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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: 365.2 km/s
1.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max:
B3 1945 UT May02
24-hr: B5 1600 UT May02
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 02 May '07

The magnetic field of sunspot 953 has decayed a little since yesterday. It now poses a threat for M-class rather than X-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 32
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 01 May 2007

Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals one sunspot on the farside of the sun, mage credit: SOHO/MDI

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 1.9 nT
0.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Coronal Holes:

A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on May 6th or 7th. 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 02 2203 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 10 % 10 %
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 May 02 2203 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 10 % 10 %
MINOR 05 % 05 %
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 -- 2 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.

FANTASTIC FLYBY: NASA has released stunning new images taken by the New Horizons spacecraft during its recent flyby of Jupiter. Highlights include auroras on Io and the best-ever color photo of Jupiter's "Little Red Spot." Get the full story from Science@NASA.

TWO YEARS IN TWO SECONDS: Take a look at tonight's full Moon--it's unique. They all are! Laurent Laveder has spent the last two years taking pictures of every full Moon over his home in France, and here is the result:

Photo details: Canon 350D, 2x Barlow, Megrez 80/480 refractor, 1/250 s, 200 ASA

The Moon rocks and rolls, shrinks and swells, never presenting precisely the same face twice. "In the full-sized animation, you'll see 2 years condensed in only 2 seconds!" says Laveder. "Sorry for the mal de mer."

Wait a minute. Didn't they teach us in school that the same side of the Moon always faces Earth? That's only approximately true. Because the Moon's orbit is slightly elliptical (5%) and slightly tilted (5o), we view each month's full Moon from a slightly different distance and angle. The rocking motions are called libration; because of them we can observe not just 50% but rather 59% of the Moon's surface.

ELLERMAN BOMBS: "I was photographing sunspot 953 this morning, when suddenly four bright white dots just appeared in front of my eyes from nowhere," says P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden. "It was really an amazing moment."

The white dots he saw were Ellerman Bombs:

Photo details: Orion 80ED, Canon Digital Rebel XT, SolarMax60 filter.

Sometimes called "microflares," Ellerman Bombs are magnetic explosions about one-millionth as powerful as a true solar flare. They are named after Ferdinand Ellerman who studied the tiny blasts in the early 20th century. Of course, "tiny" is relative. A single Ellerman bomb releases about 1026 ergs of energy--equal to ten million atomic bombs. Sunspot 953 is crackling with these blasts, which makes it very entertaining to watch.

more images: from Rogerio Marcon of Campinas - Brasil; from Jack Newton of Osoyoos British Columbia; from Robert Arnold on the Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Eva Seidenfaden of Trier, Germany; from Branden Morrissette of South Portland, Maine; from Sylvain Weiller of Saint Rémy lès Chevreuse, France; from Joel Bavais of Ath, Belgium;

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 2 May 2007 there were 859 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

April 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters




2006 VV2

Mar. 31

8.8 LD


2 km
2007 FY20

Apr. 2

5.3 LD


50 m
2007 DS84

Apr. 14

16 LD


325 m
2007 GU1

Apr. 16

2.1 LD


45 m
2007 HA

Apr. 17

6.5 LD


300 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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