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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: 355.8 km/s
9.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2252 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
A7 1850 UT Sep11
24-hr: B1 1435 UT Sep11
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 11 Sep '06

These sunspots pose no threat for strong solar flares. Credit:

Sunspot Number: 50
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 10 Sep 2006

Far Side of the Sun

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

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.8 nT
3.2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2252 UT

Coronal Holes:

A solar wind stream flowing from ths indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on Sept 16th or 17th. 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 Sep 11 2203 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 05 % 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 2006 Sep 11 2203 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 15 % 10 %
MINOR 05 % 05 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

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

What's Up in Space -- 11 Sep 2006
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The space shuttle is in orbit. We can call you when it's about to fly over your hometown: Spaceweather PHONE.

ZUBENELGENUBI: Just saying it will make you smile: "Zubenelgenubi" (zoo-BEN-al-je-NEW-bee). This funny-sounding word is the name of a double star in the constellation Libra. Tonight Zubenelgenubi is eye-catchingly close to Jupiter. Look southwest just after sunset: sky map.

ALIEN PLANET: Yesterday in British Columbia, astrophotographer Jack Newton spotted an alien planet:

Just kidding, says Newton. It's really the sun "viewed through smoke from the Tripod fire in Washington state."

Elsewhere, observers without so much smoke in the way are enjoying marvelous views of sunspot 904 and its companions. Images: from Perissinotto Enrico of Premariacco, Italy; from Michael Borman of Evansville, Indiana; from John Stetson of Falmouth, Maine; from Mike Strieber of Las Vegas, Nevada.

COLORFUL WEB: Sept. 5th began with a dewy morning in Bretagne, France, and photographer Laurent Laveder decided to "walk in the wet grass, excited by the promise of a nice picture." He found "a spider having its dinner" in the middle of a rainbow-colored web:

Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains the colors: "When covered by early morning dew, spider webs sparkle with the colors of a true rainbow. However. Laurent's colors are different--the spider silk itself produces them. A spider spins silk of long molecules that are stretched and coiled to make it strong but also elastic. These molecules somehow, we don't understand the details, diffract narrow beams of sunlight to make the colors. Look even closer and they split into intricate colored beads."

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 11 Sep 2006 there were 803 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

Aug-Sept 2006 Earth-asteroid encounters




2006 QM111

Aug 31

0.4 LD


13 m
2006 QQ56

Sept. 2

7.9 LD


29 m
2006 QV89

Sept. 5

7.9 LD


40 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

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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