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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: 525.3 km/s
2.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2255 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
M5 1725 UT Aug22
24-hr: M5 1725 UT Aug22
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 22 Aug '05

Sunspot 798 poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 77
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 21 Aug 2005

Far Side of the Sun

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

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.2 nT
1.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2256 UT

Coronal Holes:

A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on August 24th or 25th. Image 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 2005 Aug 22 2203 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 30 % 30 %
CLASS X 05 % 05 %

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 Aug 22 2203 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 30 % 50 %
MINOR 15 % 20 %
SEVERE 01 % 05 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 50 % 60 %
MINOR 15 % 25 %
SEVERE 05 % 10 %

What's Up in Space -- 22 Aug 2005
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Venus and Jupiter are converging in the western sky. Would you like a call when they meet? Sign up for SpaceWeather PHONE.

BEWARE THE MARS HOAX: Believe it or not: On August 27th, Mars will be so close to Earth that it's going to look as big as the full Moon. Not! Contrary to rumor, Mars will look absolutely normal next Saturday. Science@NASA has the full story.

SUNSPOT SURPRISE: Sunspot 798 reminds us why astronauts can never breath easy far from the safety of their habitat or spaceship: The sun can change from quiet to active in a surprisingly short time. On August 18th, sunspot 798 didn't exist. Then, in less than 24 hours, it materialized and grew into a planet-sized behemoth.

Fast-growing sunspot 798, Aug. 18th - 21st. Credit: SOHO.

When sunspots develop at breakneck speed, their magnetic fields can become unstable and explode. Sunspot 798 now poses a threat for M-class solar flares.

LUNAR GREEN FLASH: You've probably heard of green flashes from the sun: Just as the setting sun disappears completely from view, a last glimmer sometimes appears startlingly green. But have you ever heard of a green flash from the Moon? Laurent Laveder of Bretagne, France, photographed one on July 20th:

Look carefully. The entire upper rim of this moon looks green, while the lower rim is red. This happens because our atmosphere acts as a giant lens and prism, splitting the "white moon" into its red, green and blue (RGB) components. The "green moon" hangs higher than the "red moon" by a very small amount--hence the green and red rims. (What happened to the blue rim? Click here.)

"Contrary to what many book and websites say, this effect is far too small to make a green flash," notes atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "Somehow that green rim has to be magnified. We need unusual air conditions--e.g., a layer of warm air close to the ground or, just below you, a temperature inversion layer. Light passing between these layers is bent and color separated more strongly, forming the 'inferior mirage' and 'mock mirage' types of green flash. Laveder's is an unusual variant of the latter."

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 22 Aug 2005 there were 710 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

August 2005 Earth-asteroid encounters



1992 UY4

August 8

16 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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