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 at mostly background levels through this period, with any aurora restricted to higher latitudes.

Southern Hemisphere

The auroral oval is expected to be at mostly background levels through this period, with any aurora restricted to higher latitudes.

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Forecast overview

Space Weather Forecast Headline: Chance of Minor Geomagnetic Storm on day 4 (17th). 

Analysis of Space Weather Activity over past 24 hours

Solar Activity: Solar activity has been Low over the past 24 hours, with occasional Common-class flares. There are currently eight sunspot regions on the visible disc, with largest and most complex developing in the northwest quadrant over the past 24 hours. There are a couple other noteworthy regions in the southwest and northeast, which were responsible for the two largest flares in the period. All other regions on the disc are relatively small and simple. However, one in the southeast was the source for a small Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) around 13/1700 UTC. This has been analysed and is forecast to primarily pass south of Earth on the 17th. No other Earth-directed CMEs were observed in the available imagery.

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity: The solar wind is showing a waning fast wind environment, with speeds declining from around 530km/s to 480km/s. The total magnetic field was weak throughout with only weak variations in the important north-south component. Geomagnetic activity was Quiet to Unsettled (Kp 1-3).

Energetic Particles / Solar Radiation: No solar radiation storms were observed.

Four-Day Space Weather Forecast Summary

Solar Activity: Solar activity is forecast to remain predominantly Low, but with a chance of increasing to Moderate.

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity: Earth is currently seeing the decline of the fast wind from a coronal hole. The next coronal hole fast wind is due to arrive on day 4 (17th), with speeds of 500-600km/s likely. However there is the chance that this enhancement may be further enhanced by a glancing blow from a CME which left the Sun on the 13th. Geomagnetic activity is expected to be mainly Quiet, with isolated Unsettled intervals through the next three days. On day 4 (17th), activity is expected to become Unsettled to Active, with a chance a Minor Storm and slight chance of a Moderate Storm.

Energetic Particles / Solar Radiation: Solar radiation storms are unlikely, but there is a slight chance of an S1 or greater event due to the three more complex regions on the disc.

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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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