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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: 328.4 km/s
2.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1557 UT

X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max:
B1 1225 UT Jan08
24-hr: B1 1225 UT Jan08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1545 UT

Daily Sun: 08 Jan '07

Big sunspots 930 and 933 are stable and quiet. Solar activity remains low. Credit:

Sunspot Number: 46
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 07 Jan 2007

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: 2.2 nT
1.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1557 UT

Coronal Holes:

There are no coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. 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 Jan 07 2204 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 01 % 01 %
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 Jan 07 2204 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 10 % 10 %
MINOR 01 % 01 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

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

What's Up in Space -- 8 Jan 2007
Subscribe to Space Weather News

Did you sleep through the auroras of Dec. 14th? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.

BRIGHT COMET: "What a change!" says Doug Zubenel of Topeka, Kansas. "I just got in from another session with awesome Comet McNaught. It has brightened noticeably in the last 24 hours. I and three other people saw it easily with the naked eye just after sunset, and the view through my 6-inch binocular telescope was breathtaking."

Comet McNaught is so bright, it shines right through the evening twilight:

Photo details:
Canon 20D, 100mm lens, ISO100, 1 second exposure.

"It was clear to see with the naked eye," says photographer Thorsten Boeckel of Bavaria, Germany.

Because the comet is so close to the sun, it can only be seen for a brief time around sunset and sunrise. Step outside at the end of the day and look west into the twilight. The comet lies just to the right of Venus. In the morning, it hangs low in the east, emerging just ahead of the rising sun. Scan the horizon with binoculars to find it beaming through the glow of dawn.

Comet McNaught Photo Gallery
[finder charts: morning and evening] [ephemeris] [3D orbit]

STRANGE PILLAR: Last night (Jan. 7th) in the Netherlands, a strange and beautiful pillar of light appeared among the clouds. "It was right above a Dow chemical plant in Terneuzen," reports Rijk-Jan Koppejan of the Philippus Lansbergen Observatory. A flame of burning gas at the plant beamed intense light into the sky, producing a sight akin to a sun pillar--no sun required:

Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains: "Like sun pillars, these 'candles in the sky' are formed by reflections from millions of plate-shaped ice crystals in high clouds. Sometimes, reflections of refinery and oil-rig flares are seen tens of miles away." This one was photographed as far away as Belgium.

more images: from Bart De Bruyn of Westdorpe, The Netherlands; from Marc Persan in Gent, Belgium; from Lode Verhelst of Ursel, Belgium.

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 8 Jan 2007 there were 832 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

Jan 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters




2006 UQ17

Jan. 2

11 LD


175 m
1991 VK

Jan. 21

26 LD


2.0 km
5011 Ptah

Jan. 21

77 LD


1.6 km
2006 CJ

Jan. 31

10 LD


385 m
2006 AM4

Feb. 1

5.2 LD


180 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

X-ray images of the Sun: GOES-12 and GOES-13

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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