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3 Mar 2003
(Source: Space Weather News March 3, 2003

METEOR UPDATE: A rare Antarctic meteor shower due on March 1st was unimpressive. "We had all eyes out last night for the shower but saw only one meteor," reports astronaut Don Pettit from the International Space Station. Ham radio operators in Australia listened for 144 MHz echoes from the shower; they heard nothing out of the ordinary. "In fact, signals were poorer than usual," notes Rob Quick of Canberra. Stay tuned for further updates.

ASTEROID FLYBY: A small 25-meter wide asteroid, 2003 DW10, is flying past Earth today only 1.4 times farther from our planet than the Moon. John Rogers of the Camarillo Observatory captured an image of the 17th magnitude space rock on March 2nd. Rogers tracked the asteroid, not the stars, so 2003 DW10 appears as a pointlike speck in the middle of the image. The surrounding stars are streaked.

BIG SUNSPOT: The face of the Sun has been mostly blank for some weeks, but now a large sunspot has appeared. Active region 296 stretches eight Earth-diameters from end to end. It's easy to see, but never stare directly at the Sun. Use safe solar observing techniques instead.

COMET NEAT: Last month Comet NEAT swung perilously close to the Sun--a lovely event recorded by SOHO coronagraphs. Contrary to some internet rumors, the comet's orbit was not altered by its apparent encounter with a coronal mass ejection. Comet NEAT is not on a collision course with Earth. The comet is now emerging from the Sun's glare into southern-hemisphere skies. Ian Cooper of New Zealand took a picture of Comet NEAT at sunset on Feb. 28th. "The tail was 5 degrees long in 10 x 50 binoculars," says Ian. "The coma was about as bright as a 2nd or 3rd magnitude star." Photo details: 50mm lens @ f/1.4, 12 sec. exp. on Fuji XTRA 400 film. Glen Oroua, Manawatu, North Island, New Zealand.

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Last Updated: 6 Mar 2003