You are viewing the page for Jan. 3, 2004
  Select another date:
<<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: 529.3 km/s
1.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
C1 1815 UT Jan03
24-hr: C1 1815 UT Jan03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Note: Because of the holidays, daily images of the sun from SOHO are temporarily unavailable.

Daily Sun: 26 Dec '03
Sunspot 528 poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Image credit: SOHO MDI

The Far Side of the Sun

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

Sunspot Number: 51
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 02 Jan 2004

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.4 nT
1.4 nT north
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 UV 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 2004 Jan 03 2200 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 30 % 30 %
CLASS X 05 % 05 %

Geomagnetic Storms: Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at 2004 Jan 03 2200 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 40 % 35 %
MINOR 20 % 15 %
SEVERE 10 % 10 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 45 % 45 %
MINOR 25 % 25 %
SEVERE 10 % 10 %

What's Up in Space -- 3 Jan 2004
Subscribe to Space Weather News!

BIG SUNSPOT: A large sunspot (number 536) is emerging over the sun's eastern limb. It is too soon to judge the spot's magnetic complexity, but it probably poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Click to view a picture of it from Bruno Nolf of Belgium.

Would you like a call when things are happening in the sky? Sign up for Spaceweather PHONE.

WEEKEND METEORS: The annual Quadrantid meteor shower peaks this weekend. Forecasters expect a flurry of meteors, perhaps 25 to 60 per hour, sometime between 0600 UT and 0800 UT (1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. EST) on Sunday morning, January 4th. The timing favors western Europe and eastern parts of North America. [sky map]

Right: A Quadrantid meteor, Jan. 3, 2003. Credit: Frankie Lucena of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.

Bright moonlight will interfere with the shower, to a degree. Try standing in the shadow of a building or hill, or wait to look until the wee hours before dawn when the moon is low. Got clouds? Or too much moonlight? Even if you can't see the Quadrantids, you can still hear them. Simply click one of our meteor radar links below:

Notes: Our radar monitoring sites are operated by engineer Stan Nelson. NAVSPASUR is the Naval Space Surveillance Radar. Echoes from Quadrantids sound like this.

SUN PILLAR: "I always carry my digital camera just in case I see something interesting," says mailman Larry Landolfi of East Rochester, New Hampshire. On New Year's Eve he spotted this spectacular sun pillar: (continued below)

Sun pillars are caused by plate-shaped ice crystals fluttering downward from Earth's upper atmosphere. The crystals bend and refract light from the rising (or setting) sun into a column of light that seems to spring upward from the horizon. The same crystals cause moon pillars, too. Look for them next week, January 5th, 6th and 7th, when the full moon rises in the east as night falls.

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 3 Jan 2004 there were 562 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

December 2003 Earth-asteroid encounters


2003 YS17

Jan 14

14 LD

2001 BE10

Jan 15

23 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.

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 Soft 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.

Vandenberg AFB missile launch schedule.

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; Jan-Mar., 2003; Apr-Jun., 2003;

Recent International Astronomical Union Circulars


Editor's Note: This site is sponsored by Science@NASA. Space weather and other forecasts that appear here are formulated by Dr. Tony Phillips. They should not be construed as guarantees of space weather or other celestial activity.

You are visitor number 28869235 since January 2000.
©2019 All rights reserved.