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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: 367.2 km/s
2.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
A1 1655 UT Feb13
24-hr: A4 1505 UT Feb13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 13 Feb '06

The sun is blank again. Solar activity should remain low. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 12 Feb 2006

Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals one or more spots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.9 nT
2.1 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT

Coronal Holes:

There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. 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 2006 Feb 13 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 2006 Feb 13 2203 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 15 % 15 %
MINOR 10 % 10 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

What's Up in Space -- 13 Feb 2006
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Hearts. Flowers. Heavenly fireworks. Give Spaceweather PHONE for Valentine's Day.

QUIET SUN: X-rays from the sun have dropped to their lowest levels since July 1997. The reason: no sunspots. Sunspots are strong sources of solar X-rays, but the sun has been mostly spotless for two weeks. No sunspots, weak X-rays, low solar activity: solar mininum has arrived.

SNOW MOON, FOG MOON: According to folklore, last night's full moon was the Snow Moon. In San Francisco--always the rebel--it was instead the Fog Moon. "I drove to the beach," says Mila Zinkova, "but the only thing I could see was fog. Well ... I live in San Francisco. Sometimes I need to drive a few hundred extra feet to find clear skies. I drove those few hundred feet and spotted the red, not round moon and a boat popping up from the mist:"

Elsewhere the Snow Moon was its usual self--more images: from Mike O'Leary of El Cajon, CA; from Chris Schur of Payson, AZ; from Dominic Cantin of Quebec, Canada; from Ginger Mayfield of Divide, CO; from Thomas Cakalic near Boise, Idaho.

STORM ON SATURN: For the third week in a row, amateur astronomers are monitoring a storm on Saturn. It's the white spot in this February 11th photo taken by Ian Sharp of Ham, West Sussex, UK:

Compared to the body and rings of Saturn, the storm seems small, but consider this--it's large enough to swallow the planet Mercury. Lately, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has been detecting crackling radio bursts of the sort you hear on your car radio when a thunderstorm is nearby. The white spot is the likely source, making it a lightning storm.

Got a backyard telescope? You can monitor Saturn yourself. Even small backyard telescope will show you Saturn's rings and clouds. Look for the planet rising in the east after sunset: sky map.

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 13 Feb 2006 there were 773 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

January 2006 Earth-asteroid encounters




2005 XO4

Jan. 1

18.5 LD


~150 m
2005 YM128

Jan. 1

19.8 LD


~75 m
2005 YO128

Jan. 3

6.5 LD


~60 m
2006 AB3

Jan. 4

13.5 LD


~15 m
2005 YU8

Jan. 13

19.8 LD


~70 m
2006 AN

Jan. 13

18.5 LD


~50 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. 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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