Elevated geomagnetic conditions

Tuesday, 30 September 2014 - 17:16 UTC

Elevated geomagnetic conditions

Geomagnetic conditions continue to be elevated as we remain under the influence of coronal hole effects. The direction of the IMF is mostly south which caused enough geomagnetic instability for the Kp-index to reach active levels (Kp4) over the past 24 hours. Aurora filled the skies over many high latitude locations during local night time. Coronal hole effects continue today and more aurora is possible at high latitude locations. Header image: aurora last night as captured by Zack Splaine from Alberta, Canada.

A quick look at the current solar wind stats show that the numbers are actually not all that exciting but it is the direction of the IMF that is causing elevated geomagnetic conditions. The direction of the IMF remains southward near -5nT for prelonged periods and this stirs up aurora at high latitude locations. Kp-values up to 4 remain possible in the hours ahead.

Image: The Kp-index as a global aurora indicator

Solar activity

Solar activity has been low today with only C-class activity. Sunspot regions 2175, 2172 and 2173 are now rotating away from Earth and are in a state of decay. All three sunspot regions remain complex enough for an isolated M-class event as they rotate out of Earth's view but any associated coronal mass ejection will likely be directed away from Earth.

The only sunspot group of interest from the sunspot groups that will face Earth the coming days is sunspot group 2177. This sunspot group has a modest Beta-Gamma magnetic layout. It could produce an isolated low-level (R1) M-class solar flare but the chances are still low.

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