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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: 647.3 km/s
1.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max:
A5 1935 UT May19
24-hr: B9 1300 UT May19
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 19 May '07

Sunspot 956 has been quiet for days, but its magnetic field harbors energy for strong M-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 45
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 18 May 2007

Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals an old friend, photogenic sunspot 953 on the farside of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.0 nT
1.2 nT south
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 19 2203 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 10 % 10 %
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 19 2203 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 20 % 15 %
MINOR 05 % 01 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

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

What's Up in Space -- 19 May 2007
Subscribe to Space Weather News

He already has a tie. This year give Dad something truly heavenly for Father's Day: SpaceWeather PHONE

DON'T MISS THIS: When the sun sets tonight, go outside and look west. Venus and the crescent Moon will pop out of the twilight barely 1o apart. It's a spectacular and unforgettable pairing of the two brightest objects in the night sky: sky map.

LEAF TRAILS: Every night, the stars pirouette in great circles around the north celestial pole, and this allows photographers to take some nifty pictures. A camera pointed at the North Star, with the shutter open for a long exposure, records a dizzying vortex of star trails.

Star trails are evidence that Earth is spinning. To illustrate the principle for a children's book she is writing, author Trudy E. Bell tried something last weekend that may be completely original. "I mimicked Earth's spin with a playground merry-go-round, while a leafy tree played the role of stars." Here is the result:

Photo copyright 2007 Trudy E. Bell. All rights reserved.

She explains how it was done: "I set my Canon Digital Rebel to ISO 100, shutter speed slow (best results came with 1/13th second), and sat in the center of the merry-go-round while my 12-yr-old neighbor Max kept me spinning."

If you wish to try this yourself, notes Trudy, be aware that "finding a merry-go-round can be surprisingly difficult. The one nearest to me was in an old park 25 miles away." And be careful standing up! "Young Max was chipper and unaffected, but I felt queasy for hours after the shoot."

3D SUNSPOT: Put on your 3D glasses and take a look at this anaglyph of sunspot 956 created yesterday by Emiel Veldhuis of the Netherlands:

It shows a tangle of dark magnetic filaments emerging from the spot's core. Although sunspot 956 has been quiet for days, its delta-class magnetic field harbors energy for strong M-class solar flares. NOAA forecasters estimate a 15% chance of such a flare during the next 24 hours.

more images: from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from John C McConnell of Maghaberry Northern Ireland; from Pavol Rapavy of Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia; from P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden.

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 19 May 2007 there were 863 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

May 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters




1862 Apollo

May 8

72 LD


2.4 km
2007 JD

May 11

12 LD


100 m
2007 JZ2

May 14

7.0 LD


30 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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