Solar Wind
speed: 333.7 km/s
1.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1646 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
C8 1450 UT Apr26
24-hr: C8 1450 UT Apr26
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1640 UT

Daily Sun: 26 Apr '06

New sunspot 875 has a "beta-gamma-delta" magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI.

Sunspot Number: 33
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 25 Apr 2006

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: 4.3 nT
3.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 1647 UT

Coronal Holes:

There are no geo-effective coronal holes on the sun today. 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 2006 Apr 25 2203 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 15 % 15 %
CLASS X 05 % 05 %

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 Apr 25 2203 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 15 % 15 %
MINOR 05 % 05 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

What's Up in Space -- 26 Apr 2006
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Roses. Candy. Spatulas? Make that the stars: Spaceweather PHONE for Mother's Day.

COMMENTS, PLEASE: NASA's ACE spacecraft is almost four years past its intended lifetime. Although ACE measurements of the solar wind flowing past Earth are crucial to space weather forecasts, there is no plan to replace ACE when the craft ceases to function. NOAA is seeking public comment on this state of affairs. If you enjoy auroras, please let them know that ACE needs a successor.

COMET NEWS: Only a few days ago, fragment B of dying comet 73P/Schwassmann Wachmann 3 split in two. One of those two pieces is now "in outburst," almost doubling in brightness since April 23rd. These false-color images from Rolando Ligustri of Talmassons, Italy, show the pair yesterday:

The outburst could signal a new breakup of fragment B, which brightens as fresh veins of ice and dust are exposed to sunlight. If so, the pair may soon be a triple--or more.

Fragment B is shining like a 9th magnitude star, which makes it an easy target for backyard telescopes. Look for it in the constellation Corona Borealis an hour or so after sunset. The view will only improve in the weeks ahead as 73P approaches Earth for a close encounter in mid-May: full story.

Sky maps: April 26, April 27, April 28, April 29.

BIG SUNSPOT: Sunspot 875 has a twisted, complex magnetic field that harbors energy for strong solar flares. So far the spot has not erupted. If you have a solar telescope, keep an eye on this region; things could change in a hurry.

Above: Sunspot 875 on April 25th. "This new spot is showing a lot of activity," says photographer Andreas Murner of Lake Chiemsee, Bavaria, Germany.

more images: from Robert Arnold on the Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Ralf Vandebergh in the Netherlands; from John C McConnell of Maghaberry, Northern Ireland; from Tom Masterson of Ferndale, Washington; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland;

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 26 Apr 2006 there were 778 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

April-May 2006 Earth-asteroid encounters




2006 GY2

May 16

6.7 LD


~0.8 km
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

Daily images from the sun -- 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.

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;

Recent International Astronomical Union Circulars


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