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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: 397.2 km/s
2.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2253 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
B1 2030 UT Sep13
24-hr: B7 0415 UT Sep13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 11 Sep '06

These sunspots pose no threat for strong solar flares. Credit:

Sunspot Number: 41
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 12 Sep 2006

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: 3.2 nT
0.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2253 UT

Coronal Holes:

A solar wind stream flowing from ths indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on Sept 16th or 17th. 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 Sep 13 2204 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 Sep 13 2204 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 -- 13 Sep 2006
Subscribe to Space Weather News

The space shuttle is in orbit. We can call you when it's about to fly over your hometown: Spaceweather PHONE.

AURORA SURPRISE: "When I stepped outside last night (Sept. 12), I received a pleasant shock: intense green auroras shining through the clouds," reports Martin McKenna of Maghera, Northern Ireland. There was no particular reason for the display: Solar activity is low and Earth's magnetic field is quiet. Why the green? It must be aurora season.

18 PLANETS: Have you ever heard of the planet Hygea? It's listed in the 1850 Annual of Scientific Discovery along with 17 other planets:

Courtesy Joe Pollock, Appalachian State University. [full text]

In those days, large asteroids such as Hygea, Ceres and Vesta were widely deemed planets. They appeared so in textbooks and scientific journals. Adding asteroids to the other known planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, gave a grand total of 18. Imagine the mnemonic: "My Very Educated [insert ten adjectives here] Mother Just Served Us Noodles."

The asteroids were eventually demoted. It was a long, drawn-out affair, marked by decades of disagreement and confusion. (Sound familiar?) By 1900, however, order was restored to the Solar System: the planet count was down to eight.

And then came Pluto...

SUNSPOT 909: To the human eye, the tiny, scattered spots of sunspot group 909 are hardly impressive. But when viewed through a telescope tuned to the red glow of solar hydrogen--wow. "The area is so active with plage that the spots are literally drowning in it," says Camaran Ashraf of Claremont, California. He took this picture yesterday:

The seething magnetic froth (that's what plage is) does not signal an impending flare, just "a unique visual and photographic opportunity." If you have a solar telescope, take a look.

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 13 Sep 2006 there were 803 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

Aug-Sept 2006 Earth-asteroid encounters




2006 QM111

Aug 31

0.4 LD


13 m
2006 QQ56

Sept. 2

7.9 LD


29 m
2006 QV89

Sept. 5

7.9 LD


40 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.

Recommended: Earth & Sky

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

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;


This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips: email

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