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Vancanneyt Sander

Changelog/Featurelog

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Two new pages: Frequently Asked Questions and NOAA SWPC Alerts, Watches and Warnings

1. We are happy to introduce two new pages. First of all: we get a lot of questions here on SpaceWeatherLive and some of them return every so often. That's why we introduce a page where we put the questions (and answers of course!)  that we receive occasionally. If you have a question or are curious to learn more about space weather be sure to visit our new Frequently Asked Questions page. If you have a question that we did not answer in the FAQ be sure to leave them on our forum. We will do our best to answer them!

2. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Space Weather Prediction Center (NOAA SWPC) is the official space weather government agency from the United States that provides alerts, watches and warning for space weather disturbances.

We compiled all of the space weather alerts, watches and warnings that the NOAA SWPC issue under one dedicated page. Be sure to visit it at: http://www.spaceweatherlive.com/en/reports/noaa-swpc-alerts-watches-and-warnings

Two of the most important alerts that the NOAA SWPC send out but never been able to work with before are the Type II and Type IV radio emissions alerts. These are associated with solar flares and the release of a coronal mass ejection. These two alerts will not only show up on this page but they will also appear on our Twitter alert channel: https://twitter.com/_SpaceWeather_

We hope you enjoy these latest additions!

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We made a little update on our auroral oval map. Our previous version didnt show where it was day or night and now we have added that to the map to make it more accurately. 

Update 18/3:

we further improved our auroral oval map with enhanced night view 

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We made a few improvements to the solar wind data. As you might know, or not know, solar wind and IMF data are measured at the ACE satellite at the Sun-Earth L1 point thus it takes some time before the particles that pass ACE arrive at Earth itself. Although the lead time is always mentioned, you had to rewind in the data to know what conditions at Earth would be. So we've drawn a line based on the lead time to make it easier ;) 

we also improved the primary solar protons graph with additional data now showing the last 24h.

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SpaceWeatherLive alerts are now available within Chrome, Firefox and Safari web browsers! The website doesn't need to be open to receive these alerts. It's a fast way to be notified when you're on your laptop or PC and instantly be notified of interesting Space Weather and clicking the alert will bring you right back on our website where you can follow up on the alert.

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An update was made yesterday to solve Some issues with some of the pop up data links.

we've added Goes SXI video link to the solar activity page. And extended the proton chart to 12h.

in our extensive archive we've replaced the recent X-ray image by an enhanced X-Ray graph. It is possible to zoom in on the flares and investigate flares in detail. It is still possible to view the old image. We also improved our navigation in the archive, quick navigation buttons on for example the X-ray page will now lead towards the previous/next day/rotation directly instead of he overview of the day.

The short archive has been merged with our extensive big archive of all data. So if you are looking for an overview of solar activity, solar wind data and/or interplanetary magnetic field data, proton events; you'll now find these graphs inside our big archive. Browse the calendar for a particular date and click on the detail which you'd like to see.  Due to limitation on available data, solar wind speed, density and IMF are only available since august 2015.

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Two new pages where released today replacing the 'more data' buttons on the auroral activity and solar activity page. The more data buttons now lead you to a detailed page of the last 24h of auroral activity parameters and solar activity. These two pages are also live data and updated every few minutes and can come in handy to see coronal hole onset phases in the auroral activity age and solar flares in the past 24h. All these data graphs are interactive, you can zoom in on the graph and show the things you want to see, how convenient :)

hopefully you'll like these new pages :) 

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We've got some great additions to our archive, we've replaced almost every proton image and solar activity image with detailed graphs of the proton flux and solar x-ray flux :). By zooming in on the new archived solar flare charts you'll get to relive every solar flare as if it was in our live graphs :) explore it now in our extensive archive :) 

Schermafbeelding 2016-05-01 om 22.46.24.png

Schermafbeelding 2016-05-01 om 22.50.22.png

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In our archive we replaced the SWPC Kp image by a more modern looking graph, this from 1996 until now. We also added a chart for the Potsdam Kp index in the archive so it's easier to compare.

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Kiruna magnetogram image has been replaced with a more easier to read magnetogram. Like in the old days we used the deflection of the magnetometer readings to tell if strong aurora was happening above Europe, since Kiruna changed it's graphs it didn't get so easier and you'd had to determine the deflection for yourself based on the graphs with absolute measurements. So we've changed it a bit so the storm of this morning was like this:

image.jpeg

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We've made some changes regarding the Middle latitude alerts, we will no longer send these out. Most of the time these where send when the Kp was also high enough, but then everyone would receive multiple alerts closely to each other. As the Kp index is relatively understandable for everyone, we chose to discontinue that specific alert. 

For our Dutch visitors we have this to say:

Zoals je hiervoor kon lezen hebben we onze waarschuwing voor de gemiddelde breedtegraad laten vallen. Vele nieuwe bezoekers weten al niet wat dat al wil zeggen en wensen te weten of het nu al dan niet zichtbaar zal zijn vanuit de Lage Landen. Om onze Nederlandstalige bezoekers een extraatje te geven hebben we wel wat in de plaats gezet. Zowel via Twitter als via een waarschuwingsblokje zullen we je op de hoogte houden van een eventuele kans in Nederland en/of België. Volg dus zeker ons op Twitter, schakel push meldingen in en mis nooit meer een kans. 

