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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 476.6 km/sec
density: 4.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B5
2040 UT Jun03
24-hr: M6
0210 UT Jun03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 03 Jun 07
Sunspot 960 has a delta-class magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 45
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 02 June 2007
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no large spots on the farside of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 4 unsettled
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Updated: 2007 Jun 03 2105 UT
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.1 nT
Bz: 2.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated:Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on June 3rd or 4th. Credit: SOHO Extreme Ultraviolet Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2007 Jun 02 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
60 %
60 %
15 %
15 %
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 Jun 02 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
25 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
30 %
15 %
15 %
10 %
10 %
What's up in Space
June 3, 2007
Would you like to hear about solar flares--while they're flaring? Get instant alerts from SpaceWeather PHONE.

AURORA WATCH: Earth is entering a solar wind stream, and this could spark a mild geomagnetic storm. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

ACTIVE SUNSPOT: Sunspot 960 has developed a "beta-gamma-delta" magnetic field that harbors energy for powerful X-class solar flares. NOAA forecasters estimate a 15% chance of such a flare during the next 24 hours. A big eruption could trigger ion storms, radio fadeouts and, if all goes well, auroras. Stay tuned!

Amateur astronomer Franck Charlier sends this picture from his backyard in Marines, France:

Sunspot 960 has a lot to offer. As shown above, several of the sunspot's dark magnetic islands are larger than our entire planet (Earth inserted for comparison). From end to end, the complex stretches 140,000 km, its sheer size making it an attractive target for backyard solar telescopes.

It is also a good target for shortwave radios. Sunspot 960 is crackling with M-class solar flares, and these explosions may be detected by radio listeners in two ways: (1) Solar flares sometimes produce delightfully audible radio bursts at frequencies greater than about 15 MHz. (2) The same solar flares can cause shortwave fadeouts at lower frequencies. For instance, an M3-flare from sunspot 960 on June 1st caused a shortwave fadeout over Europe. In the Czech Republic, Mirek Najman captured the event in this plot of a fading 3.5 MHz radio beacon.

more images: from Sylvain Weiller of Saint Rémy lès Chevreuse, France; from artist Mark Seibold of Troutdale, Oregon; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK; from P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden; from Pavol Rapavy of Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia; from "Mahindru" of Oakleigh, Australia; from Joel Bavais of Ath, Belgium; from Didier Favre of Brétigny, France; from Anthony Ayiomamitis of Northeastern outskirts of Athens, Greece; from Mark Crawford of London, UK; from Javier Temprano of Santander, Spain.

COCCINELLA SEPTEMPUNCTATA: When Martin Wagner of Sonnenbuehl-Genkingen, Germany, looked at the viewscreen of his Canon EOS 300D and saw the sunspot pictured below, "I thought a mega-flare was about to erupt!" (continued below)

Photo details: Canon EOS 300D, 35-70mm Minolta lens, 400ASA, 1/200s

But there was no danger of an explosion. Indeed, this is not even a sunspot. What is it? Wagner zoomed out to discover the answer: Click here.

Strange but true: The markings on a ladybug's back resemble sunspots while the dappled texture of the shell mimics solar granulation. The species in Wagner's photo is Coccinella septempunctata, the 7-spotted ladybug, so now we know the sunspot number, too!

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.
On June 3, 2007 there were 863 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
1862 Apollo
May 8
72 LD
2.4 km
2007 JD
May 11
12 LD
100 m
2007 JZ2
May 14
7.0 LD
30 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 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.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2007, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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