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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: 552.9 km/s
5.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
C1 2230 UT Feb19
24-hr: C1 2230 UT Feb19
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 19 Feb '03
None of these small spots so far poses a threat for strong flares. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

The Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals no substantial sunspot groups on the far side of the Sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 51
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 18 Feb 2003

Coronal Holes:

Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Image credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope.
More about coronal holes

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.3 nT
0.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT


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 Feb 19 2200 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 2003 Feb 19 2200 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 25 % 20 %
MINOR 10 % 10 %
SEVERE 05 % 05 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 30 % 25 %
MINOR 25 % 20 %
SEVERE 10 % 10 %

What's Up in Space -- 19 Feb 2003
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WAITING FOR AURORAS: Earth has been inside a high-speed solar wind stream since Feb. 15th, yet geomagnetic activity remains mostly low. Sky watchers should nevertheless remain alert for auroras on Feb. 19th and Feb 20th as solar wind gusts continue to buffet our planet's magnetic field.

Right: John Russell photographed these auroras near Nome, Alaska, on Feb. 18th. "The last several nights were quiet, but tonight was quite lively!" says John.

HOT COMET: Comet NEAT is passing perilously close to the Sun this week. How perilous is it? The planet Mercury is 0.4 AU from the Sun. At closest approach on Feb. 18th, Comet NEAT was only 0.1 AU away. SOHO coronagraphs are capturing splendid views of the encounter. Click here to see the latest images.

MOON HALOS: They're everywhere: Moon halos. Antoine Gerhardt of Nice, France, spotted this one on Feb. 17th. "It was almost freezing in Nice--only 3° C," said Gerhardt's companion Michel Benvenuto, but the view was worth the discomfort. (continued below)

Above: Jupiter is clearly visible just outside the 22-degree Moon halo. Image credit: Antoine Gerhardt of the Astro Biniou Club.

Moon halos, like daytime Sun halos, are caused by light passing through ice crystals in high cirrus clouds. Winter is a good time to look for such halos, but not the only time. Because it's always cold in the high atmosphere, halo-forming ice crystals can appear year-round.


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 19 Feb 2003 there were 495 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

Feb. 2003 Earth-asteroid encounters


2003 BR47

 Feb. 3

21 LD

2002 VP69

 Feb. 17

29 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.

  • LEONIDS 2002: The Leonids have come and gone, but our meteor gallery keeps growing. Check out the latest additions, which include a stunning image of 44 meteors emerging from the radiant in Leo.
  • DAWN PLANETS: Just before dawn on Sunday, Dec. 1st, the planets Venus and Mars converged and formed a lovely triangle with the slender crescent Moon. [gallery]
  • SUMMER AURORAS: August was a good month for auroras. Visit our gallery and see what happened in the skies of Europe and North America.
  • NEARBY ASTEROID: Asteroid 2002 NY40 came so close to Earth on August 18th that people could see it through binoculars or small telescopes. [gallery]
  • PERSEIDS 2002: Sky watchers spotted plenty of bright shooting stars--including some colorful earthgrazers--during the 2002 Perseid meteor shower. [gallery]
  • AURORA SURPRISE: An unexpected geomagnetic storm began on August 1st as night fell across North America. Sky watchers spotted vivid auroras over both the United States and Canada.
  • CRESCENT SUN: See strange shadows, weird sunsets, eclipse dogs, crescent-eyed turkeys and extraordinary rings of fire photographed during the June 10th solar eclipse. [gallery]
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.

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.

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.

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?

Vandenberg AFB missile launch schedule.

What is an Astronomical Unit, or AU?

NOAA Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: 1999; 2000; 2001; Jan-Mar., 2002; Apr-Jun., 2002; Jul-Sep., 2002; Oct-Dec., 2002;

Recent International Astronomical Union Circulars





Editor's Note: Space weather forecasts that appear on this site are formulated by Dr. Tony Phillips. They are not official statements of any government organ (including NASA) or guarantees of space weather activity. In fact, nothing that appears on should be construed as an official government statement. Blame the webmaster instead!

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Dr. Tony Phillips
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