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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: 470.2 km/s
1.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2229 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
A7 2235 UT Sep19
24-hr: B3 0830 UT Sep19
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 19 Sep '06

Tiny sunspot 910 poses no threat for solar flares. Credit:

Sunspot Number: 11
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 18 Sep 2006

Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.5 nT
0.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2230 UT

Coronal Holes:

A solar wind stream flowing from ths indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Sept. 23rd or 24th. Credit: NOAA GOES-13.


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 Sep 19 2204 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 Sep 19 2204 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 15 % 10 %
MINOR 01 % 01 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 20 % 20 %
MINOR 10 % 05 %
SEVERE 05 % 01 %

What's Up in Space -- 19 Sep 2006
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Autumn is almost here, and it's a wonderful time for stargazing. Find out what's up from Spaceweather PHONE.

AURORA WATCH: Earth is exiting a solar wind stream that has been causing auroras over Scandinavia for the past few nights. As the stream subsides, so do the chances of more auroras tonight.

ON THE EDGE: With only one tiny sunspot in view, the face of today's sun is bland territory. The edge of the sun is another matter, as shown in this photo from Harald Paleske of Langendorf, Germany:

The view through a Unigraph 7-meter focal length solar coronagraph.

"And this was only a small eruption," he says.

"The beauty of today's prominences scattered across the limb left me with my mouth gaping open--before I gained my composure and grabbed my sketchpad," adds Erika Rix of Zanesville, Ohio. Peering through the eyepiece of her Coronado SolarMax60, she made this sketch using "Conte' crayons and white Conte' pencil on black Strathmore Artagain paper."

more images: from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK; from Robert Arnold on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

EMERALD SUNSET: "Tonight I saw one of the most beautiful and long lasting green flashes I've ever seen," says Mila Zinkova of San Francisco, who took this picture on Sept 17th:

The green flash, a brilliant glint of emerald almost on the ocean horizon just as the sun disappears, relies on a mirage to magnify small differences in refraction between red and green light. This particular sunset "was a very complex mock mirage," says Zinkova. "It seemed that the sun could not get enough of playing with [thermal air layers over the Pacific Ocean] and produced a different shape every moment."

Green flashes, once thought to be a myth, are certainly real. If you live on a western coast, look for them at sunset.

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 Sep 2006 there were 803 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

Aug-Sept 2006 Earth-asteroid encounters




2006 QM111

Aug 31

0.4 LD


13 m
2006 QQ56

Sept. 2

7.9 LD


29 m
2006 QV89

Sept. 5

7.9 LD


40 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.

Recommended: Earth & Sky

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

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;


This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips: email

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