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 minor enhancements of the auroral oval are possible at high latitudes during the 20th, but should return to mostly background levels by the 21st. Further minor enhancements are possible on the 22nd and 23rd, with a slight chance of aurora becoming visible from northern Scotland.

Southern Hemisphere

Some minor enhancements of the auroral oval are possible at high latitudes during the 20th, but should return to mostly background levels by the 21st. Further minor enhancements are possible on the 22nd and 23rd.

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Forecast overview

Space Weather Forecast Headline: Slight chance of Moderate flares. G1/Minor geomagnetic Storms likely day 3 (22nd).

Analysis of Space Weather Activity over past 24 hours 

Solar Activity: Solar Activity is currently Moderate, with a Moderate flare observed from a sunspot region in the bottom left of the solar disc. There are three other active regions on the visible disc. The most significant is a developing region towards the top right limb, which has a sufficient complexity and magnetic field strength for further Moderate flares. The other two regions are all small and simple. No Earth-directed coronal mass ejections (CMEs) have occurred, although a CME associated with the Moderate flare has been assessed as passing just behind Earth in its orbit, with a slight chance of glancing across Earth. 

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity: Earth is considered likely to be experiencing the fast solar wind emanating from a coronal hole, with strong solar winds only gradually easing to elevated through the period. The magnetic field carried by the wind has remained weak however, with no significant deflections in the southward component. Geomagnetic activity was Quiet to Unsettled (Kp 2-3)

Energetic Particles / Solar Radiation: The count rate of energetic particles (high energy proton flux) remained at background

Four-Day Space Weather Forecast Summary

Solar Activity: Solar activity is expected to be Low to Moderate, with a chance of further Moderate flares from either of the two more active sunspot regions.

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity: There are no Earth-directed CMEs, as the CME produced by the Moderate flare is expected to pass just behind Earth, with only a slight chance of glancing across on the 23rd. Elevated solar winds due to Earth being embedded in the fast winds from a coronal hole, will continue to ease day 1 and 2 (20th and 21st), before increasing again to be elevated to strong on day 3 (22nd). This is due to the arrival of further coronal hole sourced fast wind. Geomagnetic activity will be Quiet to Unsettled with a chance of Active intervals at first, increasing to Active to G1/Minor Storms with the arrival of the faster wind on day 3 (22nd). These easing back to Quiet to Active, with a chance of further G1/Minor Storm intervals day 4 (23rd).

Energetic Particles / Solar Radiation: The count rate of energetic particles (high energy proton flux) is forecast to remain at background, although there is a slightly increased risk of this rising from any moderate-flares that might occur.

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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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