Space Weather

Space Weather

Space weather describes changing environmental conditions in near-Earth space. Magnetic fields, radiation, particles and matter, which have been ejected from the Sun, can interact with the Earth’s upper atmosphere and surrounding magnetic field to produce a  variety of effects.

Image courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams

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Aurora forecasts

Northern Hemisphere

There is a very slight chance of enhancements to the Auroral Oval for the far north of Scotland through 2nd and 3rd Feb due to coronal hole high speed stream and coronal mass ejection arrivals. Both of these are low confidence and low likelihood therefore aurora sightings are considered unlikely.

Southern Hemisphere

There is a very slight chance of enhancements to the Auroral Oval to 60 degrees south through 2nd and 3rd Feb due to coronal hole high speed stream and coronal mass ejection arrivals. Both of these are low confidence and low likelihood therefore aurora sightings are considered unlikely.

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Forecast overview

Space Weather Forecast Headline: Slight chance of Moderate solar activity throughout. Slight chance of G1 minor storm on days 3 and 4 (5th and 6th Feb).

Analysis of Space Weather Activity over past 24 hours

Solar Activity: Activity has been Low, with common-class flares. There are five sunspot regions visible, with the only notable region being in the southeast. While magnetically simple, this has exhibited some slow growth. No Earth-directed coronal mass ejections (CMEs) have been observed on available imagery, however there are a large number of filaments on the disc which will need to be monitored for any eruption. 

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity: Solar wind parameters are indicative of a waning fast wind from a coronal hole. Wind speeds were mostly steady and slightly elevated, near 420km/s, with a declining trend back towards slow-ambient levels, as current fast wind wanes. The total interplanetary magnetic field strength was weak, along with the all important north-south component. Geomagnetic activity was mostly Quiet (0-2Kp), with an Unsettled interval (Kp3) between 02/0000-0300 UTC.  

Energetic Particles / Solar Radiation: The count rate of energetic particles (high energy protons) was at background with no solar radiation storms observed. 

Four-Day Space Weather Forecast Summary

Solar Activity: Low activity is forecast with the sunspots on the visible disc currently small and relatively simple. There is a very slight chance of Moderate class flares.

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity: There are no Earth-directed coronal mass ejections (CMEs), although a slight glance cannot be ruled out from a CME later on day 1 (3rd), although this will likely miss. Solar winds will continue to ease through the period, after the recent fast wind, before the next fast wind from a large coronal hole, arrives later on day 2 (04 Feb) or more likely on day 3 (05 Feb) with effects lasting into day 4 (06 Feb). Geomagnetic activity is expected to be mainly Quiet to Unsettled with a slight chance of Active intervals. There is a slight chance (20%) of G1/Minor Storms, mainly day 3 (05 Feb) and possibly into day 4 (06 Feb) due to the arrival of fast wind from a coronal hole. 

Energetic Particles / Solar Radiation: The count rate of energetic particles (high energy protons) is forecast to be at background with no solar radiation storms occurring. 

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Solar imagery

SDO AIA-193

This channel highlights the outer atmosphere of the Sun - called the corona - as well as hot flare plasma. Hot active regions, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections will appear bright here. The dark areas - called coronal holes - are places where very little radiation is emitted, yet are the main source of solar wind particles.

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SDO AIA-304

This channel is especially good at showing areas where cooler dense plumes of plasma (filaments and prominences) are located above the visible surface of the Sun. Many of these features either can't be seen or appear as dark lines in the other channels. The bright areas show places where the plasma has a high density.

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