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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: 305.8 km/s
3.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max:
C2 1740 UT May16
24-hr: C2 1740 UT May16
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 16 May '07

Sunspot 956 is growing quickly, and now poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 37
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 15 May 2007

Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals an old friend, photogenic sunspot 953 on the farside of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.7 nT
2.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

Coronal Holes:

A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole will reach Earth on May 18th or 19th. 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 May 16 2203 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 35 % 35 %
CLASS X 10 % 10 %

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 May 16 2203 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 15 % 15 %
MINOR 01 % 01 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

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

What's Up in Space -- 16 May 2007
Subscribe to Space Weather News

What's the name of that star? Where's Saturn? Get the answers from mySKY--a fun new astronomy helper from Meade.

RADIO-ACTIVE SUNSPOT: "After a long quiet spell, the sun is making noise again," reports Thomas Ashcraft of New Mexico. Yesterday, using a 21 MHz ham rig, he recorded the roaring sounds of a Type III solar radio burst: listen.

A broadband radio telescope at the University of Florida Radio Observatory detected the same burst. The plot, below, shows how energy was spread across the shortwave spectrum:

David Thomas of Lynchburg, Virginia, recorded yet another outburst on May 15th using his RadioJove amateur radio telescope: data.

The source of all this activity is young sunspot 956. The sunspot emerged near the sun's eastern limb less than 48 hours ago and has been growing at breakneck speed every since. In addition to the radio bursts, the sunspot also produced a beautiful coronal mass ejection this morning: movie.

Ham radio operators may wish to point their Yagis toward the sun. Sunspot 956 is crackling with small solar flares and may produce more radio bursting in the days ahead. Stay tuned!

more images: from Pavol Rapavy of Rimavska Sobota,Slovakia; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany.

GREENSBURG, KANSAS: Photographer Mike Theiss is a frequent contributor of sky photos to A few days ago, he turned his camera from the heavens to Earth during a sobering visit to Greensburg, Kansas, a small town almost completely destroyed by a monster tornado on May 4th.

"The power of the wind from this EF-5 tornado was evident," says Theiss. "I documented a fork stuck in a tree, a Kansas license plate ripped off a car and stuck in a tree, millions of splintered pieces of wood and much more. There was amazing evidence of winds over 200 mph everywhere." (continued below)

"Every single vehicle I saw was peppered with rocks, boards and other debris," he continues. "The only safe place would have been underground, but I think that might not have been very safe either because I saw basements that were filled with tons of debris from the house collapsing in on itself."

"My experience at ground zero was depressing yet uplifting. Among all the destruction, the only reaction I witnessed among residents was positive excitement about how great the city will be once it's rebuilt. The entire community pulled together and began cleanup immediately. One idea being tossed around is to 'go green'--i.e., to use wind, solar energy and other resources at hand to power the reconstructed city. This would make Greensburg the first 100% green city in the USA. What an amazing idea!"

Greensburg Photo Gallery
[donate to the Green for Greensburg Fund]

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 May 2007 there were 861 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

May 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters




1862 Apollo

May 8

72 LD


2.4 km
2007 JD

May 11

12 LD


100 m
2007 JZ2

May 14

7.0 LD


30 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

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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