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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: 417.0 km/s
3.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
B6 1840 UT Sep27
24-hr: C1 1205 UT Sep27
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 27 Sep '03
Sprawling sunspot 464 has a beta-gamma magnetic field that poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Image credit: SOHO MDI

The Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals perhaps one large sunspot on the far side of the Sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 127
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 26 Sep 2003

Coronal Holes:

Earth could encounter a solar wind stream from the indicated coronal hole on Sept. 29th or 30th. Image credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
More about coronal holes

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.8 nT
0.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT


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 2003 Sep 27 2200 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 25 % 25 %
CLASS X 05 % 05 %

Geomagnetic Storms: Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at 2003 Sep 27 2200 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 35 % 30 %
MINOR 04 % 04 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 30 % 35 %
MINOR 25 % 20 %
SEVERE 20 % 15 %

What's Up in Space -- 27 Sep 2003
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AURORA OUTLOOK: Earth is exiting a solar wind stream that sparked some bright auroras this past week. Geomagnetic activity is subsiding now, but it should renew on Sept. 29th or 30th when another solar wind stream is expected to arrive.

Would you like a phone call when auroras appear over your home town? Sign up for Spaceweather PHONE.

SPRAWLING SUNSPOT: Sunspot 464 is wider than fifteen planet Earths lined up in a row, which means it's easy to see. But never look directly at the sun; always practice safe solar observing techniques. Astrophotographer Robert Sandy of Roanoke County, Virginia, took this picture of the sprawling spot on Sept. 27th using a sun-filtered 3 1/2" Questar telescope and an Olympus 4040 digital camera .

Above: a movie of growing sunspot 464. Sept. 21-26. Credit: SOHO.

ZODIACAL LIGHTS: This is a good time of year for people in the northern hemisphere to look for early-morning Zodiacal Lights. Also known as the "false dawn" because they resemble a hint of sunrise, Zodiacal Lights appear an hour or so before true dawn--a pale luminous triangle jutting upward from the eastern horizon.

Canadian Dominic Cantin took this recent picture of Zodiacal Lights side by side with auroras. The two kinds of lights are unrelated. Auroras are caused by geomagnetic storms. Zodiacal Lights are caused by sunlight-reflecting dust particles adrift among the planets.

Early-morning Zodiacal Lights are most easily seen in Sept. and Oct. because those are months when the dusty plane of our solar system pokes over the horizon almost vertically. Look for them on dark mornings after a new moon; rural areas with clear skies offer the best view.

PLANETS ALIGN: On Wednesday morning, Sept. 24th, a lovely trio appeared in the eastern sky: Jupiter, the crescent moon and Mercury. Check out these pictures of the event from Steve Irvine of Big Bay, Ontario; from Vic and Jen Winter of Warrensburg, Missouri; from Pal Brlas of Szeged, Hungary; from Chuck Hunt of BrookPark, Ohio; from John Shiflett of Fredericksburg,Virginia; from William Biscorner of Memphis, Michigan; from Steve Poole of Wilson, Wyoming; from Craig Ruff of Boulder, Colorado; from Gianni Tumino of Monte Lauro, Sicily; from Stan Richard of Iowa; from Nick Carbonara of New York City.

Did you miss the alignment? Next time get a reminder call from Spaceweather PHONE.

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 are on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.

On 27 Sep 2003 there were 533 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

September 2003 Earth-asteroid encounters


2003 RS1

Sept. 2

13 LD

2003 RB5

Sept. 4

11 LD

2003 RM10

Sept. 5

10 LD

2003 SO84

Sept. 13

17 LD

2003 RB

Sept. 28

38 LD

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 --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 Soft 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

The Sun from Earth -- daily images of our star from the Big Bear Solar Observatory

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.

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

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

Lists of Coronal Mass Ejections -- from 1998 to 2001

What is an Iridium flare? See also Photographing Satellites by Brian Webb.

Vandenberg AFB missile launch schedule.

What is an Astronomical Unit, or AU?

Mirages: Mirages in Finland; An Introduction to Mirages;

NOAA Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: 1999; 2000; 2001; 2002; Jan-Mar., 2003; Apr-Jun., 2003;

Recent International Astronomical Union Circulars






Editor's Note: Space weather and other forecasts that appear on this site are formulated by Dr. Tony Phillips. They are not official statements of any government agency (including NASA) nor should they be construed as guarantees of space weather or other celestial activity.

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Dr. Tony Phillips
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