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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: 276.7 km/s
5.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2243 UT

X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max:
B1 1845 UT May06
24-hr: B1 1845 UT May06
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 06 May '07

Sunspot 953 poses a slight threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 18
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 05 May 2007

Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the farside of the sun, mage credit: SOHO/MDI

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.2 nT
3.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2243 UT

Coronal Holes:

A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on May 7th or 8th. 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 2007 May 05 2202 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 15 % 15 %
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 2007 May 05 2202 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 20 % 20 %
MINOR 10 % 10 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 25 % 25 %
MINOR 15 % 15 %
SEVERE 05 % 05 %

What's Up in Space -- 6 May 2007
Subscribe to Space Weather News

What's the name of that star? Where's Saturn? Get the answers from mySKY--a fun new astronomy helper from Meade.

METHANE MOVIE: Turn up the volume and play this movie! It is a prototype methane rocket engine firing in the Mojave desert. The successful test may herald a new kind of spacecraft that roams the outer solar system gathering fuel from planets and moons it visits: full story.

GOODBYE 953: Photogenic sunspot 953 is approaching the sun's western limb where it will soon disappear, carried around the bend by the sun's 27-day rotation. Photographer P-M Hedén sends this picture from Vallentuna, Sweden:

Photo details: Canon DLSR, SolarMax60 filter, Orion 80ED @ 3000mm.

Note the dark filament emerging from the core of the sunspot. As the sunspot crosses over the limb, the filament briefly will jut out into space, possibly creating a nice photo-op for astronomers with solar telescopes. Stay tuned!

3D BONUS: Using digital trickery, Emiel Veldhuis of the Netherhands, transformed a flat photo of sunspot 953 he took on May 2nd into a fun 3D anaglyph. The filament leaps right out at you! Put on your 3D glasses and take a look.

more images: from Michael Borman of Evansville, Indiana; from John C McConnell of Maghaberry, Northern Ireland.

BLUE IS GOOD: At first glance, the Moon seems thoroughly gray, but astronomers have long known that lunar terrain is full of subtle color. Consider this picture of last week's full Moon taken by Shahriar Davoodian of Tehran, Iran:

Photo details: Canon EOS 30D, ISO 200, 1/1000 exposure

"I did not use any filter," says Davoodian. He didn't need one; the colors are naturally present and only need a bit of boosting with Photoshop to see. The method is described here.

What do the colors mean? Blue denotes areas rich in titanium, while orange is titanium poor. The titanium-rich zones are particularly interesting to NASA. Most lunar titanium is bound to oxygen; the common lunar mineral ilmenite, for instance, is rich in titanium oxides. This oxygen may be easily extracted, providing future explorers a source of air to breath and oxidizer for rocket engines. Blue is good!

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 6 May 2007 there were 859 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

April 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters




2006 VV2

Mar. 31

8.8 LD


2 km
2007 FY20

Apr. 2

5.3 LD


50 m
2007 DS84

Apr. 14

16 LD


325 m
2007 GU1

Apr. 16

2.1 LD


45 m
2007 HA

Apr. 17

6.5 LD


300 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.

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 -- from the National Solar Data Analysis Center

Recent Solar Events -- a summary of current solar conditions from

What is the Magnetosphere?

The Lion Roars -- visit this site to find out what the magnetosphere sounds like.

List of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

Observable Comets -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from NASA's ACE spacecraft.

How powerful are solar wind gusts? Not very! 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 1996 to 2006

Mirages: Mirages in Finland; An Introduction to Mirages;

NOAA Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999; 2000; 2001; 2002; 2003; 2004; 2005; Jan-Mar 2006; Apr-Jun 2006; Jul-Sep 2006; Oct-Dec 2006.

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

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