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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: 455.6 km/s
5.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
B1 2135 UT May19
24-hr: B1 1150 UT May19
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 19 May '05

Departing sunspot 759 poses little threat for Earth-directed solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 46
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 18 May 2005

Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals one modest sunspot group on the far side of the Sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.0 nT
2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

Coronal Holes:

There are no big coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun today. Image credit: SOHO Extreme Ultraviolet 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 May 18 2204 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 35 % 20 %
CLASS X 05 % 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 May 18 2204 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 25 % 20 %
MINOR 10 % 10 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 25 % 25 %
MINOR 15 % 15 %
SEVERE 05 % 05 %

What's Up in Space -- 19 May 2005
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Did you miss Saturday night's aurora storm? Next time get a wake-up call: Sign up for SpaceWeather PHONE.

JUPITER & THE MOON: When the sun sets tonight, Thursday, May 19th, step outside and face southeast. You'll see Jupiter and the Moon, together, bright enough to attract attention even before the sky fades to black. The pair will be up all night long: sky map.

Got a telescope? Point it at Jupiter. You can see the giant planet's cloud belts and its four largest moons. This beautifully-detailed image comes from Alan Friedman, who took the picture using "a 10-inch scope in good seeing conditions from downtown Buffalo, NY," he says.

AURORA WEEKEND: Auroras in Nebraska? California? Arizona? Believe it. On Saturday night, May 14th, Northern Lights rippled across the United States during an intense geomagnetic storm. The display was triggered by a solar coronal mass ejection (CME) hitting Earth's magnetic field. So much for the quiet sun.

Above: Auroras over Blair, Nebraska. "This was the best show I have ever seen," says photographer Mike Hollingshead.

May 14th-15th Aurora Gallery

GOODBYE... and thanks for the auroras. Sunspot 759, the source of the May 15th geomagnetic storm, is about to disappear. It's being carried over the western limb of the Sun by the star's 27-day rotation. Any further eruptions from this 'spot will not be directed at Earth.

Above: Departing sunspot 759, photographed on May 18th by Gary Palmer of Los Angeles, CA.

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 19 May 2005 there were 696 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

May-July 2005 Earth-asteroid encounters



2005 JT1

May 11

6.9 LD

2005 ED318

May 23

6.3 LD

2000 AG6

July 22

8.7 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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