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

The auroral oval is expected to be close to background levels tonight. However, through the 5th into the 6th it is likely to become enhanced, with minor storms possible. Slight enhancements are also possible early on the 7th.

Southern Hemisphere

The auroral oval is expected to be close to background levels tonight. However, through the 5th into the 6th it is likely to become enhanced, with minor storms possible. Slight enhancements are also possible early on the 7th.

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Forecast overview

Space Weather Forecast Headline: Chance Minor Geomagnetic Storms on Days 2-4 (5th-7th March).

Analysis of Space Weather Activity over past 24 hours

Solar Activity: Solar activity was very low, with no Common-class flares. Two sunspots are on the visible disc, 2806 and 2807, both small weak bipolar regions.

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity: Solar wind speeds have gradually declined from around 600 km/s to around 500 km/s by the end of the period. The total interplanetary magnetic field strength, and the north-south component, have been weak. Geomagnetic activity was Quiet to Unsettled, with one Active period 0000 to 0300 UTC. 

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

Four-Day Space Weather Forecast Summary

Solar Activity: Solar activity is likely to be very low through this period with only two weak bipolar sunspot regions on the Sun. No other regions are expected at present. There is a small chance of Common-class flares occurring from the two sunspot regions. 

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity: No Earth-directed CMEs are currently forecast over the next four days. Elevated solar winds are expected to continue to ease during Day 1 as the effects of negative coronal hole 28 continue to wane. During day 2 they are likely to become elevated once again, due to the high speed stream from positive coronal hole 30 and 31. They are likely to remain at this levels for the majority of the rest of the period, but declining on Day 4. Geomagnetic activity is expected to be mainly Quiet to Unsettled on Day 1, with a slight chance of Active intervals. On Day 2 activity is expected to increase to become Unsettled to Active, and there is a chance of Minor Geomagnetic Storms intervals on Days 2-4.

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