Tuesday, 1 January 2019 - 00:00 UTC
Happy New Year everyone! Congratulations on surviving yet another trip around our Sun!
If we look back at the space weather events in 2018 we have to conclude we've had a rather boring year. Solar minimum is here. We have had 221 days without any sunspots on the earth-facing solar disk and the strongest solar flare was a C8.1 solar flare back in February. We had no M or X-class solar flares in 2018. The last time this occurred was in 2009.
The strongest geomagnetic storm of this year took place in August. A coronal mass ejection from a faint filament eruption surprisingly sparked a strong G3 (Potsdam Kp7+) geomagnetic storm on 26 August. The coronal mass ejection was faint but it came with a prolonged southward directed interplanetary magnetic field and that was enough for some brilliant aurora displays around the world. We did had more days with geomagnetic storm activity (20 days) than during the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 so for solar minimum we didn't do too bad this year.
Despite the very low space weather activity that we had in 2018 we must say that as a website we have had a great year. We broke many records, something we never would have expected as we are at solar minimum.
A few years ago we were actually worried... how are we going to survive solar minimum? We expected a drop in visitors and a drop in income. How will we pay the bills? Turns out there was nothing to worry about. We never had as many visitors as we had this year and thanks to your donations and ad revenue (that's why it is so important for us that our visitors do not use an ad blocker!) we had no trouble paying all the bills. SpaceWeatherLive is part of a non-profit organisation so the extra funds could be invested into something that many of you have asked us about. In September we celebrated our 10th birthday and introduced an app for iOS and Android which has been downloaded more than 10.000 times already! A brilliant milestone for our website! Thank you!
Other highlights of this year are the new front page, many visible and invisible improvements to make SWL futureproof, improved many pages like the moon phases, webcams and magnetometer pages and much more. In the past few days we added another under the hood improvement: the graphs are now updated automatically without having to refresh the page.
What will 2019 bring? 2019 will likely be another quiet year when it comes to space weather but we hope to see more high latitude sunspots which could indicate Solar Cycle 25 is upon us. Again, thank you all for your support and visits despite it being solar minimum. It's incredible to think we have had more visitors than ever before despite it being solar minimum! What are you hoping for in 2019? The entire SpaceWeatherLive team wishes you a fantastic 2019 and we thank all of our visitors for an amazing 2018!
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