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 oval is currently weak and at background levels. No significant change is expected for much of the period, but from the 18th there is a chance of slight enhancements.

Southern Hemisphere

The aurora oval is currently weak and at background levels. No significant change is expected for much of the period, but from the 18th there is a chance of slight enhancements.

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Forecast overview

Space Weather Forecast Headline: No significant activity expected.

Analysis of Space Weather Activity over past 24 hours

Solar Activity: Solar activity has been very low. Early in the period two weak sunspot regions emerged on the disk, since then one region has faded away, but the other has been numbered as AR2796 in the southwest quadrant. This region is small and magnetically simple, and is not showing any signs of significant development. No Earth-directed CMEs have been observed in the last 24 hours.

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity: The solar wind speed has remained at background levels, generally between 300-320 km/s. The total interplanetary magnetic field strength was weak, with the important north-south component also varying weakly. Geomagnetic activity was Quiet throughout.

Energetic Particles / Solar Radiation: The count rate of energetic particles was at background levels, with no solar radiation storms observed.

Four-Day Space Weather Forecast Summary

Solar Activity: Solar activity is forecast to be predominantly very low, although the emergence of AR2796 in the southwest quadrant increases the chance of a weak Common class flare a little. During days 2 or 3 (17 or 18th Jan) a sunspot region is expected to rotate onto the visible disc. Therefore, from late tomorrow solar activity may increase.

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity: No Earth-directed CMEs are expected to arrive at Earth. The solar wind is expected to remain at background levels today and tomorrow. Then from day 3 (18th Jan), high speed streams are expected to become geoeffective. Geomagnetic conditions are expected to remain Quiet today and tomorrow, then increase from day 3 to become Unsettled to Active with a slight chance of a Minor Geomagnetic storm.

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