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

Some enhancements to the auroral oval are possible overnight into 28 September due to a potential combination of CME and coronal hole fast wind influences, with aurora sightings possible over northern Scotland under clear skies.

Southern Hemisphere

Some enhancements to the auroral oval are possible overnight into 28 September due to a potential combination of CME and coronal hole fast wind influences, with aurora sightings likely at high latitudes under clear skies.

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Forecast overview

Space Weather Forecast Headline: Chance of G1 Minor Storm on 28 September from high speed stream/or weak CME influence.

Analysis of Space Weather Activity over past 24 hours

Solar Activity: Solar activity was Low with a minor common class flare occurring over the last 24 hours. There are currently three sunspot regions on the Earth-facing disc. Two of the sunspots are located in the southwest quadrant of the disc, AR2871 and AR2877, both are showing signs of decaying. AR2877 (Cso/Beta) is currently the main source for any potential Moderate class flares, with AR2871 (Dao/Beta) now decaying. A newly numbered sunspot, AR2880 has recently appeared in the northeast quadrant of the disc and is currently classified as a Bxo/Alpha, which will continue to monitored for further development, although is currently stable and quiet. The common class flare which occurred at 28/0634UTC appears to have originated from a filament eruption in the southwest quadrant, which has recently produced coronal mass ejection, which has been observed in some coronagraph imagery and is pending analysis. 

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity: Solar wind speeds were at background levels at the start of the period, but increased to slightly elevated to elevated levels, peaking at 520km/s, due to connection with a coronal hole in the northern hemisphere and possibly a weak CME combined. The interplanetary magnetic field increased to moderate levels, with the all important north-south component mainly northward directed, but has become more variable. Resultant geomagnetic activity was Quiet to Unsettled (Kp 1-3). These parameters suggest the passage of a weak CME, and more recently a connection with coronal hole 05 and a high-speed stream.

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: Solar activity is expected to remain low or very low, with only a very slight chance of Moderate-class flares.

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity: Solar wind speeds are likely to be at slightly elevated levels, and geomagnetic activity may increase to Unsettled to Active, due to CME or high speed stream effects, with a chance of G1 minor storm if both CME and HSS effects combine during day 1 (28 September). A slow decline in activity would then be expected through Days 2 to 4 (29 September to 01 October) should the enhancements occur, with geomagnetic activity returning to mainly Quiet levels by the end of the period.

Energetic Particles / Solar Radiation: The count rate of energetic particles (high energy protons) is forecast to remain 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.

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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