Moderate solar activity, enhanced auroral activity

Sunday, 14 December 2014 21:25 UTC

Moderate solar activity, enhanced auroral activity

Solar activity increased to moderate levels thanks to an impulsive M1.6 solar flare at 19:33 UTC. Source was a cluster of sunspots just east of sunspot region 2237 which received number 2242. Auroral activity remains elevated as Earth remains under influence of coronal hole high speed stream effects. Photographers at high latitudes have been taking amazing auroral shots the past few days and some even managed to catch some Geminid meteors like Zack Splaine Photography from Canada did in this shot! Stunning!

Moderate solar activity

Solar activity increased to moderate levels thanks to an impulsive M1.6 solar flare at 19:33 UTC. Source was a cluster of sunspots just east of sunspot region 2237 which recieved number 2242. The solar flare was impulsive and SDO images show that is was likely not an eruptive event despite the detection of a Type II Radio Emission as reported by the NOAA SWPC.

ALERT: Type II Radio Emission
Begin Time: 2014 Dec 14 1929 UTC
Estimated Velocity: 1028 km/s

Comment: Associated with an M1 flare from Region 2242 (S19E43).

Sunspot region 2242 was not just responsible for an M1 event today, it also produced numerous C-class events. If we take a closer look at sunspot region we can right away see why it is flaring so much. It has a Beta-Gamma-Delta magnetic layout. It has a weak delta spot among the trailing sunspots and a delta candidate (not a delta spot yet but worth keeping an eye on) just to west of that. The group has some magnetic mixing and should be monitored for further development. Another low-level M-class event can not be excluded.

 

M-class flare probability for the coming 24 hours: 30% chance
X-class flare probability for the coming 24 hours: 1% chance

Enhanced auroral activity

Auroral activity remains elevated as Earth remains under influence of coronal hole high speed stream effects. The direction of the IMF is occasionally drifiting south and aurora has often been filling the arctic skies during the past few days. Just take a look at this amazing image by Gibfoto from Norway. He even managed to capture a Geminid meteor on this shot!

Another stream of enhanced solar wind is expected to arrive within the next 24 hours so the show is not over yet for high latitude sky watchers! Auroral activity will likely remain enhanced for the next 3 days. Geomagnetic storming is however not expected.

Images: Zack Splaine Photography, NASA SDO and Gibfoto.

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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