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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: 536.4 km/s
0.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
B1 1650 UT Jul06
24-hr: M2 0835 UT Jul06
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 06 Jul '06

Sunspots 898 is still big, but it may be in the early stages of a break-up. Stay tuned for updates. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 28
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 05 Jul 2006

Far Side of the Sun

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

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.2 nT
3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 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 2006 Jul 06 2203 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 20 % 20 %
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 Jul 06 2203 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 20 % 20 %
MINOR 05 % 05 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 20 % 25 %
MINOR 05 % 15 %
SEVERE 01 % 10 %

What's Up in Space -- 6 Jul 2006
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The space shuttle is orbiting Earth. Would you like to see it? Sign up for Spaceweather PHONE.

STATION SIGHTINGS: If you notice a bright, unwavering light gliding through the evening sky this week, you've probably spotted the International Space Station. Quick--point your telescope. With a little magnification, you can see solar arrays, living quarters, and maybe even the space shuttle Discovery paying a visit. Example: Tom Gwilym of Renton, Washington, took this picture of the ISS using a 12-inch telescope on July 1st.

SOLAR RADIO: Giant sunspot 898 is splitting in two, sending shock waves through the sun's atmosphere and radio bursts toward Earth. Yesterday in New Mexico, radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft recorded an impressive 18 MHz outburst: listen.

Photo credit: Philippe Vercoutter of Ypres, Belgium.

If you have a solar telescope, keep an eye on this sunspot. It has been active for days and shows no signs of quieting.

more images: from Philippe Vercoutter of Ypres, Belgium; from Pavol Rapavy of Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from Gianluca Valentini of Rimini, Italy; from Jan Timmermans of The Netherlands.

RED vs. RED JR: The long-awaited collision between Jupiter's Great Red Spot and Red Jr is underway. So far, both storms are holding their own:

Photo credit: Christopher Go of Cebu City, the Philippines.

Closest approach "should happen late next week," says Philippine astronomer Christopher Go who has been tracking the storms's convergence. Although no one knows what will happen, researchers have offered some possibilities: Storm bands may peel off, forming new turbulent curly-cues. Red Jr might lose its red color, turning white. Or the two storms could pass unscathed and unaltered.

See for yourself: Jupiter is an easy target for backyard telescopes. It appears in the evening sky, popping out of the twilight about halfway up the southern sky: finder chart.

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 6 Jul 2006 there were 796 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

July 2006 Earth-asteroid encounters




2004 XP14

Jul 3

1.1 LD


600 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

SOHO Farside Images of the Sun from SWAN and MDI.

The Latest SOHO Coronagraph Images -- from the Naval Research Lab

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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