Solar Activity Report for 2/18/03
- ** Aurora Watch In Effect **
I'll start off this evening's report with a couple of items that don't
affect us directly, but are darned interesting to look at. There's a
large, very bright comet that is now in view of the SOHO satellite
coronagraph. For SOHO to see a comet is not unusual. SOHO has
discovered over 500 previously unknown comets since its launch.
However, this one is far and away the brightest SOHO has seen. Take a
look at the image on the http://www.spaceweather.com/ website. It is
very, very impressive. Click on the image and check out the LASCO C3
image for realtime pictures. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen
and click on MPEG and take a look at the LASCO C3 animation. It is
quite breathtaking. You'll notice a big, bright CME on the image at
Spaceweather.com. That CME actually impacted the comet, and
astronomers think it may have caused a disturbance in the comet's
tail! The appearance of the comet and the CME are completely
unrelated events other than the fact that they happened to occur at
about the same time. The CME was caused by a gigantic filament
eruption, which can be seen here in this animation from one of SOHO's
extreme UV telescopes.
. Take a good look at this one. You won't see one this large very
often. The CME wasn't Earth-directed, but it contributed to an
already spectacular view. Now, on to things that do affect us. The
Earth is still inside of a high speed coronal hole solar wind stream.
Geomagnetic activity has been relatively modest so far, but aurora
are still a distinct possibility. There is but a single sunspot
region visible on the solar disk tonight. At one time, the sunspot
number had dropped all the way down to 14, which is highly unusual for
this time of the sunspot cycle. It has since climbed back up a bit.
The current solar and geomagnetic conditions are :
NOAA sunspot number : 51
SFI : 110
A index : 18
K index : 2
Solar wind speed : 558.0 km/sec
Solar wind density : 2.5 protons/cc
Solar wind pressure : 1.0 nPa
IMF : 7.2 nT
IMF Orientation : 3.5 nT North
Conditions for the last 24 hours :
No space weather storms were observed for the past 24 hours.
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 very low to low. Region 288 and 289
have C-class potential.
Geomagnetic activity forecast :
The geomagnetic field is expected to be at quiet to isolated active
levels. Coronal hole effects are expected to continue after the
transient has passed.
Recent significant solar flare activity :