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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: 320.1 km/s
0.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2202 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
C5 2035 UT Nov03
24-hr: X3 0955 UT Nov03
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 03 Nov '03
Sunspots 486 and 488 pose a continued threat for strong X-class solar flares. Image credit: SOHO MDI

Sunspot Number: 174
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 02 Nov 2003

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.0 nT
4.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

Coronal Holes:

Earth could encounter a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole as early as Nov. 8th. 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 2003 Nov 02 2230 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 90 % 90 %
CLASS X 75 % 75 %

Geomagnetic Storms: Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at 2003 Nov 02 2230 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 30 % 20 %
MINOR 30 % 25 %
SEVERE 30 % 55 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 20 % 10 %
MINOR 40 % 20 %
SEVERE 40 % 70 %

What's Up in Space -- 3 Nov 2003
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SOLAR ACTIVITY CONTINUES: Giant sunspot 486 produced another remarkable solar flare on Nov. 2nd at 1725 UT. This one measured X8 on the Richter scale of solar flares. Because the sunspot is nearing the sun's western limb, the blast was not aimed squarely at Earth. Even so, a coronal mass ejection (CME) is heading our way. Auroras could appear on Nov. 3rd or 4th when the electrified cloud delivers a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field. Also on Nov. 3rd a pair of X-flares have erupted near sunspot 488--at 0130 UT (X2.7) and at 0955 UT (X4.4).

Right: Using a safely-filtered telescope, Ginger Mayfield of Divide, CO, captured this view of the X8-flare shortly after its peak. "What a fantastic week for the Sun!" she says.

As a result of these explosions, solar protons are streaming past Earth. The ongoing radiation storm is a moderate S2-class event. Click here to learn more about how such storms affect our planet.

AURORAS: Last week was a wonderful one for sky watchers. Two fast-moving clouds of gas from the sun (CMEs) swept past Earth--one on Oct. 29th and one on Oct. 30th--and sparked extreme geomagnetic storms. Auroras appeared in places where they are rarely seen: Texas, California, Florida and elsewhere. Visit our growing storm gallery to view a selection of photos from around the world.

Above: Photographer Steve Irvine of Big Bay, Ontario, took this picture at the onset of the geomagnetic storm on Oct. 29th. The display here was spectacular, the best in at least two years, with shimmering cascades of light extending well south of the zenith," says Irvine.

Visit our growing gallery of aurora pictures.

ASTEROID HERMES: Near-Earth asteroid Hermes has a knack for slipping past our planet unnoticed, but not this week. Amateur and professional astronomers are closely monitoring the space rock as it heads for a close encounter with Earth on Nov. 4th. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

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 Nov 2003 there were 542 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

October 2003 Earth-asteroid encounters


2003 SS84

Oct. 11

8 LD

1998 FG2

Oct. 21

15 LD

2003 TL4

Oct. 26

12 LD

2001 KZ66

Oct. 30

31 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: Space weather and other forecasts that appear on this site are formulated by Dr. Tony Phillips. They are not official statements of any government agency (including NASA) nor should they be construed as guarantees of space weather or other celestial activity.

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Dr. Tony Phillips
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