Coronal hole faces Earth

Friday, 6 April 2018 - 19:07 UTC

Coronal hole faces Earth

A familiar coronal hole has returned! It is a thin east-west aligned northern hemisphere coronal hole close to the solar equator that is facing our planet today.

This coronal hole was the cause for a lot of drama last rotation with lots of fake news items floating around on the internet about it causing massive geomagnetic storming and other dramatic events which turned out to be a pile of nonsense.

However, this coronal hole did cause some geomagnetic storming during the last rotation and sparked some vivid auroral displays. In fact, we briefly even reached up to the moderate G2 geomagnetic storm level but only during one 3-hour period on 18 March as the high solar wind speed and prolonged southward pointing IMF (Bz) possibly aided by the equinox effect stirred up enough for geomagnetic activity for moderate storm conditions.

Are we going to see similar effects this time around? That is hard to say but the coronal hole didn't change its shape all that much since it faced us last time so its pretty likely we will at least reach the minor G1 geomagnetic storm level again this time around.

The solar wind stream will likely arrive at Earth on 9 April and due to the elongated shape of this coronal hole, the stream will likely persist for multiple days. For high latitude sky watchers in the northern hemisphere this might be your last opportunity for some nice auroral displays until the midnight sun takes over! Good luck!

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

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