Strong G3 geomagnetic storm

Tuesday, 14 May 2019 13:07 UTC

Strong G3 geomagnetic storm

Strong G3 geomagnetic storm conditions were observed earlier today as a coronal mass ejection arrived at our planet.

While there was no shock in the solar wind, everything points to this being one of the many plasma clouds that the Sun expelled during the past few days. The solar wind speed maxed out at about 570km/s but a sustained southward pointing Bz component of the interplanetary magnetic field for about three hours around -14nT ruffled our planet's magnetic field and we quickly shot up to strong G3 geomagnetic storm conditions. A Kp-value of 7.

But which eruption was this? Well, space weather is really messy at the moment as there have been many eruptions on the Sun during the past couple of days. None of them were major eruptions that you'd see with M or X-class solar flares but still with the right magnetic field orientation you see that geomagnetic storm conditions are very much possible but strong G3 geomagnetic storm conditions were a big surprise even for the biggest optimists.

Is this coronal mass ejection the one that is expected to arrive tomorrow (launched on 11 May) or is this another eruption that we missed? It is near impossible to say what is what at the moment but we do know that more storm conditions due to coronal mass ejections passages remain possible at least during the next three days. There is at least one, perhaps there are even two plasma clouds that have a chance of impacting our planet still somewhere between us and the Sun. Exciting times!

Header image: Aurora Australis as seen from Awarua Bay, New Zealand by Tony Maheno‎.

Any mentioned solar flare in this article has a scaling factor applied by the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), the reported solar flares are 42% smaller than for the science quality data. The scaling factor has been removed from our archived solar flare data to reflect the true physical units.

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