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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: 491.1 km/s
3.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
C6 2010 UT Jul28
24-hr: M2 0035 UT Jul28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2250 UT

Daily Sun: 28 July '02
Sunspots 39 and 44 have twisted beta-gamma-delta magnetic fields that pose a threat for X-class solar flares. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

The Far Side of the Sun

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

Sunspot Number: 323
More about sunspots
Updated: 27 Jul 2002

Coronal Holes:

The indicated coronal hole is probably too far north to spray Earth with a solar wind stream. Image credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope.
More about coronal holes

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.5 nT
4.8 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 2002 Jul 28 2200 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 80 % 80 %
CLASS X 30 % 30 %

Geomagnetic Storms: Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at 2002 Jul 28 2200 UTC

0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 40 % 30 %
MINOR 20 % 10 %
SEVERE 10 % 05 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 45 % 35 %
MINOR 25 % 15 %
SEVERE 15 % 10 %

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What's Up in Space -- 28 Jul 2002
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AURORA WARNING: Sunspot 39 unleashed an M8-class solar flare and hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) into space late Friday (2110 UT). The CME (pictured right) was not squarely Earth-directed, but some of the expanding cloud is heading our way. Sky watchers should be alert for auroras when the cloud arrives--probably Sunday.

SUNSPOTS GALORE: This weekend, the Boulder sunspot number soared to its highest value since March 2001. The largest of many spots peppering the Sun is sunspot 39. It stretches more than a dozen Earth-diameters from end to end, and poses a threat for X-class flares. You can see it yourself--but never stare directly at the Sun. Use safe solar projections methods instead.

Above: The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory captured this image of the Sun on July 28th.

SPACESHIP SIGHTINGS: The International Space Station (ISS) is beginning a series of bright passes over the United States and Canada. Read the full story from Science@NASA and find out how to see it from your own back yard.

Above: Ulrich Beinert captured these images of the ISS on July 28, 2002, as it passed over Kronberg, Germany. He used a 6-inch telescope and an inexpensive Philips ToUcam Pro digital camera.


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 28 Jul 2002 there were 448 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

June-July 2002 Earth-asteroid encounters


2002 KJ4

 June 2

 26 LD

2002 LY1

 June 13

 29 LD

2002 MN

 June 14

 0.3 LD

2002 KK8

 June 14

 25 LD

2002 LT24

 June 17

 23 LD

2002 MY

 June 30

 19 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.

  • CRESCENT SUN: The June 10th solar eclipse is long over, but new pictures of the event keep appearing. Visit our growing photo gallery and see for yourself. There are strange shadows, weird sunsets, eclipse dogs, crescent-eyed turkeys and extraordinary rings of fire. [more]
  • COMET IKEYA-ZHANG: The brightest comet in years delighted sky watchers in March and April 2002. [gallery]
  • GONE JUPITER: On Feb. 22, 2002, the Moon had a close encounter with Jupiter. [gallery]
  • GONE SATURN: On Feb. 20, 2002, the Moon glided in front of Saturn and its mysterious rings. [gallery]
  • HOT COMET: Periodic comet 96P/Machholz put on a dazzling show as it swung by the Sun on Jan. 8, 2002.
  • ASTEROID FLYBY: Asteroid 2001 YB5 raced past Earth on Jan. 7, 2002, only two times farther away than the Moon. [gallery]
  • SUBTLE ECLIPSE: The Moon dipped into the outskirts of Earth's shadow on Dec. 30, 2001. [gallery]
  • MOON & SATURN: The Moon keeps getting in the way of Saturn! See the series of close encounters here.
  • CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: On Christmas Eve, 2001, a solar wind stream triggered Northern Lights. [gallery]
  • SOLAR ECLIPSE: Sky watchers in Hawaii and most parts of North America experienced a partial solar eclipse on Dec. 14th. [gallery]
  • BRIGHT ASTEROID: Videos and images of 1998 WT24 -- a big and bright near-Earth asteroid that came close to our planet on Dec. 16, 2001. [gallery]
  • NORTHERN LIGHTS: On Nov. 24th a pair of coronal mass ejections swept past Earth and triggered worldwide auroras.
  • LEONIDS 2001: Some people saw it. Others heard it. In either case, they'll never forget it: The 2001 Leonid meteor storm.
  • PERSEIDS 2001: Perseid watchers on August 12th spotted meteors, auroras, and a disintegrating Russian rocket! [gallery]
  • MORNING PLANETS: In July and Aug. 2001, the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, and Mercury put on a dazzling early-morning sky show. [gallery]
  • ECLIPSE SAFARI: Onlookers cried out in delight on June 21, 2001, when the Moon covered the African Sun, revealing the dazzling corona. [gallery]
  • TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE: On Jan. 9, 2001, the full Moon glided through Earth's copper-colored shadow. [gallery]
  • CHRISTMAS ECLIPSE: Sky watchers across North America enjoyed a partial solar eclipse on Christmas Day 2000 [gallery]
  • LEONIDS 2000: Observers around the globe enjoyed three predicted episodes of shooting stars. [gallery]






Editor's Note: Space weather forecasts that appear on this site are based in part on data from NASA and NOAA satellites and ground-monitoring stations. Predictions and explanations are formulated by Dr. Tony Phillips; they are not official statements of any government organ or guarantees of space weather activity.

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 Astronomical Unit, or AU?

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

Recent International Astronomical Union Circulars

Radio Meteor Rate
24 hr max:
29 per hr
Listen to the Meteor Radar!
Updated: 08 June 2002

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