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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: 290.1 km/s
1.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max:
B2 1815 UT May04
24-hr: B2 1815 UT May04
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 04 May '07

Sunspot 953 poses a slight threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 33
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 03 May 2007

Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the farside of the sun, mage credit: SOHO/MDI

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.7 nT
2.3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

Coronal Holes:

A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on May 7th. 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 2007 May 04 2203 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 15 % 15 %
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 2007 May 04 2203 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 10 % 20 %
MINOR 05 % 10 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 15 % 25 %
MINOR 05 % 15 %
SEVERE 01 % 05 %

What's Up in Space -- 4 May 2007
Subscribe to Space Weather News

What's the name of that star? Where's Saturn? Get the answers from mySKY--a fun new astronomy helper from Meade.

HALLEY'S METEORS: Earth is entering a stream of dust from Halley's Comet, and this will produce a meteor shower (the "eta Aquarids") peaking on May 6th. Unfortunately, moonlight will interfere with the display, wiping out all but the brightest meteors. People who wake up before dawn on Sunday and look east might nevertheless catch a few specks of Halley's comet disintegrating in Earth's atmosphere: full story.

3D MOON: Put on your 3D glasses and behold the Moon:

Click to view the full disk: small, medium, large.

This anaglyph was created by Spaceweather reader Hanno Falk of Flensburg, Germany, who combined two photos of the full Moon taken by French photographer Laurent Laveder to create the 3D effect.

How is this possible? Stereo images require viewing the subject from two different points of view, yet both of Laveder's photos were taken from a single location--France. The secret is lunar libration. As shown in this movie, the full Moon rocks back and forth from month to month providing the necessary angles for stereo viewing. Falk simply combined two moons from two different months.

If you don't have 3D glasses, try the cross-eyed version instead. Instructions: Cross your eyes until the two images merge, then relax and allow your focus to drift to infinity. The longer you stare in this fashion, the more vivid the 3D effect becomes.

SOLAR ACTIVITY: "There's a whole lot of shaking going on around sunspot 953," reports Gary Palmer of Los Angeles, California, who took this picture on May 2nd using his Coronado SolarMax90:

Click here to start the movie: 9MB

Gary stitched together 13 high-resolution snapshots of the sunspot to create a panoramic IMAX-style movie. In it we see magnetic instabilities rippling up and down the sunspot's central filament as well as many point-like flashes of light. The flashes are "Ellerman Bombs"--magnetic explosions about one-millionth as powerful as a true solar flare. They are named after Ferdinand Ellerman who studied the tiny blasts in the early 20th century. Of course, "tiny" is relative. A single Ellerman bomb releases about 1026 ergs of energy--equal to about ten million atomic bombs. Sunspot 953 is crackling with these blasts, which makes it very entertaining to watch.

"Here is a one-hour movie I made using my Personal Solar Telescope," adds Christoph Otawa of Geretsried, Germany. "You can see the filament moving and a small Ellerman Bomb going off."

more images: from James Witt of Phoenix, Arizona; from T. Johnstone and J. Stetson of South Portland, Maine; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Rogerio Marcon of Campinas - Brasil; from Jack Newton of Osoyoos British Columbia; from Robert Arnold on the Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Eva Seidenfaden of Trier, Germany.

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 4 May 2007 there were 859 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

April 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters




2006 VV2

Mar. 31

8.8 LD


2 km
2007 FY20

Apr. 2

5.3 LD


50 m
2007 DS84

Apr. 14

16 LD


325 m
2007 GU1

Apr. 16

2.1 LD


45 m
2007 HA

Apr. 17

6.5 LD


300 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.

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 -- from the National Solar Data Analysis Center

Recent Solar Events -- a summary of current solar conditions from

What is the Magnetosphere?

The Lion Roars -- visit this site to find out what the magnetosphere sounds like.

List of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

Observable Comets -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

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

How powerful are solar wind gusts? Not very! 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 1996 to 2006

Mirages: Mirages in Finland; An Introduction to Mirages;

NOAA Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999; 2000; 2001; 2002; 2003; 2004; 2005; Jan-Mar 2006; Apr-Jun 2006; Jul-Sep 2006; Oct-Dec 2006.

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

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