Science news and information about the Sun-Earth environment.


Solar Wind

velocity: km/s
More about these data

Updated: Today at UT

NOTE! ACE solar wind velocity measurements are currently unreliable (too low) because the spacecraft's sensors have been overloaded by today's proton storm. Click here for SOHO Proton Monitor data that give a more accurate estimate of current solar wind parameters.

Sunspot Number:
More about sunspots

Daily Sun: 13 Jul 2000
There are three sunspot groups that pose a substantial threat for powerful solar flares. 9077 and 9070 exhibit complex beta-gamma-delta magnetic field configurations, while 9069 has developed a somewhat simpler beta-gamma magnetic field.

Coronal Holes:

There are no important coronal holes visible in this Yohkoh soft x-ray image of the Sun.
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

FLARE 24 hr 48 hr

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

24 hr 48 hr

High latitudes
24 hr 48 hr

Today in Space --
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Space Radiation Storm: read this Science@NASA headline to learn more about the July 14th solar flare and the coming geomagnetic storm! [more]

Solar Flare! On July 14, 2000, a powerful X5-class solar flare from active region 9077 triggered an ongoing proton storm in the vicinity of Earth. The explosion also produced an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection. Material from the CME could arrive in the neighborhood of our planet as early as Saturday, triggering auroras and other geomagnetic disturbances.

Above: The many speckles on this ESA/NASA SOHO coronagraph image are caused by energetic particles from the solar flare striking the camera's CCD detector. The expanding halo around the Sun is a fast-moving coronal mass ejection.

The radiation storm appears to be an S3-class event which, according to NOAA space weather prediction scales, can cause the following effects on satellites: single-event upsets, noise in imaging systems, permanent damage to exposed components/detectors, and decrease of solar panel currents.

Above: This SOHO animation of the July 14th flare was recorded by the spacecraft's Extreme-ultraviolet Imaging Telescope at 195 angstroms.
A larger version of this movie nicely shows the flare, followed by a torrent of energetic particles that arrived about 15 minutes later, creating snow on the images as the particles bombarded the camera's electronic detectors.

Aurora Alert: Sky watchers in both hemispheres are advised to watch for auroras during nighttime hours on July 14-15. The best times to see the Northern and Southern Lights are usually near local midnight. Tonight's nearly-full Moon will outshine faint Northern Lights, but intense aurora could be visible in spite of the lunar interference.

Material from a coronal mass ejection on July 11th
[170 kb SOHO animation] could arrive in the neighborhood of our planet on July 14th. Also, this morning's CME is expected to reach Earth by July 15th or 16th. High geomagnetic activity is expected to persist for 24 to 48 hours.


Space Weather News
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June 22, 2000: Coming Soon: Better Space Storm Warnings -- Scientists have developed a model for predicting when coronal mass ejections will hit Earth's magnetosphere.

June 13, 2000: From the Drawing Board to the Stars -- In this scientific human interest story, Dr. Jim Burch discusses his experience as Principal Investigator for NASA's newest space weather satellite.

June 7, 2000: Solar Storm Warning -- a coronal mass ejection detected on June 6, 2000, heads for Earth.

June 5, 2000: First Light for a Space Weather Satellite -- see electrifying pictures from a unique weather satellite dedicated to space storms.

May 17, 2000: Dance of the Planets -- Scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center used data from the ESA/NASA SOHO wide field coronagraph to produce an mpeg animation of the planets aligning with the Sun from April 27 through May 15. It's a must-see!

May 16, 2000: A Christmas Star for SOHO -- On May 17, 2000, the bright planets Venus and Jupiter passed less than 42 arcseconds apart. The spectacle, similar to the "Christmas Star" conjunction of 2 BC, was visible in coronagraph images from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.

May 9, 2000:
Solar Ups and Downs -- It was a rare sight so near Solar Max -- the Sun was nearly featureless on May 7, 2000.


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. -- Sunspots and the Solar Cycle, from Science@NASA.

Solar and Heliospheric Observatory -- Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.

The X-ray Sun -- recent images from the Soft X-ray Telescope on board the Yohkoh solar observatory.

Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from NASA's ACE spacecraft.

More Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory Proton Monitor.

What's the Aurora Doing Today? -- real-time images of aurora from NASA's Polar spacecraft, hosted at the Marshall Space Flight Center

White Light Solar Images -- pictures and magnetograms from the Big Bear Solar Observatory.

Current Solar Images --a gallery of up-to-date solar pictures from the National Solar Data Analysis Center at the Goddard Space Flight Center.

Aurora Forecast --from the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute

USGS Magnetic Observatories -- near real-time geomagnetic data from the US Geological Survey.

Thursday's Classroom -- Weekly lesson plans and activities about breaking science news.

Daily Sunspot Summaries -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Daily Solar Flare and Sunspot Data -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

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

Quarterly Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: April - June 2000 -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

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