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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: 488.1 km/s
2.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1757 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
B1 1905 UT Nov28
24-hr: B3 1505 UT Nov28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 28 Nov '06

New sunspot 927 is emerging rapidly. Credit:

Sunspot Number: 30
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 27 Nov 2006

Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals one mid-sized sunspot on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.9 nT
2.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1758 UT

Coronal Holes:

Earth is exiting a solar wind stream flowing fron the indicated coronal hole. 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 Nov 28 2204 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 Nov 28 2204 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 15 % 15 %
MINOR 05 % 05 %
SEVERE 05 % 05 %

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

What's Up in Space -- 28 Nov 2006
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Did you sleep through the auroras of November? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.

PLANETARY ALIGNMENT: Mark your calendar. On Dec. 8th though 11th, the planets Jupiter, Mercury and Mars will converge, forming a tight triangle in the early-morning sky. All three planets will fit together in the field of view of ordinary binoculars. Don't miss it! Sky maps: Dec. 8, 9, 10, 11.

RING-SHAPED SUNSPOT: A new sunspot has materialized--and it's an odd one. Sunspot 927 is shaped like a ring. John Nassr of the Philippines photographed it this morning:

The ring is about twice as wide as Earth and makes an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. It's worth watching. The magnetic field of this 'spot might be arranged in an unusual way, leading to instabilities and eruptions. Stay tuned.

NOT A UFO: Last week when the Leonid meteor shower was underway, Joel Bavais of Ath, Belgium, grabbed his camera and went outside, looking for shooting stars. This is what he saw:

Photo details: Canon 300D, 200 ASA, 30s exp.

"I took the picture by putting my camera on a garden table and pointing it straight up," says Bavais. "The streaks of light were almost directly overhead."

Were they Leonids? Cosmic rays? UFOs?

"None of the above," says atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "These are urban light pillars."

He explains: "That night above Ath there was an icy fog full of flat plate crystals. The tiny crystals mirrored the lights of the city beneath into sets of light pillars. The higher the crystals, the closer the reflection glints approached the zenith making the pillars appear to converge overhead: illustration. Why the breaks in the lines of light? There were several layers of ice crystals with gaps between them."

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 28 Nov 2006 there were 834 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

Nov-Dec 2006 Earth-asteroid encounters




2006 UQ216

Nov. 7

5.6 LD


~15 m
2006 WB

Dec. 4

6.9 LD


~130 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 --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

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: (NASA/Marshall) INSPIRE: #1; (Stan Nelson of Roswell, New Mexico) meteor radar: #1, #2;


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

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