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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: 404.3 km/s
2.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
A6 2025 UT Nov29
24-hr: C1 1515 UT Nov29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 29 Nov '06

The size and shape of sunspot 927 continue to change rapidly. Credit:

Sunspot Number: 34
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 28 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: 10.9 nT
0.9 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT

Coronal Holes:

There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the Sun today. 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 29 2204 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 2006 Nov 29 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 20 % 20 %
MINOR 05 % 05 %
SEVERE 05 % 05 %

What's Up in Space -- 29 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.

BROKEN RING: Just yesterday sunspot 927 broke through the surface of the sun and formed a curious-looking ring. Images: #1, #2. Today it has transformed itself into something completely different:

Sunspot 927 on Nov. 29th. Credit: John Nassr of the Philippines.

The fast-changing spot remains an inviting target for backyard solar telescopes. Rapid changes could lead to magnetic instabilities and eruptions. Stay tuned.

OUTSTANDING HALOS: When people in Washington D.C. stepped out for lunch on Monday, Nov. 27th, the ones who looked up witnessed a sensational display of luminous halos and arcs around the sun. "I was astounded by what I saw," says Jon Brook who stopped his car to take this picture:

The scene repeated itself in Maryland and Virginia. It was not only complex and beautiful, but also remarkably widespread.

"Outstanding halo displays need high quality ice crystals specially aligned in the sky," explains atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "This display has it all: random, plate, column, the rare Parry and the extremely rare and controversial Lowitz aligned crystals were present."

"Lowitz arcs were first sketched in 1790 but until even a few years ago, scientists doubted their existence. Now, thanks to digital cameras and the Internet, skywatching is popular and each year brings several Lowitz sightings. Have you seen your Lowitz arc yet? Check the simulation and search for them."

more images: from Jim Rosenstock of Washington DC; from James Willinghan of Elkidge, Maryland;

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 29 Nov 2006 there were 835 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

Nov-Dec 2006 Earth-asteroid encounters




2006 UQ216

Nov. 7

5.6 LD


~15 m
2006 WX29

Nov. 20

0.9 LD


~12 m
2006 WV

Nov. 21

0.9 LD


~16 m
2006 WV29

Nov. 26

3.7 LD


~21 m
2006 WC30

Nov. 28

6.2 LD


~64 m
2006 WQ127

Dec. 2

7.9 LD


~94 m
2006 WB

Dec. 5

7.0 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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