Solar Wind
speed: 612.8 km/s
0.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1806 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
M3 1420 UT Jan15
24-hr: M9 0040 UT Jan15
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1805 UT

Daily Sun: 15 Jan '05

Giant sunspot 720 poses a threat for strong M-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 65
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 14 Jan 2005

Far Side of the Sun

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

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.4 nT
4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1806 UT

Coronal Holes:

There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun today. Image 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 2005 Jan 14 2200 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 85 % 85 %
CLASS X 25 % 25 %

Geomagnetic Storms: Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at 2005 Jan 14 2200 UTC
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 15 % 15 %
MINOR 05 % 05 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

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

What's Up in Space -- 15 Jan 2005
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SOLAR FLARES: Giant sunspot 720 (see below) is crackling with solar flares. A powerful X-class explosion is likely this weekend.

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

HUYGENS HAS LANDED! The European Space Agency's Huygens probe landed on Saturn's moon Titan yesterday and scientists are processing hundreds of photos from the descent. This one is the first color image of Titan's surface:

The rounded rocks, scientists suspect, are actually made of water-ice. At -300 degrees F, ice is as hard as rock! Click here to view more images.

SATURN: This weekend Saturn is only 750 million miles from Earth--the closest we get to the ringed planet all year long. Step outside around 7:30 p.m. and look east. Golden Saturn is easy to find next to Castor and Pollux in the constellation Gemini. [sky map]

Got a telescope? Point it at Saturn to see the planet's rings and its giant moon Titan. Pictured here is the view through a 9-inch 'scope. Credit: Eric Todd of Salem, New Jersey.

BIG SUNSPOT: Only a few days ago sunspot 720 was a barely-visible speck. Now it's a behemoth almost as wide as the planet Jupiter. You can see it--but don't stare at the sun: safe solar observing tips.

A 4-day movie of sunspot 720. Credit: SOHO

more images: from Didier Favre of Los Angeles, California; from Ginger Mayfield of Divide, Colorado; from Darrell Spangler of Loveland, Colorado; from Gary Palmer of Los Angeles, California.

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 15 Jan 2005 there were 662 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids
Jan.-Feb. 2005 Earth-asteroid encounters



1998 DV9

Jan. 11

30 LD

2004 EW

Feb. 14

23 LD

2004 RF84

Feb. 27

23 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. See also Snow Crystals.

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

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; 2003; Jan-Mar., 2004;

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;

Recent International Astronomical Union Circulars


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