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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: 415.3 km/s
0.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
M1 1815 UT Aug14
24-hr: M6 0545 UT Aug14
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 14 Aug '04
Sunspot 649 has a "beta-gamma-delta" magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

The Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals a smattering of sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 160
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 13 Aug 2004

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.3 nT
3.9 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 Aug 14 2200 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 75 % 75 %
CLASS X 20 % 20 %

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 Aug 14 2200 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 20 % 25 %
MINOR 05 % 10 %
SEVERE 01 % 05 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 20 % 30 %
MINOR 05 % 15 %
SEVERE 01 % 05 %

What's Up in Space -- 14 Aug 2004
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Did you miss the latest aurora storm? Next time get a wake-up call. Sign up for Spaceweather PHONE.

SOLAR ACTIVITY: During the past 24 hours, sunspot 649 has unleashed a series of M-class solar flares, but none of the explosions hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) toward Earth. The chances for auroras this weekend remains low.

BIG SUNSPOT: Sunspot 649 is enormous. It's wider than the planet Jupiter and visible from Earth without a telescope. You can see it, easily, but don't stare at the blinding sun. Always practice safe solar observing.

In Belfast, Northern Ireland, on August 13th, Peter Paice took this picture of the giant 'spot:

Sunspot 649 has a complicated "beta-gamma-delta" magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Such a flare could spark geomagnetic storms and auroras here on Earth.

PERSEID METEORS: The 2004 Perseid meteor shower peaked on August 11th and 12th, and sky watchers who saw it agree that it was good. There were plenty of bright Earthgrazing Perseids after sunset on the 11th and, during the hours of greatest activity, a lovely Venus-moon conjunction on the 12th.

This rainbow-colored Perseid streaked "right above the silhouette of Half Dome," says photographer Dirk Obudzinski who enjoyed the shower from the Yosemite National Park in central California. "At Glacier Point--with an elevation above 7000ft--we counted between 60 and 70 meteors per hour."

Earth is still inside the dusty tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle, the source of the Perseids. So while this annual shower's peak has come and gone, Perseid meteors should still be visible over the next few nights at a greatly reduced rate.

2004 Perseid Photo Gallery

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 14 Aug 2004 there were 618 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

July-Sept. 2004 Earth-asteroid encounters


1999 MN

July 11

8 LD

2001 OY13

July 14

25 LD

2000 PH5

July 25

5 LD

2003 UX34

Sept. 9

22 LD

2004 JA27

Sept. 10

23 LD

1998 OX4

Sept. 14

25 LD


Sept. 29

4 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. 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

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; 2003; Jan-Mar., 2004;

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


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 are not guarantees of space weather or other celestial activity.

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