Ambient solar wind, Coronal hole

Sunday, 12 February 2017 - 19:46 UTC

Ambient solar wind, Coronal hole

Space weather has been very quiet the past few days. The solar wind conditions at Earth are at ambient levels and the geomagnetic activity at our planet is not expected to surpass Kp2 until the next coronal hole solar wind stream arrives. On the Sun we only have one sunspot region on the earth-facing side of the solar disk (sunspot region 2635) but it is not complex enough to produce C, M or X-class solar flares. There is only one interesting solar feature worth discussing at the moment and that is an earth-facing coronal hole.

This coronal hole is actually a long southward extension of the northern hemisphere polar coronal hole and it has been around for months. There is however a catch here because if we compare it with how it looked like during the previous rotations (links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) we can very much conclude that its hardly a shadow of its former appearances and the coronal hole is well on its way to close up.

During the previous rotation in January, it only managed to cause one 3-hour period with active geomagnetic conditions (Kp4) and there is no reason to believe it could produce a geomagnetic storm this time around so we will not issue a geomagnetic storm watch. The solar wind stream is expected to arrive on Wednesday (15 February 2017) and a maximum Kp of 4 (active geomagnetic conditions) is to be expected.

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