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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: 680.6 km/s
1.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max:
A5 1930 UT Jan03
24-hr: B1 1225 UT Jan03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 03 Jan '07

Returning sunspot 930 sparked intense auroras in mid-December, but it no longer poses a threat for strong solar flares. Credit:

Sunspot Number: 31
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 02 Jan 2007

Far Side of the Sun

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

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.8 nT
4.2 nT north
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


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 03 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 03 2204 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 15 % 15 %
MINOR 10 % 10 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 20 % 20 %
MINOR 15 % 15 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

What's Up in Space -- 3 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 is buffeting Earth's magnetic field and causing mild geomagnetic storms. Sky watchers from Scandinavia to Alaska should be alert for auroras.

WOLF MOON HALO: According to folklore, tonight's full moon is the Wolf Moon. So this must be a Wolf Moon Halo:

Photo details: Nikon D200, ISO100, 2 sec

"A bright and colorful ice halo surrounded the Moon tonight (Jan. 2nd)," says photographer Stachu Strzyzewski of Lesko, Poland. "It lasted for hours and people really paid attention on it. It was great to see on our frosty, starry Carpathian night!"

more images: from Andy Skinner of Yosemite National Park, California; from Koen Miskotte of Ermelo, the Netherlands; from Tim Reinman of Detroit, Michigan; from Chuck Hunt of Brook Park, Ohio; from Daniel Beaulne of Belle River, Ontario.

BONUS: You don't need a camera to take a good picture of the Moon. Here's proof. Artist Erika Rix of Zanesville, Ohio, made the sketch at the eyepiece of her telescope using nothing but black paper and white crayons.

SPACE STATION FLARE: On New Year's Day, "the International Space Station (ISS) made a nice pass over Devil's Tower, Wyoming," reports Tom A. Warner. "There was a brief period lasting about 10 seconds when the ISS grew significantly brighter"--it flared:

Photo details: Nikon D2X, 12 mm lens, f/4, 400 ISO, 3 x 30 sec

What would make a space station flare? Probably sunlight glinting off a flat surface. Lots of flat surfaces have been added to the ISS lately. In Sept. 2006, the crew of the space shuttle Atlantis (STS-115) unfurled a new thermal radiator and added two 112-foot solar wings to the station. As the station grows, glints and flares are increasingly likely.

See for yourself: Check Heavens Above for ISS flyby times or get a personalized phone call when the station is about to fly over your home town.

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 3 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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