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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: 569.2 km/s
0.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
C5 1945 UT May16
24-hr: M1 0240 UT May16
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 16 May '05

Sunspots 763 and 759 pose a slim threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 69
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 15 May 2005

Far Side of the Sun

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

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.4 nT
2.8 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

Coronal Holes:

There are no big coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun today. Image credit: SOHO Extreme Ultraviolet 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 2005 May 16 2204 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 50 % 50 %
CLASS X 10 % 10 %

Geomagnetic Storms: Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at 2005 May 16 2204 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 25 % 20 %
MINOR 10 % 10 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 30 % 25 %
MINOR 25 % 10 %
SEVERE 15 % 01 %

What's Up in Space -- 16 May 2005
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Did you miss Saturday night's aurora storm? Next time get a wake-up call: Sign up for SpaceWeather PHONE.

AURORA WEEKEND: "Fabulous." "One of the best shows in 15 years!" "Ye-haww!" These are a few of the things sky watchers had to say about this weekend's Northern Lights, which spread across much of the United States on Saturday night, descending as far south as California and Arizona. Photographer Brian Larmay ("This is living!") saw these bright blue auroras over Niagra Falls:

May 14th-15th Aurora Gallery

What caused the display? A coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth's magnetic field. Impact time: May 15th at 0230 UT. Pictured below, the CME billowed away from the sun on May 13th, propelled in our direction by an M8-class explosion near sunspot 759. Eighteen hours later it reached Earth and sparked bright auroras.

Above: A SOHO coronagraph image of the May 13th coronal mass ejection.

FRIDAY THE 13th, 2029: Who says Friday the 13th is a bad day? On Friday, April 13, 2029, asteroid 2004 MN4 is going to hurtle perilously close to Earth--and miss. The space rock, about as wide as three football fields, will come closer to Earth's surface than many man-made satellites and shine brightly enough to see without a telescope. [full story]

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 16 May 2005 there were 696 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

May-July 2005 Earth-asteroid encounters



2005 JT1

May 11

6.9 LD

2005 ED318

May 23

6.3 LD

2000 AG6

July 22

8.7 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. See also Snow Crystals.

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

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.

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; 2003; 2004; Jan-Mar., 2005;

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;

Recent International Astronomical Union Circulars


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

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