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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: 439.1 km/s
2.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2256 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
A9 2200 UT Aug23
24-hr: B6 0040 UT Aug23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 23 Aug '06

Sunspot 905 poses no threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 14
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 22 Aug 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: 4.6 nT
0.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2257 UT

Coronal Holes:

A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about August 28th. 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 Aug 23 2203 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 05 % 05 %
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 Aug 23 2203 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 30 % 25 %
MINOR 05 % 05 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 35 % 30 %
MINOR 10 % 10 %
SEVERE 05 % 05 %

What's Up in Space -- 23 Aug 2006
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Did you miss the aurora surprise of August 7th? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.

METEOR MYSTERY: In 1967, NASA's Mariner 4 spacecraft was hit by a surprising flurry of meteoroids--a shower more intense than any Leonid meteor storm. Where did the meteoroids come from? It's been a mystery for 40 years. Now, astronomers may have found a solution. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

IMPACT MOON: In only 30 hours of observing, astronomers at the Marshall Space Flight Center have recently photographed seven explosions of light on the Moon. Each one, they believe, was caused by a meteoroid falling from the sky and hitting the ground. (continued below)

Above: Candidate meteoroid impact sites. [details]

The flashes seen by the Marshall group ranged in brightness from 7th to 9th magnitude, which means they were invisible to the human eye, but easy targets for backyard telescopes. Amateur astronomers are thus invited to join the hunt.

SUNSPOT 905: One of the spots in sunspot group 905 is as big as Earth. Can you guess which one?

Above: Sunspot 905 on Aug. 23rd. Photo credit: Dennis Simmons.

Click here for the answer.

Although this sunspot group is big, with more than one planet-sized core, it poses little threat for strong solar flares. The sunspot's overarching magnetic field is neither tangled nor twisted enough for violent eruptions.

more images: from Guillaume Bertrand of Saint Laurent sur Sèvre, France; from Peter Hoebel of Erlangen, Germany; from Gil Esquerdo of Tucson, Arizona; from Robert Arnold on the Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Simon Krulec of Celje, Slovenia; from Jan Timmermans of Valkenswaard, The Netherlands; from John C McConnell of Maghaberry Northern Ireland.

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 23 Aug 2006 there were 801 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

August 2006 Earth-asteroid encounters




2006 ON1

Aug 20

16.6 LD


230 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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