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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: 344.3 km/s
4.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
B4 2135 UT Nov02
24-hr: B9 0420 UT Nov02
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 02 Nov '06

Sunspot 921 has developed a "beta-gamma" magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit:

Sunspot Number: 46
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 01 Nov 2006

Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals one small sunspot on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.9 nT
3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2040 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 Nov 02 2203 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 20 % 20 %
CLASS X 05 % 05 %

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 Nov 02 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 20 % 20 %
MINOR 10 % 10 %
SEVERE 05 % 05 %

What's Up in Space -- 2 Nov 2006
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Autumn is here, and it's a wonderful time for stargazing. Find out what's up from Spaceweather PHONE.

BIG SUNSPOT: Sunspot 921 is still growing. Now as wide as the planet Jupiter, it presents an attractive and fast-changing target for solar telescopes. Forecasters estimate a 5% chance of M-class flares during the next 24 hours. Stay tuned!

SOLAR FARSIDE: Meanwhile, on the far side of the sun, another sunspot has popped up. It appears in this holographic image taken by the SOHO spacecraft on Halloween:

If the farside spot holds together, it will join sunspot 921 on the Earthside on or about Nov. 7th. (The sun spins on its axis once every 27 days, carrying sunspots from farside to Earthside and back again.) Then the sun will be truly spotty.

What is helioseismic holography? It's a technique astronomers use to see the sun's farside without actually flying around to take a look. The basis is sound: Convective motions in the sun's outer layers make a kind of rhythmic noise. This causes the sun's surface to vibrate like the skin of a drum. By analyzing vibrations seen on the Earthside, astronomers can deduce what must be on the farside: details.

CLOUD SHADOWS: The shadows in this picture are not coming from the fingers of photographer David Williams, but rather from clouds miles overhead:

"I walked outside this morning and noticed a faint halo around the sun," says Williams. "Then I saw a whole lot more--rays and shadows mixed in. It was a remarkable sight and a bit confusing, but definitely worth photographing!"

EXTRA: Look carefully at Dave's photo of the sun halo (click here) and answer this question: Which is higher, the ice crystals that made the halo or the thick clouds that made the shadows?

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 2 Nov 2006 there were 821 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

Oct-Nov 2006 Earth-asteroid encounters




2006 UC185

Oct. 23

6.3 LD


95 m
2006 UZ215

Oct. 27

7.6 LD


35 m
2006 UJ185

Oct. 30

0.7 LD


10 m
2006 UA216

Oct. 31

6.0 LD


90 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.

Recommended: Earth & Sky

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;


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

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