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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 543.1 km/sec
density: 0.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A9
2140 UT May20
24-hr: B6
0555 UT May20
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 20 May 07
Sunspot 956 is decaying and poses a declining threat for strong solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 44
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 19 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
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp=1
24-hr max: Kp=3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Europe, Antarctica, USA
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.2 nT
Bz: 1.6 nT north
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
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2007 May 20 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
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 20 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
15 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
25 %
15 %
15 %
05 %
01 %
What's up in Space
May 20, 2007
He already has a neck tie. This year give Dad something truly heavenly for Father's Day: SpaceWeather PHONE.

NEW LOOK: has a new look and some new features, too. Upgrades include real-time images of Earth's auroral oval, estimates of the planetary K-index every three hours, and bookmarkable archives. Look around! And if you find anything that needs fixing, please let us know.

SOLAR ACTIVITY: If you have a solar telescope, point it at the sun today. A large and beautiful prominence is dancing along the eastern limb. Pete Lawrence sends this picture from his back yard in Selsey, UK:

Prominences are clouds of hydrogen held up by solar magnetic fields. This one is so big, Jupiter would fit through its arcs and loops with room to spare. Sometimes the magnetic field of a prominence will become unstable and explode, producing a Hyder flare. Hyder flares are rare, but watching for them can be very satisfying.

more images: from Adrian Guzman of San Jose California; from Britta Suhre of Dortmund, Germany; from Andreas Murner of Dortmund, Germany; from P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden;

VENUS AND THE MOON: When the two brightest objects in the night sky get together, not even clouds can hold them back. Last night in Colorado, "Venus and the Moon shone right through the haze," says photographer and physics professor Jimmy Westlake:

Photo details: Fuji Finepix S2, ISO 400, 35 mm Nikkor lens at f5.6, 8 seconds.

The pair of heavenly bodies were barely 1o apart, combining in brilliance for an unforgettable display. In Wallsend, Australia, David Hough saw them in broad daylight while photographer P-M Heden found that they rivaled the streetlights of Vallentuna, Sweden. "It was marvelous," he says. Now the Moon is moving away from Venus en route to another close encounter--with Saturn on May 22nd. Stay tuned!

more images: from Paco Burguera Catalá of Calpe, Spain; from James Dyson of Warrington England; from Cran Lucas of Shreveport, Louisiana; from Mark Poe of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; from Stan Richard of Des Moines, Iowa; from Brian Larmay of Niagara Falls, NY; from Doug Zubenel of Kansas City, Missouri; from Gil Esquerdo at the Whipple Observatory on Mt. Hopkins, Arizona; from Steve Cullen of Oro Valley, AZ; from Alex Ward and Jonathan Demery of St Davids College, North Wales UK; from Valter Binotto of Possagno, Italy; from Enzo De Bernardini of Martínez, Buenos Aires, Argentina;

Near-Earth Asteroids
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 May 20, 2007 there were 862 potentially hazardous asteroids.
May 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
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 means "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 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.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2007, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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