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...and something we started with a few weeks ago. We are now also collecting SDO AIA 211 Angstrom imagery in our archive. This wavelength is used to spot coronal holes on the Sun. This will make it very easy to compare coronal holes from one rotation to the other or see if the source of that geomagnetic storm you always wondered about was a coronal hole. In the future we hope to have coronal hole imagery all the way back to the year 1996 in our archive. Check it out! https://www.spaceweatherlive.com/en/archive/2016/09/29/coronal-holes

EDIT 01-10-2016: Coronal hole imagery from 1996 up till today is now in the archive.

Edited by Marcel de Bont

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The DST (Disturbance Storm Time) index has been added to the magnetometer section, it contains predicted DST and observed DST of the past 24h. Many graphs received updates  and improvements as well.

The link page got an update as well with some dead links removed and some new and special links added.

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Major changes to the Kp alert system

The automated Kp alert system that we use for our Twitter channel, push alert system and the email alerts have received a major overhaul.

We decided to ditch the Wing-Kp index for our alert systems and are now using the Planetary K-index Alerts issued directly by the NOAA SWPC. Why?

  • The Wing-Kp alert system issued a lot of alerts during high geomagnetic activity. We used to send alerts for the observed Kp and the predicted Kp. These two type of alerts combined could easily lead to 20 alerts per day during a major geomagnetic storm. This was too much we think. By using the Planetary K-index Alerts from the NOAA SWPC we will issue less but higher quality alerts.
  • There will be no more ''The Kp-index is predicted to reach KpX in XX minutes'' alerts. The predicted Wing Kp alerts are not very reliable and sometimes we had alerts being issued that the Kp was expected to be 7, 8 or even 9 in XX minutes while there was absolutely no chance that we would get up to such levels. This was too unreliable for our taste and created false hope especially among the less experienced aurora chasers.
  • Maybe the biggest advantage of the Planetary K-index Alerts system is that it issues an alert as soon as a threshold (Kp4 or higher) has been reached. The observed Wing Kp can be delayed for a considerable amount of time and was not useful for real time observations. It could only be used as an indicator of past activity. The alerts from the NOAA SWPC are issued as soon as threshold has been reached and are more useful for aurora chasing. As stated on their own website:
Quote

A Geomagnetic Storm Alert is driven by ground-based magnetometer observations and is indicative of a specific storm threshold being reached. In other words, an Alert is a characterization of what is occurring now.

Note that these changes only affect our alert system. The website will still use the Wing Kp-index as the primary Kp source. Data from the NOAA SWPC Planetary K-index and the GFZ Potsdam Quicklook Kp-index can still be found on our website of course on this page.

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Acronyms and abbreviations

We are beginning the new year at full speed as we added two new pages on SpaceWeatherLive today. The first page is an addition to our already extensive help section: a page detailing the most commonly used acronyms and abbreviations used in space weather. Acronyms and abbreviations are a common sight in space weather bulletins and they can be confusing if you aren't familiar with them. On this new page you will find a list of the most commonly used terms along with a short description. Do you think we missed an important acronym or abbreviation? Please let us know! You can visit the page by following this link.

Historical solar cycles

I'm sure you are already familiar with the solar cycle progression page but today we added a page with solar cycle data all the way back to 1749. That's when the extensive recording of solar sunspot activity began. A fun little tool to compare the current solar cycle with previous cycles. Don't you wish you we're in 1778 right now? Visit the page by following this link.

Full chart.jpeg

SC4.jpeg

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Dynamic graph for the NOAA SWPC Planetary K-index

The external graph for the NOAA SWPC Planetary K-index (you know... this image) has now been replaced with one of our own interactive graphs on the Kp-index page. The .gif image from NOAA can still be accessed by clicking the SWPC button under the graph. We also added extra buttons under the Wing-Kp graph to three external graphs from the NOAA SWPC.

NOAA Kp.PNG

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Archive addition: ACE SWEPAM/MAG data since 1998

We've been extending our archive with thousands of new pages ?. As of mid-2015 we've been collecting daily solar wind and IMF data but when you've searched our archive for earlier dates you wouldn't know what the solar wind was like on a particular day, until now you had to look in the daily report to know what the conditions where and that's sometimes not enough. For example if you wanted to know how strong the IMF was during the Halloween solar storms of 2003 and how the IMF reacted during that storm, that wasn't possible until now... ? We've added solar wind and IMF data since 1998, that's almost 19 years of solar wind data that you can find in our archive ?!

SafariSchermSnapz007.jpg

We also added a small stats table for each day with the sunspot number, new regions, background flux, number of flares.

