The last few days have seen G-1 geomagnetic storms in response to a
high-speed solar wind stream, and some quite beautiful aurora pictures
have been captured in northern Europe, Canada, and the northern US, as
can be seen here :
. The Earth is
now exiting that solar wind stream, so the activity level should drop
off. There is a small coronal hole rotating into view, but it doesn't
look to be big enough to create much activity. There are two small
sunspot regions visible, but neither look to have the potential to
generate a significant flare.
Worthy of note is the position of the sunspots. They are both very
close to the sun's equator, which is what one would expect to see near
the bottom of a sunspot cycle. Most sunspots form between +/- 30
degrees solar latitude. A typical sunspot cycle will see sunspots
forming near the 30 degree line at the beginning of the cycle, and
then steadily moving closer to the equator as the cycle continues.
There is usually some overlap from one cycle to the next. When you
see the first sunspots start forming at the 30 degree line, you'll
know that the solar machinery is starting Cycle 24. See this diagram
for an illustration.
Notice how there is a steady increase in sunspot cycle peaks from
Cycle 11 though Cycle 19, and notice how there appears to be an
equally steady decline from Cycle 19 to the current cycle, Cycle 23.
Could we be headed for another Maunder Minimum? Time will tell.
Incidentally, the Maunder Minimum corresponded quite nicely with the
Little Ice Age. Food for thought, no?
The current solar and geomagnetic conditions are :
NOAA sunspot number : 63
SFI : 85
A index : 22
K index : 3
Solar wind speed : 484.1 km/sec
Solar wind density : 2.9 protons/cc
Solar wind pressure : 1.3 nPa
IMF : 4.2 nT
IMF Orientation : 1.7 nT South
GOES-12 Background X-ray Flux level : A5
Conditions for the last 24 hours :
Space weather for the past 24 hours has been minor. Geomagnetic storms
reaching the G1 level occurred.
Forecast for the next 24 hours :
No space weather storms are expected for the next 24 hours.
Solar activity forecast :
Solar activity is expected to be at very low to low levels. Region 752
is complex enough to generate a C-class flare.
Geeomagnetic acticity forecast :
The geomagnetic field is expected to be at predominantly quiet to
unsettled levels. Isolated active conditions are possible on 15 April
as the geoeffective high speed stream wanes.
Recent significant solar flare activity :