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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: 471.4 km/s
4.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2256 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
B5 2245 UT Aug22
24-hr: B6 1325 UT Aug22
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 22 Aug '06

New sunspot 905 is crackling with C-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 24
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 21 Aug 2006

Far Side of the Sun

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

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.4 nT
0.3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2257 UT

Coronal Holes:

A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about August 28th. 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 Aug 22 2203 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 05 % 05 %
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 Aug 22 2203 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 25 % 20 %
MINOR 05 % 05 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 30 % 30 %
MINOR 10 % 10 %
SEVERE 05 % 05 %

What's Up in Space -- 22 Aug 2006
Subscribe to Space Weather News

Did you miss the aurora surprise of August 7th? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.

VARIABLE STAR: Not all stars are as constant as the sun. One called Chi Cygni shrinks and swells every 400 days, varying in brightness by a factor of 15,000. At maximum, the star is big enough to swallow the orbit of Mars. Want to see it? You're in luck. Chi Cygni is at maximum right now. Look for it tonight poking out of the neck of Cygnus the Swan. [photo] [sky map]

MORNING PLANETS: This morning, standing atop Storm Mountain among the scorched remains of the Bobcat Gulch Wildfire, Darrell Spangler of Colorado watched Venus, Saturn, Mercury and the 1% crescent Moon come up just before the sun. "It was a beautiful view."

Tomorrow, the Moon will be gone, and Mercury will hurriedly follow a day later. That leaves only Saturn and Venus to decorate the dawn sky. Those two planets are converging for a very close encounter on August 27th: sky map. Mark your calendar!

BRIGHT AURORAS: How bright were those auroras? Bright enough to turn the twilight green:

Juha Ollila of Oulu, Finland, took this picture during a geomagnetic storm on August 19th. Some Finlanders described the display as "the brightest" and "most beautiful" they'd ever seen. The setting sun was no match for it. When night fell and the auroras came out in full, Ollila looked straight up and saw this. Oh, to be in Finland!

August 2006 Aurora Gallery

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 22 Aug 2006 there were 801 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

August 2006 Earth-asteroid encounters




2006 ON1

Aug 20

16.6 LD


230 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

SOHO Farside Images of the Sun from SWAN and MDI.

The Latest SOHO Coronagraph Images -- from the Naval Research Lab

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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