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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: 511.9 km/s
1.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2240 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
A0 2200 UT Jul12
24-hr: A3 1205 UT Jul12
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 12 Jul '06

Tiny sunspot 899 poses no threat for solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 13
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 11 Jul 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: 4.0 nT
2.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 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 2006 Jul 12 2203 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 01 % 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 2006 Jul 12 2203 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 20 % 20 %
MINOR 10 % 10 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 25 % 25 %
MINOR 10 % 10 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

What's Up in Space -- 12 Jul 2006
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The space shuttle and the ISS are orbiting Earth. Would you like to see them? Sign up for Spaceweather PHONE.

AURORA WATCH: A solar wind stream is blowing against Earth but, so far, it is blowing too weakly to cause a geomagnetic storm. Auroras are unlikely tonight.

SPACE STATION TRANSIT: Is that a fly crawling across the sun? No, it's a 400,000 lb space station--the ISS:

French astronomer Laurent Laveder photographed the transit on July 9th. "I was so nervous," he says. The space station travels 17,000 mph and takes less than 2 seconds to cross the solar disk. There was no room for error, but "I was in the right place at the right time."

CUMULO-MENACE: If you think this cloud looks menacing, you're right. It's a cumulonimbus cloud. Inside it, water vapor is condensing into water droplets, releasing heat to power violent thunderstorms, lightning and even tornadoes.

"Shortly after the photo was taken (on July 8th), a severe thunderstorm hit the greater Tucson area," reports photographer Robert M. Elowitz. Cumulonimbus clouds can rise to staggering heights, 70,000 ft or more. If you see one, admire the view, then take cover.

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 12 Jul 2006 there were 796 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

July 2006 Earth-asteroid encounters




2004 XP14

Jul 3

1.1 LD


600 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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