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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: 517.7 km/s
1.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
A1 2115 UT Oct15
24-hr: A1 2115 UT Oct15
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 15 Oct '06

The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit:

Sunspot Number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 14 Oct 2006

Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 1.8 nT
0.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT

Coronal Holes:

A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on or about Oct. 19th. 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 Oct 15 2203 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 01 % 01 %
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 Oct 15 2203 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 10 % 10 %
MINOR 05 % 05 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

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

What's Up in Space -- 15 Oct 2006
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Autumn is here, and it's a wonderful time for stargazing. Find out what's up from Spaceweather PHONE.

MILD AURORAS: A solar wind stream hit Earth on Oct. 13th and sparked mild auroras over Scandinavia and Alaska. There's a slim chance of more high-latitude auroras tonight as the solar wind speed remains high.

SOLAR ACTIVITY: Yes, solar observing is an art form. Inspired by what he saw through his sun-filtered telescope, Mark Seibold made this spirited pastel sketch of today's arched prominence:

Rendered in pastel: the view through a SolarMax40 solar telescope.

Although the scene is frozen in time, it gives a distinct impression of movement. Indeed, says Mark, "I made the sketch while watching the prominence change dynamically for 20 minutes."

more images: from Franck Charlier of Marines, Val d'Oise - France; from John Stetson of Falmouth, Maine; from Les Cowley of the United Kingdom; from Erika Rix of Zanesville, Ohio; from Michael F. Borman of Evansville, Indiana; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland;

WHITE RAINBOW: On Oct. 8th, a ghostly white rainbow materialized at the Pacifica Pier in Pacifica, California. "The fisherman couldn't care less," says photographer Mila Zinkova, "but I couldn't stop taking pictures."

Photo credit: Mila Zinkova in Pacifica, California.

The correct name of this phenomenon is "fogbow." Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains: "Always look for fogbows when a low sun starts to shine through mist or fog. They are almost colorless and sparkle and shimmer in the misty light. Fogbows are formed like rainbows, with tiny fog droplets taking the place of much larger raindrops. The light waves squeezed inside the small drops interfere to produce the broad diffuse bow."

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 15 Oct 2006 there were 803 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

Aug-Sept 2006 Earth-asteroid encounters




2006 QM111

Aug 31

0.4 LD


13 m
2006 QQ56

Sept. 2

7.9 LD


29 m
2006 QV89

Sept. 5

7.9 LD


40 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.

Recommended: Earth & Sky

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: (University of Florida) 20 MHz radio emissions from Jupiter: #1, #2, #3, #4; (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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