Welcome to August.... and solar minimum?

Wednesday, 1 August 2018 - 18:50 UTC

Welcome to August.... and solar minimum?

Welcome to August! The year 2018 is now 212 days old and according to the numbers from the NOAA SWPC, the Sun has been spotless during 120 days this year thus far. The sunspots regions that did face Earth this year have been far from impressive and we had no M or X-class solar flares yet this year.

Does that mean we are closing in on solar minimum or are we already at solar minimum? The European SIDC has an interesting article on their website discussing the possibility of solar minimum occurring this year which would make solar cycle 24 shorter than average. Be sure to give it a read, the SIDC isn't as well known as the NOAA SWPC but they do excellent work and their daily updates are well worth following! What do you think? Are we at solar minimum already?

Talking about updates, our automated coronal hole detection system popped into action today and detected a small coronal hole facing our planet today. While the coronal hole is transequatorial, it is likely too small to have a noticeable effect on our planet. If you are at a high latitude location you might see some enhanced aurora on 4 August but the effects are likely to be minimal and the Kp-index is unlikely to exceed Kp2 or Kp3.

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Current data suggest that it is not possible to see aurora now at middle latitudes
The solar wind speed is currently moderately high (611.3 km/sec.)

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Last X-flare:2017/09/10X8.2
Last M-flare:2017/10/20M1.0
Last geomagnetic storm:2018/07/05Kp5 (G1)
Number of spotless days in 2018:130
Last spotless day:2018/08/13

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