Coronal hole faces Earth

Sunday, 26 May 2019 - 19:56 UTC

Coronal hole faces Earth

It's been a little while since we've last had some news for you. Ever since sunspot region 2740 and 2741 disappeared from the earth-facing solar disk, solar and auroral activity has truly tanked back to solar minimum levels with no solar events or geomagnetic activity worth mentioning. That changes today however as a coronal hole is facing our planet today.

The coronal hole that is facing our planet right now is not a new coronal hole. This coronal hole faced us during the previous solar rotation as well and caused active geomagnetic conditions on 1 May. The coronal hole did however decrease in size during the past few weeks which is bad news but a look at the data from STEREO Ahead reveals that the solar wind stream flowing from this coronal hole still packs a punch. The total strength of the interplanetary magnetic field reached near 15nT at STEREO Ahead on 20 May which is a moderately high value but even more impressive is the solar wind speed that peaked near 700km/s on 21 May. Interesting numbers and should we see similar stats around 28 (Tuesday) and 29 May (Wednesday) when the solar wind stream is expected to arrive at earth we can conclude that active geomagnetic conditions (Kp4) are a real possibility once more. Worth keeping an eye on this if you are a high latitude sky watcher with dark skies like the folks down under in Tasmania!

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