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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: 325.4 km/s
0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
B1 1720 UT May28
24-hr: B1 1255 UT May28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 28 May '06

A new sunspot, 889, is growing quickly but it is still small and does not yet pose a threat for solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI.

Sunspot Number: 69
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 27 May 2006

Far Side of the Sun

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

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.6 nT
3.3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

Coronal Holes:

A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about June 1st. Credit: GOES-12 Solar X-ray Imager


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 May 28 2204 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 May 28 2204 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 25 % 25 %
MINOR 10 % 10 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

What's Up in Space -- 28 May 2006
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NEW SUNSPOT: A new sunspot, 889, is growing rapidly near the middle of the solar disk. It has blossomed from invisibility to the size of Earth in less than 24 hours. For all that, it is still small (by sun-standards) and does not yet pose a threat for solar flares.

MOONWATCH: Among the trees, clouds and power lines in this picture, there are two heavenly bodies. Can you find them?

"Mercury and the super-thin crescent Moon made for a wonderful photo-op," says photographer Denny Bodzash of Amherst, Ohio. "After finding my targets with binoculars, I quickly got this picture before they disappeared behind the clouds."

The crescent Moon will appear again tonight, higher in the sky and easier to see. Look west at sunset: sky map.

GREEN RIM: "I was trying to capture the thin crescent moon," says Pete Strasser of Tucson, Arizona, "but the sky was murky with blowing dust. What I saw instead was a green rim along the top of the setting sun."

No, the sun isn't turning green. The emerald rim is caused by refraction: Earth's atmosphere acts like a giant lens, bending green light more strongly than red, so that the sun appears to have a thin green fringe at sunrise and sunset. Sometimes, steep gradients in air temperature magnify these fringes, resulting in a magnificent green flash.

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 May 2006 there were 787 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

May 2006 Earth-asteroid encounters




2006 HU50

May 4

3.8 LD


~50 m
2006 HX57

May 6

3.0 LD


~45 m
2006 JY26

May 10

1.1 LD


~8 m
Comet 73P-C

May 12

31 LD


~1 km
2006 GY2

May 16

6.7 LD


~0.8 km
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

Daily images from the sun -- 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.

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;

Recent International Astronomical Union Circulars


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

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