** Aurora Watch In Effect **
This St. Patrick's Day has been a very interesting one. The hits just
keep on coming! The big story has to be today's flare. The sun broke
quite a long significant flare-free period with a literal bang in the
form of an X-1 class flare from sunspot region 314. There was also an
associated CME with this massive flare. The CME wasn't squarely
Earth-directed, but we could get at least a glancing blow from it
sometime on the 19th. If it does hit, it will add to the activity
already being caused by the high speed solar wind gusts. Speaking of
which, the geomagnetic field got up to the G-2 geomagnetic storm level
earlier today, and the solar wind speed has been hovering around the
800 km/sec mark for much of the day. Look for things to be active and
quite interesting for the next 48 hours at least, and then beginning
to calm down a bit after that. Today's events just go to show you
that even in the declining phase of a sunspot cycle, big flares can
still happen, and there can be plenty of action to keep you occupied!
Sunspot region 314 has the potential of lighting off another major flare.
The current solar and geomagnetic conditions are :
NOAA sunspot number : 80
SFI : 125
A index : 31
K index : 4
Solar wind speed : 840.0 km/sec (no, that's not a typo!)
Solar wind density : 1.3 protons/cc
Solar wind pressure : 1.1 nPa
IMF : 8.5 nT
IMF Orientation : 0.7 nT North
Conditions for the last 24 hours :
Space weather for the past 24 hours has been strong. Geomagnetic
storms reaching the G2 level occurred. Radio blackouts reaching the R3
Forecast for the next 24 hours :
Space weather for the next 24 hours is expected to be minor.
Geomagnetic storms reaching the G1 level are expected. Radio blackouts
reaching the R1 level are expected.
Solar activity forecast :
Solar activity is expected to be moderate. M-class activity is likely
in Region 314, including the possibility of another major flare.
Geomagnetic activity forecast :
The geomagnetic field is expected to be mostly active over the next 24
hours with the possibility of minor storm periods. Activity levels are
expected to abate by the end of the three-day forecast period.
Recent significant solar flare activity :
18-Mar-2003 0037Z M1.7
17-Mar-2003 1905Z X1.5