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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: 667.1 km/s
1.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max:
A6 1850 UT Jan16
24-hr: C3 0240 UT Jan16
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 16 Jan '07

Sunspot 938 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit:

Sunspot Number: 16
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 15 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: 7.1 nT
2.5 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 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 2007 Jan 16 2204 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 2007 Jan 16 2204 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 25 % 20 %
MINOR 15 % 10 %
SEVERE 05 % 05 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 30 % 30 %
MINOR 15 % 15 %
SEVERE 10 % 10 %

What's Up in Space -- 16 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.

AURORA WATCH: Sky watchers from Scandinavia to Alaska should be alert for auroras tonight. A high-speed solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetic field and causing geomagnetic storms at high latitudes.

COMET DOWN UNDER: Want to visit Australia? Now would be a good time. The brightest comet in 40 years is heading Down Under. "For us in the southern hemisphere, Comet McNaught put on its first real show last night," reports photographer Mike Salway of New South Wales, Australia, where the comet was visible to the unaided eye at sunset:

Photo details: Canon 350D, 300mm lens, f/5, ISO 100, 1.3 sec exposure

Experienced observers place the comet's magnitude between -4 and -4.5, in other words, a smidgen brighter than Venus. It pops out of the twilight in the western sky as soon as the sun begins to set: finder chart.

Just last week, McNaught was a northern comet, but over the weekend it passed by the sun, moving north to south. En route it became so bright that many people saw it in broad daylight. Imagine... a comet in blue sky.

Now Comet McNaught is emerging from the glare, and it should remain a spectacular fixture in sunset skies of the southern hemisphere for weeks to come. Stay tuned!

Comet McNaught Photo Gallery
[finder chart] [ephemeris] [orbit]

MEANWHILE ON THE SUN: "Everybody is looking for the comet, but is anybody still monitoring the Sun?" wonders Philippe Vercoutter of Ieper, Belgium who took this picture on Jan. 15th:

His photo shows "considerable activity around new sunspot 938." Although the sunspot is small, a long stare through the eyepiece of a solar telescope rewards the observer with surges of bright light and slowly-waving magnetic fields. It's the next best thing to a Great Comet.

more images: from Franck Charlier of Marines, Val d'Oise - France

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 16 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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