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 aurora is expected to be at background for much of the period, with only limited enhancements leading to potential visibility at high latitudes. However due to limited darkness due to the upcoming summer solstice, visible aurora will be unlikely even at these latitudes.

Southern Hemisphere

The aurora is expected to be at background for much of the period, with only limited enhancements leading to potential visibility at high latitudes, likely limited to Antarctica, or perhaps the far south of New Zealand.

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Forecast overview

Space Weather Forecast Headline: Occasional Moderate class flares likely (R1-R2 radio blackouts).

Analysis of Space Weather Activity over past 24 hours

Solar Activity: Solar activity has been Moderate with two low level Moderate flares observed, the largest flare from the large, complex sunspot just west of the south centre disc. There are five sunspot regions visible. Aside from the region mentioned above, there are also two other moderately sized sunspots just west of the centre disc, however these are smaller and simpler. Two regions have rotated over the western limb in recent hours and another region will soon follow. 

A CME (coronal mass ejection) occurred in the northeast of the disc at 19/0918UTC and could potentially have an Earth directed component. However, analysis of this CME is pending, awaiting on relevant coronagraph imagery. Other than this there were no Earth-directed CMEs in the past 24 hours. 

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity: Fast solar wind influence from a coronal hole was observed, with solar winds elevated between 550-600 km/s until around 18/1500UTC, a declining trend was then observed falling to current values of 520km/s. Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF) was at weak levels. The important north-south component was weakly variable. Geomagnetic activity has been Quiet to Unsettled (Kp 1-3).

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

Four-Day Space Weather Forecast Summary

Solar Activity: Moderate activity is expected with further Moderate class flares likely and a slight chance of isolated Strong class flares. These most likely from the large sunspot region just west of the south-centre disc.

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity: A CME (coronal mass ejection) which occurred in the northwest of the disc at 19/0918 UTC is waiting on relevant coronagraph imagery for analysis. Other than this there are no Earth-directed CMEs, and current elevated solar winds due to CH45/+ are expected to gradually ease through the next couple of days. There is a chance of a further enhancement later on day 3 (21 Jun), from any influence of CH46/-, however this is low confidence.

Mainly Quiet to Unsettled geomagnetic activity is expected. There is a chance of isolated Active intervals with either of the fast wind enhancements, mainly early day 1 (19 Jun) or later day 3 and into day 4 (21 and 22 Jun).   

Energetic Particles / Solar Radiation: The count rate of energetic particles (high energy protons) is forecast to be at background but with a slight chance of rising given the occurrence of any notable flares. This gives a slight chance of reaching the Minor Solar radiation Storm level (S1).

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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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