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 arrival of fast solar winds late on the 7th December is likely to result in an increasing chance of the aurora becoming visible. On 7th and 8th, the aurora is likely to be visible across Scotland, Northern Ireland and similar geomagnetic latitudes under clear skies and may be visible over parts of northern England and North Wales. Auroral activity likely declining later in the week, becoming confined to higher latitudes.

Southern Hemisphere

The greatest chance of an enhanced auroral oval are expected from midweek continuing into the 8th December. This is the result of the anticipated arrival of a fast solar wind. Enhancement will gradually decline towards the end of the week.

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Forecast overview

Space Weather Forecast Headline: Chance of Moderate class activity throughout. Chance of Minor Geomagnetic Storm G1 days 1 or 2 (7-8 Dec).

Analysis of Space Weather Activity over past 24 hours

Solar Activity: Solar activity has been low over the past 24 hours, with one small common-class X-ray flare observed. There are seven sunspot regions on the Earth-facing side of the Sun, with the disc dominated by a large region in the southeast which, despite its size, remains stable. The remaining spots on the disk have shown little growth and remained relatively stable.

There is no evidence of any Earth-bound Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) in available satellite imagery.

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity:  The solar wind speed showed a gradual decline from Elevated to Slow-Low levels in the period. The number of particles in the solar wind showed a similar decline to background counts. The important north-south component was generally weak.

Resultant geomagnetic activity was Quiet throughout (Kp 0-2).

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

Four-Day Space Weather Forecast Summary

Solar Activity: Solar activity is forecast to remain at Low levels, with occasional Common-class flares. There is a daily Chance of isolated moderate-class flares, perhaps most likely from the two largest sunspot regions. However, the complexity of the current sunspots has not been reflected in their observed flare activity. No significant regions are expected to arrive or depart in the next four days.

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity: No Earth-directed CMEs feature in the current forecast.

Solar winds are in gradual decline. Enhancement of winds is expected later on Day 1 (7 Dec) or day 2 (8th) upon the arrival of coronal hole fast winds. Winds expected to ease by the end of the period as this influence wanes. Geomagnetic activity is expected to remain Quiet (Kp 0-2) during the next 12-18 hours with a chance of Unsettled intervals (Kp 3). Active intervals (Kp 4) likely from late Day 1 with a Chance of G1/Minor Storms spanning into Day 2  (8-9 Dec). Activity then expected to return to Quiet on day 3 or 4 (9th/10th) as connection to coronal hole fast wind weakens.

Energetic Particles / Solar Radiation: No solar radiation storms are expected given the observed lack of even modest X-ray flares.

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Solar imagery


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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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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