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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

velocity: 307.2 km/s
13.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
M5 1650 UT Nov04
24-hr: X1 1620 UT Nov04
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 04 Nov '01
Sunspot 9682 retains a delta class magnetic field that poses a threat for X-flares. Active regions 9684 and 9687 both have gamma-class magnetic fields that harbor energy for M-class eruptions. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

The Far Side of the Sun
This holographic image reveals no large spots on the far side of the Sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 162
More about sunspots
Updated: 03 Nov 2001

Radio Meteor Rate
24 hr max:
21 per hr
Listen to the Meteor Radar!
Updated: 04 Nov 2001

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.3 nT
7.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

Coronal Holes:

A small coronal hole is crossing the Sun's central meridian. Solar wind gusts from the hole could hit Earth's magnetic field by Tuesday. Image credit: Yohkoh Soft X-ray Telescope.
More about coronal holes


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 2001 Nov 04 2200 UT
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 80 % 80 %
CLASS X 25 % 25 %

Geomagnetic Storms: Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at 2001 Nov 04 2200 UT

0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 25 % 10 %
MINOR 15 % 15 %
SEVERE 15 % 75 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 25 % 05 %
MINOR 15 % 10 %
SEVERE 15 % 80 %

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What's Up in Space -- 4 Nov 2001
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SOLAR BLAST: Twisted magnetic fields near sunspot 9684 erupted Sunday, Nov. 4th, at 1620 UT. The explosion sparked an X1-class solar flare and hurled a bright coronal mass ejection (pictured right) toward Earth. The expanding cloud could trigger geomagnetic activity and Northern Lights when it buffets our planet's magnetic field on Nov. 6th or 7th.

RADIATION STORM: Protons accelerated by Sunday's X-flare and coronal mass ejection have reached Earth, and an S3-class solar radiation storm is in progress. The "snow" in the SOHO coronagraph animation above is a result of these energetic protons peppering the spacecraft's CCD cameras.

AURORA WATCH: An explosion near sunspot 9682 at 23:52 UT on Nov 1st hurled a partial halo coronal mass ejection (CME) into space. Although the blast was not squarely Earth-directed, the CME might nevertheless deliver a glancing blow to our planet's magnetosphere on Nov. 4th or 5th. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras during the nights ahead.

SUNSPOT RISE: Using an Olympus digital camera, amateur astronomer Gunther Groenez captured this lovely image (above) of sunrise over Belgium on Nov. 2nd. Visible on the face of the Sun are the large sunspots 9682 and 9684. Click to view the a full-sized photo.

SPOOKY AURORAS: The interplanetary magnetic field tilted south on October 31st and lowered our planet's magnetic defenses against solar wind gusts. A modest geomagnetic storm began just as millions of North Americans were heading outdoors for Halloween. Photographer Mark Simpson captured this image of spooky Northern Lights near Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This brief display on Oct 31st followed a bigger episode a few days earlier. Visit the Oct 28th aurora gallery and see for yourself!


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 4 Nov 2001 there were 340 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

Nov. - Dec. 2001 Earth-asteroid encounters


2001 TC45

 Nov. 8

 29.1 LD

1998 WT24

 Dec. 16

 4.9 LD

2001 AD2

 Dec. 24

 32.4 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.

  • PERSEIDS 2001: Perseid watchers on August 12th spotted meteors, auroras, and a disintegrating Russian rocket! [gallery]
  • MORNING PLANETS: In July and Aug. 2001, the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, and Mercury put on a dazzling early-morning sky show. [gallery]
  • C/2001 A2 (LINEAR): This volatile comet is still visible through small telescopes as it recedes from Earth. [gallery]
  • ECLIPSE SAFARI: Onlookers cried out in delight on June 21, 2001, when the Moon covered the African Sun, revealing the dazzling corona. [gallery]
  • TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE: On Jan. 9, 2001, the full Moon glided through Earth's copper-colored shadow. [gallery]
  • CHRISTMAS ECLIPSE: Sky watchers across North America enjoyed a partial solar eclipse on Christmas Day 2000 [gallery]
  • LEONIDS 2000: Observers around the globe enjoyed three predicted episodes of shooting stars. [gallery]

July 27, 2001: Meteorites Don't Pop Corn -- A fireball that dazzled Americans on July 23rd probably didn't scorch any cornfields, contrary to widespread reports.

June 12, 2001: The Biggest Explosions in the Solar System -- NASA's HESSI spacecraft aims to unravel an explosive mystery: the origin of solar flares.

Feb. 21, 2001: Nature's Tiniest Space Junk -- Using an experimental radar, NASA scientists are monitoring tiny but hazardous meteoroids that swarm around our planet.

Feb. 15, 2001: The Sun Does a Flip -- NASA scientists who monitor the Sun say our star's enormous magnetic field is reversing -- a sure sign that solar maximum is here.

Jan. 25, 2001: Earth's Invisible Magnetic Tail -- NASA's IMAGE spacecraft, the first to enjoy a global view of the magnetosphere, spotted a curious plasma tail pointing from Earth toward the Sun.

Jan. 4, 2001: Earth at Perihelion -- On January 4, 2001, our planet made its annual closest approach to the Sun.

Dec. 29, 2000: Millennium Meteors -- North Americans will have a front-row seat for a brief but powerful meteor shower on January 3, 2001.

Dec. 28, 2000: Galileo Looks for Auroras on Ganymede -- NASA's durable Galileo spacecraft flew above the solar system's largest moon this morning in search of extraterrestrial "Northern Lights"

Dec. 22, 2000: Watching the Angry Sun -- Solar physicists are enjoying their best-ever look at a Solar Maximum thanks to NOAA and NASA satellites.







Editor's Note: Space weather forecasts that appear on this site are based in part on data from NASA and NOAA satellites and ground-monitoring stations. Predictions and explanations are formulated by Dr. Tony Phillips; they are not official statements of any government organ or guarantees of space weather activity.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: January - December 1999 -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: January - December 2000 -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Quarterly Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: January - March 2001 -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Quarterly Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: April - June 2001 -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Quarterly Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: July - Sept 2001 -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

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