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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Science news and information about the Sun-Earth environment.


Solar Wind
speed: 468.5 km/s
5.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max:
B1 2040 UT Jan01
24-hr: B1 2040 UT Jan01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 01 Jan '07

Sunspot 930, the source of four X-flares in mid-December, has returned. Note: NOAA has renumbered this sunspot 933. Credit:

Sunspot Number: 28
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 31 Jan 2006

Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 15.2 nT
5.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT

Coronal Holes:

A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should hit Earth on Jan. 2nd. Credit: GOES-13 Solar X-ray Imager.


Solar Flares: Probabilities for a medium-sized (M-class) or a major (X-class) solar flare during the next 24/48 hours are tabulated below.
Updated at 2007 Jan 01 2204 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 05 % 05 %
CLASS X 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 2007 Jan 01 2204 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 30 % 30 %
MINOR 15 % 15 %
SEVERE 05 % 05 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 40 % 40 %
MINOR 20 % 20 %
SEVERE 10 % 10 %

What's Up in Space -- 1 Jan 2007
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Did you sleep through the auroras of Dec. 14th? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.

AURORA WATCH: A solar wind stream will hit Earth on Jan 2nd or 3rd, and the impact may cause a mild geomagnetic storm. Northern sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

CORRECTION: Contrary to what you may have read on earlier today, this sunspot is not sunspot 930:

Photo credit: John Nassr of the Philippines.

It looks like sunspot 930, it's where 930 should be (almost), but it is not 930. It is sunspot 933.

The real sunspot 930 is just now emerging over the sun's eastern limb, as shown in this image from Franck Charlier of Marines, Val d'Oise, France. We care about sunspot 930 because last month it unleashed four X-flares and sparked intense auroras. For the past two weeks it has been transiting the far side of the sun, but now it's back, possibly to stir up more space weather.

While sunspot 930 was on the sun's far side, a look-a-like sunspot sprouted up just ahead of it--hence the confusion. Apologies from Dr. Tony Phillips!

COTTONWOOD SUNRISE: Why wake up at dawn? Because you never know what's waiting outside...

"On Dec. 23rd, the pink rays of the early morning sun lit up the ice-covered branches of our cottonwood tree," reports Lois Reinert of Tracy, Minnesota. "The spectacular sight lasted about two minutes before the sun rose into a cloud bank. What a magical moment during this special season!"

Photo details: Nikon Coolpix 5700, 1/82 sec, f/3.5

Cottonwood trees are perfect for this kind of display. They thrive where the ground is moist and the air is humid. In winter, frost and ice love to accumulate on their widely-spaced branches.

Got a cottonwood? Get behind it at dawn. There may be a magical moment waiting in the shade.

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 1 Jan 2007 there were 832 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

Jan 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters




2006 UQ17

Jan. 2

11 LD


175 m
1991 VK

Jan. 21

26 LD


2.0 km
5011 Ptah

Jan. 21

77 LD


1.6 km
2006 CJ

Jan. 31

10 LD


385 m
2006 AM4

Feb. 1

5.2 LD


180 m
Notes: LD is a "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 Web Links

NOAA Space Environment 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. (European Mirror Site)

Daily Sunspot Summaries -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Current Solar Images -- from the National Solar Data Analysis Center

X-ray images of the Sun: GOES-12 and GOES-13

Recent Solar Events -- a summary of current solar conditions from

What is the Magnetosphere?

The Lion Roars -- visit this site to find out what the magnetosphere sounds like.

List of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

Observable Comets -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from NASA's ACE spacecraft.

How powerful are solar wind gusts? Not very! Read this story from Science@NASA.

More Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory Proton Monitor.

Lists of Coronal Mass Ejections -- from 1996 to 2006

Mirages: Mirages in Finland; An Introduction to Mirages;

NOAA Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999; 2000; 2001; 2002; 2003; 2004; 2005; Jan-Mar 2006; Apr-Jun 2006; Jul-Sep 2006; Oct-Dec 2006.

This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips: email

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