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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: 337.5 km/s
2.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
A3 2240 UT Oct14
24-hr: A4 0050 UT Oct14
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 14 Oct '05

The sun is blank today--no sunspots. Solar activity should remain low. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 11
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 13 Oct 2005

Far Side of the Sun

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

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.5 nT
0.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

Coronal Holes:

A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole might buffet Earth's magnetic field briefly on Oct. 14th or 15th. Image 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 2005 Oct 13 2203 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 2005 Oct 13 2203 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 15 % 25 %
MINOR 05 % 10 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 30 % 35 %
MINOR 15 % 20 %
SEVERE 01 % 05 %

What's Up in Space -- 14 Oct 2005
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TAIKONAUT SIGHTINGS: Two Chinese astronauts--a.k.a. "Taikonauts"--are orbiting Earth onboard the Shenzhou 6 spacecraft. Would you like to see them? It's possible. The spacecraft shines like a 3rd-magnitude star, and it will be making early-morning flybys of many northern US and Canadian towns this weekend. Check Heavens Above for predictions.

SOLAR SOUNDS: Who says the sun is quiet? This week Thomas Ashcraft of New Mexico heard it making "swoosh" noises.

Ashcraft is an amateur astronomer with a shortwave radio telescope. On Oct. 12th he tuned his receiver to 18.7 MHz and pointed the antenna at the sun. Although solar activity was nominally low, he recorded some loud radio bursts: listen.

The source of these emissions was, apparently, old sunspot 798. Last month, sunspot 798 was enormous and very active. Did you see the auroras of Sept. 11th? Those were caused by sunspot 798.

Since then the 'spot has decayed. All that's left is a dark filament separating two vast regions of weak positive and negative magnetism:

The ghost of sunspot 798 on Oct. 12th. Credit: Andreas Murner of Lake Chiemsee, Bavaria, Germany

This "ghost" of sunspot 798 is incapable of strong solar flares, but still capable of radio bursts. Compared to flares, radio bursts are low-energy; even a ghost can produce them. Will sunspot 798 "swoosh" again? Stay tuned.

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 are on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.

On 14 Oct 2005 there were 710 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

August 2005 Earth-asteroid encounters



1992 UY4

August 8

16 LD

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

The Sun from Earth -- daily images of our star from the Big Bear Solar Observatory

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.

Aurora Forecast --from the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute

Daily Solar Flare and Sunspot Data -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Lists of Coronal Mass Ejections -- from 1998 to 2001

What is an Iridium flare? See also Photographing Satellites by Brian Webb.

What is an Astronomical Unit, or AU?

Mirages: Mirages in Finland; An Introduction to Mirages;

NOAA Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: 1999; 2000; 2001; 2002; 2003; 2004; Jan-Mar., 2005;

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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