgrounds, cultures and geographies come together to press for urgent action."

Earth Hour photos: from Sorin Hotea of Baia Mare, Maramures, Romania; from Fiona Law of Brisbane, Australia; from A. Hywarren of Ottawa, Ontario; from William McMullen of Ottawa, Ontario; from Salvador Aguirre of Hermosillo, Mexico; from Rosalyn of Highlands Scotland;

JULES VERNE AND THE ISS: Earlier this evening, the unmanned Jules Verne cargo carrier proved to ground controllers that it could navigate on its own around the International Space Station using GPS guidance systems. During the maneuvers, amateur astronomer Christoph Rollwagen photographed the spacecraft flying over his rooftop in Potsdam-Bornstedt, Germany:

In Rollwagen's movie of the flyby, the spacecraft seem to vanish in mid-flight; that happens when they enter the dark shadow of Earth. "The cargo carrier flew in tandem almost 8 seconds in front of the station--a real distance of about 60 km," he says.

The distance will shrink on March 31st when Jules Verne approaches the ISS again, stopping only 11 meters from the docking port and then backing away. This is practice for an actual, automated docking on April 3rd. European sky watchers can see these events with their own eyes as the two spacecraft fly over their continent in the evenings ahead.

more images: from Jirka Bulant of Orlov, the Czech Republic; from Milan Antos of Jablonec nad Nisou, the Czech Republic; from Tom A. Warner of Rapid City, South Dakota; from Stuart Horner of Terrace, B.C. Canada;

AURORA WATCH: "Last night we went out to see the Northern Lights with a group of friends," says Sylvain Serre of Salluit, Nunavik, Quebec. "They were surprised by the view and very enthusiastic!" He took this picture of the group using his Canon 30D:

The display was triggered by a high-speed solar wind stream buffeting Earth's magnetic field. The solar wind continues to blow tonight and NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of geomagnetic activity at high latitudes. Northern sky watchers should remain alert for auroras.

Updated: March 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-sky Cameras]

weekend sunspot images: from Mike Borman of Evansville, Indiana; a sketch from Les Cowley of England; from Pavol Rapavy of Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia; from John Stetson of Falmouth, Maine; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from Mark Sibole of Fife Lake Michigan; from Kyle Austin of Detroit, Michigan; from Malcolm Park of London, England; from P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden; from Ching Yu of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; from Stephen Ames of Hodgenville, KY; from Javier Temprano of Santander, Spain; from Joel Bavais of Anvaing, Belgium; from Paul Haese of Blackwood, South Australia; from Masa Nakamura of Tochigi, Japan; from Matthias Juergens of Gnevsdorf, Germany; from Peter Garbett of Sharnbrook, UK; from Jan Timmermans of Valkenswaard, The Netherlands;

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 30, 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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