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

Geomagnetic activity may increase slightly on 26 November. A weak auroral oval may become visible across the far north of Scotland on November.

Southern Hemisphere

Geomagnetic activity may increase on 26 November. A weak auroral oval may become visible at high latitudes on 26 November.

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Forecast overview

Space Weather Forecast Headline: Slight chance of Moderate-class flares. Slight chance of G1/Minor Storms on day 1 (26 November).

Analysis of Space Weather Activity over past 24 hours

Solar Activity: Solar activity was low, with only one Common-class flare observed in the last 24 hours, this emanating from the large region in the southeast of the solar disc. This has evolved in size over the last 24 hours and has potential for further flare activity. A smaller and more stable region, also in the southeast quadrant is a stable, uni-polar region. A bi-polar region in the southwest has simplified through the period, with the lead spot in the group appearing to be relatively stable. No Earth-directed coronal mass ejections (CMEs) were observed.

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity: The solar wind speed has slowly decreased from slightly elevated levels and is now around 380km/s as the recent effects of a coronal hole recede. The magnetic field strength of the solar wind was weak, with the important north-south component also varying weakly. Resultant geomagnetic activity was mostly Quiet (Kp 0-2), with only one Unsettled period early in the period.

Energetic Particles / Solar Radiation: The number of energetic particles (high energy proton flux) in the near-Earth space environment remained at background levels with no solar radiation storms observed 

Four-Day Space Weather Forecast Summary

Solar Activity: Solar activity is forecast to remain low, with a further likelihood of Common-class flares. There is also a slight chance of Moderate-class flares, these most likely to be produced by AR2786.

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity: A weak CME may arrive at Earth either on 26 November (day 1) or early on 27 November (day 2), although confidence in the forecast arrival is currently low. Solar wind speeds will start at ambient levels but are forecast to increase to slightly elevated, or perhaps elevated, levels to between 500-550km/s, due to the effects of a coronal hole fast wind. A decrease would then be expected from 28 November (day 3). Geomagnetic activity will start mainly Quiet (Kp0-2), but Unsettled (Kp3) conditions with a chance of Active (Kp4) intervals are possible associated with the increase in the solar wind speed. Activity may be further enhanced on day 1 should the anticipated CME arrive, with a very slight risk of G1/Minor Storms (Kp5).  A return to mainly Quiet conditions is forecast through days 3 and 4.

Energetic Particles / Solar Radiation: The number of energetic particles (high energy proton flux) in the near-Earth space environment 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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