Coronal hole faces Earth

Saturday, 13 May 2017 - 08:40 UTC

Coronal hole faces Earth

Space weather has been very quiet for weeks now. Solar activity has been very low (A and B-class activity only) ever since 19 April and the last geomagnetic storm was a long time ago as well: 23 April. There were pretty much no interesting space weather events to report since that time but today we finally have something interesting to report. It might not be the biggest news we have ever brought to you (literally) but we take anything at the moment! It is a small coronal hole that is facing our planet today and it is now sending an enhanced solar wind stream towards us which could spark some nice aurora in a few days from now.

This coronal hole is no new solar feature, it was already present on our Sun during the previous solar rotation. It however cause minor geomagnetic storm conditions on 19 April and moderate G2 geomagnetic storm conditions on 20 April.

The coronal hole did change in shape during its trip around the far side of the Sun but it is still a trans-equatorial coronal hole so we should see a decent solar wind impact from it. The solar wind stream will likely take about 2 to 3 days to cover the Sun-Earth distance and from that we can conclude that minor G1 geomagnetic storm conditions on 16 May will be possible. The Moon might be an issue however as its still lit for about 78% on 16 May, which means weak aurora might be harder to spot. Nonetheless finally something to look out for, especially for our friends in the southern hemisphere where the nights are becoming longer and longer as we approach the June solstice.

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Current data suggest that it is not possible to see aurora now at middle latitudes

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Today's space weather

Auroral activity Minor Severe
High latitude 25% 30%
Middle latitude 5% 1%
Predicted Kp max 3
Solar activity
M-class solar flare 1%
X-class solar flare 1%
Moon phase
Waning Crescent

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Last X-flare:2017/09/10X8.2
Last M-flare:2017/09/09M1.1
Last geomagnetic storm:2017/10/15Kp5 (G1)
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