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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: 603.6 km/s
2.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max:
B1 2105 UT May08
24-hr: B1 2105 UT May08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 08 May '07

Sunspot 953 is disappearing over the sun's western limb. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 12
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 07 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
3.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

Coronal Holes:

Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. 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 08 2203 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 2007 May 08 2203 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 25 % 15 %
MINOR 15 % 05 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 35 % 25 %
MINOR 25 % 15 %
SEVERE 05 % 01 %

What's Up in Space -- 8 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.

ASTEROID FLYBY: Today, famous asteroid 1862 Apollo is flying past Earth at a distance of 10.7 million kilometers. Discovered in 1932, Apollo was the first asteroid recognized to cross Earth's orbit. This helped astronomers understand that the asteroid threat didn't end with the dinosaurs; it's a modern problem, too. Apollo measures 1.7 km wide and has a tiny 75 meter wide moon. Together they shine like a 13th magnitude star. Tonight, southern hemisphere astronomers with big backyard telescopes may be able to photograph the pair gliding through the constellation Grus: ephemeris.

FANTASTIC FAREWELL: Sunspot 953 is rolling over the sun's western horizon today, and "I thought I should take one last look before it goes," says artist Mark Seibold of Troutdale, Oregon. He made this pastel sketch of the view through his Coronado SolarMax40:

Click to view the complete painting

"I could easily see the dark sunspot surrounded by white-hot roiling plasma," says Seibold. "By carefully tuning the H-alpha filter, I was able to sharpen the filaments and prominences on either side of the spot. It was a three ring circus of activity."

Today is the last day for viewing sunspot 953. If you have a solar telescope, take a look!

more images: from James Witt of Phoenix, Arizona; from B. Morrissette, T. Johnstone and J. Stetson of South Portland, Maine.

IN BROAD DAYLIGHT: Yesterday in the skies above southern France, the International Space Station (ISS) passed extremely close to the planet Venus. Etienne Simian of Saint Martin de Crau photographed the encounter in broad daylight:

Photo details: Philips Vesta Pro webcam and an 8" Celestron telescope.

"The sun was 45° above the horizon and Venus was on the noon meridian. This was full daylight," he says.

The photo shows at a glance how the ISS has grown. It began in 1998 as a single orbiting module barely visible in the night sky. Since then, spacewalking astronauts have spent 498 hours assembling components delivered by 20 shuttle flights. Now the station is a sprawling complex with 240-ft wide solar wings and a living volume of 15,000 cubic feet. This makes it a daytime celestial object as bright as Venus herself.

Would you like to know when the ISS is about to fly over your hometown? Check Heaven's Above for local predictions or simply let Dr. Tony Phillips call you when it's time to go outside and look.

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 8 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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