Wednesday, 1 January 2020 - 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 2019 we have to conclude we've had a very boring year. Solar minimum is here. We have had a whopping 283 days without any sunspots on the earth-facing solar disk (222 spotless days in 2018) and the strongest solar flare was a C9.9 solar flare back in May. Just like in 2018, we had no M or X-class solar flares in 2019 but we did come close to the M-class threshold with that C9.9 solar flare! Believe it or not, we did had 32 C-class solar flares in 2019 which is way more than we had in 2018 (13 C-class solar flares). More data can be found here if you like these kind of facts.
The strongest geomagnetic storm of this year also took place in May. A coronal mass ejection from a filament eruption surprisingly sparked a moderate G2 (Potsdam Kp6+) geomagnetic storm on 14 May. The coronal mass ejection came with a prolonged mostly southward directed interplanetary magnetic field down to -15nT and that was enough for some brilliant aurora displays around the world. We did had only 18 days with geomagnetic storm activity in 2019 compared to 19 days in 2018.
Despite the very low space weather activity that we had in 2019 we must say that as a website we have had yet another great year. We again broke many records, something we never would have expected as 2018 already was a great year and the fact that we are near or 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 of 2018 we celebrated our 10th birthday and introduced an app for iOS and Android and in 2019 we could develop the app further. We added the option to remove the in app ads if you desire. This was a highly requested feature and thanks to your donations we could make it a reality. Thank you!
Other highlights of this year apart from lots of tinkering under the hood of both the website and app are the new style for some graphs like the one on the solar flares page, our switch to the CrowdIn translation platform, we welcomed GOES-16 and the STEREO page got some love and attention back in February.
So... what will 2020 bring? 2020 will likely be another quiet year. According to the official forecast from the Solar Cycle prediction panel we should hit solar minimum around April of this year. In 2019 we did see some a couple of high latitude sunspot regions which belong to Solar Cycle 25 and this trend is set to continue this year with sunspots from Solar Cycle 25 becoming more and more common. Do not expect a flurry of M and X-class solar flares this year. It will be too early for that but with a bit of luck we might see some more solar activity towards the end of this year.
Again, thank you all for your support and visits despite us being near or at solar minimum. 2018 was a record year and in 2019 we smashed our visitors record once more. It's incredible to think we had two years in a row now where we had more visitors than ever before despite the Sun being so awfully quiet. We can not wait for Solar Cycle 25 to start and we hope SpaceWeatherLive will remain your go to source for all the space weather data, news and updates in 2020 as well! The entire SpaceWeatherLive team wishes you a fantastic 2020 and we thank all of our visitors for an amazing 2019!
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