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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: 336.5 km/s
1.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max:
A8 1710 UT May03
24-hr: C4 0000 UT May03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 03 May '07

Sunspot 953 poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 33
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 02 May 2007

Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the farside of the sun, mage credit: SOHO/MDI

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.2 nT
1.3 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 May 7th. 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 May 03 2203 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 15 % 15 %
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 May 03 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 -- 3 May 2007
Subscribe to Space Weather News

What's the name of that star? Where's Saturn? Get the answers from mySKY--a fun new astronomy helper from Meade.

HALLEY'S METEORS: Earth is entering a stream of dust from Halley's Comet, and this will produce a meteor shower (the "eta Aquarids") peaking on May 6th. Unfortunately, moonlight will interfere with the display, wiping out all but the brightest meteors. People who wake up before dawn on Sunday and look east might nevertheless catch a few specks of Halley's comet disintegrating in Earth's atmosphere: full story.

TWO YEARS IN TWO SECONDS: No two full Moons are exactly alike. To prove it, Laurent Laveder spent the last two years taking pictures of every full Moon over his home in France, and here is the result:

Photo details: Canon 350D, 2x Barlow, Megrez 80/480 refractor, 1/250 s, 200 ASA

The Moon rocks and rolls, shrinks and swells, never presenting precisely the same face twice. "In the full-sized animation, you'll see 2 years condensed in only 2 seconds!" says Laveder. "Sorry for the mal de mer."

Wait a minute. Didn't they teach us in school that the same side of the Moon always faces Earth? Yes, but that's only approximately true. Because the Moon's orbit is slightly elliptical (5%) and slightly tilted (5o), we view each month's full Moon from a slightly different distance and angle. The rocking motions are called libration; because of them we can observe not just 50% but rather 59% of the Moon's surface.

3D BONUS! Put on your 3D glasses. Spaceweather reader Hanno Falk of Flensburg, Germany, combined two of Laveder's photos to create a striking stereo image of the full Moon. If you don't have 3D glasses, try the crossed-eyed version instead.

ELLERMAN BOMBS: "I was photographing sunspot 953 this morning, when suddenly four bright white dots just appeared in front of my eyes from nowhere," says P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden. "It was really an amazing moment." The white dots he saw were Ellerman Bombs:

Photo details: Orion 80ED, Canon Digital Rebel XT, SolarMax60 filter.

Sometimes called "microflares," Ellerman Bombs are magnetic explosions about one-millionth as powerful as a true solar flare. They are named after Ferdinand Ellerman who studied the tiny blasts in the early 20th century. Of course, "tiny" is relative. A single Ellerman bomb releases about 1026 ergs of energy--equal to ten million atomic bombs. Sunspot 953 is crackling with these blasts, which makes it very entertaining to watch.

movie: "Here is a one-hour movie I made using my Coronado Personal Solar Telescope," says Christoph Otawa of Geretsried, Germany. "You can see the filament moving and a small Ellerman bomb going off."

more images: from T. Johnstone and J. Stetson of South Portland, Maine; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Rogerio Marcon of Campinas - Brasil; from Jack Newton of Osoyoos British Columbia; from Robert Arnold on the Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Eva Seidenfaden of Trier, Germany; from Branden Morrissette of South Portland, Maine.

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 May 2007 there were 859 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

April 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters




2006 VV2

Mar. 31

8.8 LD


2 km
2007 FY20

Apr. 2

5.3 LD


50 m
2007 DS84

Apr. 14

16 LD


325 m
2007 GU1

Apr. 16

2.1 LD


45 m
2007 HA

Apr. 17

6.5 LD


300 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

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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