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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: 405.6 km/s
5.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
B1 2055 UT Sep07
24-hr: B4 0750 UT Sep07
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 07 Sep '06

Sunspot 909 is growing rapidly and could soon pose a threat for solar flares. Credit:

Sunspot Number: 53
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 06 Sep 2006

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: 2.4 nT
0.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT

Coronal Holes:

There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun today. Credit: NOAA GOES-13.


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 2006 Sep 07 2203 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 2006 Sep 07 2203 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 10 % 10 %
MINOR 05 % 05 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 15 % 15 %
MINOR 05 % 05 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

What's Up in Space -- 7 Sep 2006
Subscribe to Space Weather News

Aurora season is beginning. Are you ready? Check out Spaceweather PHONE.

PLUTO PETITION: A strange thing happened on August 24, 2006. After years of debate, the IAU finally settled the question of Pluto, declaring it is not a planet. The strange thing is, people won't stop debating. Here's your chance to join the fray: Sign the Pluto Petition.

BIG FULL MOON: Can't sleep? It must be the moonlight. Tonight's full Moon is the biggest and brightest of 2006.

What makes it big? Answer: The Moon's lopsided orbit. One side of the Moon's orbit is 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other side. The two sides are called, respectively, perigee, from Greek, meaning "close to Earth," and apogee, meaning "far from Earth." Tonight's Moon is at perigee.

To illustrate the difference, apogee vs. perigee, Anthony Ayiomamitis of Athens, Greece, took these two pictures when the Moon was at opposite ends of its elliptical orbit. The perigee Moon is about 12% larger.

EXTRA! Tonight's wide Moon is going to glide through Earth's shadow, producing a 90-minute partial lunar eclipse visible from eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. Only 19% of the Moon will be in deep shadow, but that's enough for a pretty display. Maximum eclipse takes place at 1851 UT on Sept. 7th: animation.

SUNSPOT WATCH: After two weeks transiting the far side of the sun, photogenic sunspot 904 is back--and it is still photogenic:

Image credit: Andreas Murner of Lake Chiemsee, Bavaria, Germany

That's not all. Two more sunspots are rapidly emerging just ahead of sunspot 904. "They looked spectacular yesterday through the eyepiece of my H-alpha telescope," says Mike Taormina of Palatine, Illinois: image. The new sunspots are growing rapidly, so stay tuned.

more images: from Nick Howes of London, England; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK; from John C McConnell of Maghaberry, Northern Ireland;

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 7 Sep 2006 there were 803 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

Aug-Sept 2006 Earth-asteroid encounters




2006 QM111

Aug 31

0.4 LD


13 m
2006 QQ56

Sept. 2

7.9 LD


29 m
2006 QV89

Sept. 5

7.9 LD


40 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. See also Snow Crystals.

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 --a gallery of up-to-date solar pictures from the National Solar Data Analysis Center at the Goddard Space Flight Center. See also the GOES-12 Solar X-ray Imager.

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

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

Observable Comets -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

What is the Interplanetary Magnetic Field? -- A lucid answer from the University of Michigan. See also the Anatomy of Earth's Magnetosphere.

Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from NASA's ACE spacecraft. How powerful are solar wind gusts? 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 1998 to 2001

Mirages: Mirages in Finland; An Introduction to Mirages;

NOAA Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999; 2000; 2001; 2002; 2003; 2004; 2005; Jan-Mar 2006;

Space Audio Streams: (University of Florida) 20 MHz radio emissions from Jupiter: #1, #2, #3, #4; (NASA/Marshall) INSPIRE: #1; (Stan Nelson of Roswell, New Mexico) meteor radar: #1, #2;

Recent International Astronomical Union Circulars


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

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