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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: 547.7 km/s
3.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
M9 2005 UT Oct22
24-hr: M9 2005 UT Oct22
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

Daily Sun: 22 Oct '03
Sunspot 484 continues to grow and poses a threat for X-class solar flares. Image credit: SOHO MDI

The Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals one large sunspot on the far side of the Sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 144
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 21 Oct 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: 10.7 nT
9.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 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 Oct 21 2200 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 70 % 70 %
CLASS X 15 % 15 %

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 Oct 21 2200 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 35 % 35 %
MINOR 30 % 30 %
SEVERE 10 % 10 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 25 % 25 %
MINOR 35 % 30 %
SEVERE 15 % 10 %

What's Up in Space -- 22 Oct 2003
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SOLAR ACTIVITY: Sunspot 484 has grown into one of the biggest sunspots in years. Now about the size of the planet Jupiter, it's easy to see, but never look directly at the sun. Try these safe solar observing techniques instead.

Above: A 4-day movie of sunspot 484. Credit: SOHO.

Sunspot pictures: from Ian Kiming and Camilla Bacher of Copenhagen, Denmark; from Anthony Ayiomamitis of Athens, Greece; from Bruno Nolf of Belgium; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from Martin Ratcliffe of Wichita, Kansas.

An X-class explosion near sunspot 484 on Oct. 19th hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) into space. Although it was not aimed at Earth, the expanding cloud might soon deliver a glancing blow to our planet's magnetic field and spark auroras.

Meanwhile, say forecasters, another big sunspot should soon appear near the sun's southeastern limb. The active region is not yet directly visible, but SOHO has observed material being blasted over the sun's limb from the approaching spot. Witness this Oct. 22nd coronagraph image (right).

Further major eruptions are possible from these active regions as they rotate across the face of the sun over the next two weeks.

Would you like a phone call when auroras appear over your home town? Sign up for Spaceweather PHONE.

AURORA WATCH: The interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) near Earth is swinging north. This may put a temporary stop to the mild geomagnetic storms which have been going almost constantly since Oct. 20th. Nevertheless, sky watchers in Alaska, Canada and US northern border states from Maine to Washington should be alert for auroras tonight in case the CME of Oct. 19th reaches Earth and ignites more geomagnetic activity. [gallery]

Above: "It looked like some huge ghosts were walking on the upper atmosphere and sinking in with each step," says Ulrike Haug of Alaska, who took this picture on Oct. 17th. "I was so amazed, I forgot to photograph part of the display." [more]

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 22 Oct 2003 there were 539 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

October 2003 Earth-asteroid encounters


2003 SS84

Oct. 11

8 LD

1998 FG2

Oct. 21

15 LD

2003 TL4

Oct. 26

12 LD

2001 KZ66

Oct. 30

31 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.

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 Soft 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; Jan-Mar., 2003; Apr-Jun., 2003;

Recent International Astronomical Union Circulars






Editor's Note: Space weather and other forecasts that appear on this site are formulated by Dr. Tony Phillips. They are not official statements of any government agency (including NASA) nor should they be construed as guarantees of space weather or other celestial activity.

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Dr. Tony Phillips
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