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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: 516.5 km/s
1.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max:
A1 2030 UT May09
24-hr: B7 0155 UT May09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 09 May '07

Newly emerging sunspot 955 poses no threat for solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 12
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 08 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: 3.2 nT
1.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Coronal Holes:

There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun today. 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 09 2203 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 10 % 10 %
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 09 2203 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 15 % 15 %
MINOR 05 % 05 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 20 % 20 %
MINOR 10 % 10 %
SEVERE 05 % 05 %

What's Up in Space -- 9 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.

LAST SHOTS: If you have a solar telescope, point it at the western edge of the sun today. Big sunspot 953 is over the horizon and out of sight, but magnetic filaments jutting above the spot are still in view. "Wonderful activity all the way until the end," says Robert Morlan of La Porte, Indiana, who took this picture on May 8th. "I can't wait for the next spot."

DOUBLE SUN HALO: "Yesterday while shooting an outdoor band practice, I looked up and noticed a double ring around the sun," says Darrell Oake of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He turned his camera to the sky and snapped this shot:

Photo details: Olympus Evolt E-300, ISO 100, 1/2500 sec

"Sunlight was being processed in three different ways in this sighting," says atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "The sun was casting a shadow of the contrail down onto a layer of cirrus cloud. Large ice crystals in the cirrus cloud were refracting or bending light to make the outer 22° halo. And, finally, in very tiny ice crystals or water drops, light rays were interfering and diffracting to make the inner corona ring."

SHOCK DIAMONDS: Recently, NASA engineers tested a revolutionary methane-powered rocket engine. A blue flame blasted across the Mojave desert, heralding a new kind of spacecraft that one day might roam the outer solar system, gathering fuel from planets and moons it visits: full story.

Many readers who've seen the movie want to know, what are those white shapes in the exhaust?

Answer: Shock diamonds. Also known as Mach disks, they are interference patterns formed by shock waves propagating down the engine's exhaust plume. Shock diamonds are formed when exhaust exits a nozzle supersonically and at a pressure different than that of the ambient atmosphere. The most famous photo of shock diamonds shows Chuck Yeager's X-1 rocket plane just moments after he first reached Mach 1 on Oct. 14, 1947.

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 9 May 2007 there were 859 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

April 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters




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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