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Long term Kp forecast graph addition

We combined the long term Kp forecast graph with information about the upcoming moon phases. This will make it easy to spot when the next geomagnetic storm is expected and if the Moon will be a disturbing factor! Handy we think! Go check it out here!

grafiek met de kp index voor heel ver in de toekomst en heel veel kaasbolletjes.PNG

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End of the space weather email alert service - Replaced with news emails

It's time to say goodbye... goodbye to our space weather alerts via email.

Ever since we started SpaceWeatherLive and the Dutch version Poollicht.be, we have always had automated space weather alerts. When there was a significant solar flare or a geomagnetic storm for example, the people that were subscribed to our email alert system received an notification in their email inbox.

We later expanded this with tweets to our Twitter account @_spaceweather_ and push alerts in web browsers and smart phones.

Times are however changing and we have decided that alerts via email have become outdated. Twitter as a social media channel and push alerts are more suited for these kind of alerts and our emails were also often seen as spam. We sent out so many emails that all look the same to many addresses at the same time and that always caused issues with providers blocking our emails.

That brings us to our next announcement as we didn't entirely wanted to ditch emails as a way to reach and inform our audience. Instead, we decided to adopt a system that send an email to you whenever we have space weather news to report about on our website. Indeed, the news items that you find on https://www.spaceweatherlive.com/en/news

If you sign up for this new email list, you will at most receive 1 email every day but that is only if we made a news item. If we didn't made a news item you will not receive an email on that day and if we made two or more news items on one day, you will only get 1 email for that day. You will thus not be flooded with emails from us. You will only get a mail when there is interesting space weather news to read about. 

We hope you will enjoy this change and sign up for the new email list. Of course we hope you will also continue to use our alert system trough Twitter https://twitter.com/_SpaceWeather_ or the push alerts.

You can sign up for the news emails here: https://www.spaceweatherlive.com/en/aurora-alerts#alert_mail

Email.PNG

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An issue was reported on the site about the solar cycle page. It seems that the SWPC uses outdated sunspot numbers that are different from the international sunspot number. As such, we have replaced that data with the real international sunspot number and updated the corresponding graphs. We'd like to thank the Leibniz-Institut für Atmosphärenphysik e.V. for reporting this to us and helped us improve our website.

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We are excited to launch a new feature today as an enhancement of our Coronal Hole alerts:

As these tweets are very popular, it had to get it's own dedicated page on our website. While that page is still in development, we are thrilled to launch the first major feature of that page: the Coronal Hole map. Besides the SDO image where you can see coronal holes, it isn't always that easy for beginners to see the holes itself, so that's why we developed our own coronal hole maps, updated every hour and shows you where the holes are. On the new page you'll always get a good look on the coronal holes and when to expect effects from them on Earth. 

The page will be extended when we launch our next major version of the website!

 

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A few months ago we launched the new version of the website with an all new look and improved interface which made SpaceWeatherLive future proof (read more about this here). But there was one major thing we had to work on in the background, and that's our all new frontpage. After months of building, rebuilding, thinking out of the box, testing, translating, ... .

In short here's what's new:

  • Ditched Wing Kp completely because we all know it isn't reliable during storms
  • Introduced new NOAA Estimated Kp meter, based on true readings of magnetometer stations, it gets updated every three hours and also when threshold is reached
  • Geomagnetic predictions are no longer in the side bar, these are now merged on the auroral activity tab
  • Hemispheric power has been added
  • More magnetometers
  • Moved proton flux and EPAM to solar activity
  • Daily sunspot data (sunspot number, new regions) now shows the difference (if any) of the past day
  • Added 10.7cm radio flux
  • Loads of extra information added
  • Improved user experience, also for mobile users
  • ...

Read the full announcement here

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USAF WING KP MODEL REMOVED FROM SWPC WEBSITE

The NOAA SWPC has discontinued their support of the USAF Wing-Kp model.

The Wing-Kp index and was used extensively on SpaceWeatherLive back in the ''good old days'' as it was very easy to implement and it had a unique feature that provided a prediction as to what the Kp will be in the near future.

However, as most of you are aware, we always had a love-hate relationship with this model as the predicted Kp-values were sometimes way too high or lagging behind as a storm suddenly increased in intensity. It was not the greatest way to predict auroral activity according to our experiences.

About one and a half year ago, we ditched the Wing-Kp index in favor of NOAA's own Estimated Planetary K-index for our alert system so the Wing-Kp index was hardly used anymore on our website apart from a graph being present at the bottom of our Kp-index page. Now that NOAA discontinues their support, the graph there will be removed soon.

For more details please read NOAA's news item on the NOAA SWPC website.

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For everybody that didn’t see our news, we celebrated our 10th birthday of SpaceWeatherLive and we did that by releasing our own app that’s available for iOS and android devices. 

Like our website it’s available in 10 languages and has some unique features not found on the site. More information can be found here.

Thank you to all who supported us to make this all happen!

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The Moon phase calendar has been extended. up until now you could only view the current and next month; now you can look further into the future which is more ideal when you're planning your next aurora trip.

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