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  1. At around 930pm this evening a spike in the solar wind speed was detected with a velocity of around 700km/s. Prior to this spike the magnetic field was already in an active state so a period of minor storming looks likely in the coming hours (conditions equal to or higher than kp5). Aurora displays are possible north of 54N. It looks like the most recent disruption is caused by a wind stream from a coronal hole and not an incoming cme. The cme ejected on 29/03 may brush past during the coming hours enhancing the magnetic field even further.
  2. Pics are from spaceweather.com, the first one taken in Lapland the second Quebec in Canada. Simply stunning. As I expected, an incredibly bright and colourful aurora due to the extremely high proton density of the solar wind.
  3. Simple rule of thumb is the further north you can travel the greater the chance of catching a display. To have any chance of seeing something on british soil you really need to head to the far north, beyond Wick. Obviously the weather up there tends to be rather poor for aurora viewing on average so a second recommendation would be east of the cairngorms and north of Aberdeen where there are many more clear nights on average. The best time of the year to do it would be anytime between August and April as the nights are longer. If you can go holidaying at short notice then this 27 day forecast indicates when solar/geomagnetic activity might pep up enabling you to go when the chances of auroral activity are higher. http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/weekly/27DO.txt 10.7 flux is a simple measure of activity on the sun, 80 is low and 120+ is high. KP index is a measure of earth effects (aurora). 3 is sufficent enough to see aurora from the far north of the UK, 6 is required to see aurora from Kiedler.
  4. 13 days later and as expected we have a hive of activity on the solar surface with a number of C class flare's, some low M-class flares and several cme's in the last few days. Here's an image from Nasa's stereo A of a violent eruption on the far side of the sun on 21/03. Full movie of the eruption here (mpg file, needs to be downloaded to your hard drive) Late last night lasco c2 captured this image of a cme. x-ray flux at the time records a C1 flare. The matter appears to arise from 1176 but it is plausible that it could be a large filament eruption involving other active regions connected to 1176 on the solar surface, there is a lot of plasma ejected. There may be some earth directed matter but the vast majority should sail wide of earth. A spell of disruptive geomagnetic activity is possible once this cme sweeps past earth. click here for a gif movie of the eruption. The next 7 to 10 days will be of interest as all the active regions travel across the earth facing side of the solar disk. More M-class flare's are likely as well as more cme's from 1176 and 1183. The region responsible for the extravagant farside explosion on 21/03 mentioned above (1169) is due to appear over the eastern limb in the next couple of days and could also bear potential for flare activity. During the last 24 hours earth has felt the effects of a faint cme that erupted on 24/03. Solar wind densities reached incredibly high values at above 80p/cm3 but the slow velocity and northward magnetic orientation meant that auroral activity remained at high latitudes. With a high peak particle density the aurora would have been incredibly bright and colourful.
  5. A quick glance at today's solar disk shows things are very quiet. The sunspot number is a fraction of what it was only a week or 2 ago with a number of active regions disappearing over the limb. Don't be fooled by the sun's deceptively blank expression! The far side still looks very active according to Nasa's Stereo ahead. Stereo b shows much less activity, the side of the sun that stereo b looks at will be earth facing in the next few days meaning things should remain quiet for the coming week. The only notable recent activity was a C3 flare from departing sunspot region 11169 last night around 7pm. A considerable sized cme erupted during the explosion. It goes to show that it is not the flare class that determines the size or strength of any associated cme.
  6. Hi Mike, Yes the rate of deviation is worth watching when under cme effects particularly when repetitive 'spiking' activity occurs, it is the first sign of potential severe storming. These graphs are an example of cme effects that measured kp8 levels. Aurora would have been visible on the horizon all the way to 50N with overhead displays as far south as Liverpool. Notice the change from quiet to minor storm then reaching major storm levels at 1130pm 14/12. http://www.dcs.lancs.ac.uk/summary/aurorawatch/2006/12/20061214.png http://www.dcs.lancs.ac.uk/summary/aurorawatch/2006/12/20061215.png To simply say the algorithms are unreliable is a little vague and not the best way to put it. The gedds and kho forecasts rely on the costello index which in turn uses the data received from ace to work out the effect that the incoming wind will have on our magnetosphere. The accuracy of data recorded onboard ace can become unreliable during cme effects. This affects the reliability of the costello and subsequently any aurora forecast based on ace data.
  7. It's nice to catch a display after the long solar slumber. The geo-storm is still ongoing this evening!. In fact it appears to be more intense than last night with recent kp values of 6 and local k-indices for the uk almost reaching 7 in the last hour. Rubbish weather here though. I hope you catch your chance Isabelle, tonight might be a good opportunity to view the aurora if the weather's right.
  8. Currently very active, the rate of deviation on the magnetometer is bordering on major storm levels. (kp7) Definitely k6+ right now over the UK.
  9. The forecast is based on data recorded by the ace satellite, The algorithms used for the predictions are barely out of the beta stage so accuracy is not the best. The magnetometer is the most reliable method for detecting disruptions. It is still very unsettled with notable deviations, could become k6 or 7 if the current conditions persist. Yet again I'm stuck under cloud here. Looks like this could be a bright display as well.
  10. Another spell of geomagnetic storming is underway with a disruption level similar to last night.
  11. It's a dead cert we will have more auroral activity this year compared to the last 2 to 3 years. Currently we are in the third year of this solar cycle, looking at the previous 'third years' on the last 2 solar cycles (May 98-May 99 and Sept 88-Sept 89) cumulatively there were a total of 35 geomagnetic storm 'days' where the kp measured 7 or higher, of those 11 reached kp8 or kp9. Based on that it would be a conservative estimate to say there should be 10 events reaching kp7 and at least 2 reaching kp8 in the next 12 months. Whether solar activity will continue it's upward trend nobody knows yet. The experts in solar science and heliophysics agree that even during the very quiet solar cycles there are short spikes of high activity. Whether this is a continuing upward trend or a short lived spike, we will find out in the next month or two. I've got a similar problem out here in rural Ayrshire, the LP from Glasgow ruins the vista to N-NE, I need to travel south about 10-15 miles to get a horizon view completely free of pollution.
  12. There appears to be very little matter ejected during the X-class flare, a few hours before the X-flare there was a C9 flare from the same region. This explosion appears to have an earthbound cme associated with it, though on lasco c2 imagery it looks rather faint with a slow velocity. A solar wind stream from a coronal hole should hit earth around the same time as the C9 flare related cme as well as any earthbound matter from the X-class flare, possibly sparking a spell of minor storming on it's arrival sometime on the 12th or 13th. In recent hours the largest flare to occur was an M1.1 that came from the eastern limb, there was a cme ejected but is heading for Stereo B and not earth. There also appears to be an ejection of matter from earth facing sunspot region 1166 around 1230am 11/03. There was no notable flare activity during the cme lift off. Will be interesting to see what noaa have to say about this tomorrow.
  13. Likewise, I thought you were going to see some kind of display, albeit low on the horizon but sounds like the damn cloud has ruined the show! There's always next time, which shouldn't be a long wait judging by current solar activity. solar activity
  14. Been under the cloud all night here, no chance for me unless things clear up. The magnetometer is giving measurements typical of k5 at 140am - that is a deviation of 50nT on the Crooktree magnetometer.
  15. If you're lucky enough to have clear skies and are at 54N or higher you should see something above the north horizon during the next hour.
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