Space Weather

Space Weather

Space weather describes changing environmental conditions in near-Earth space. Magnetic fields, radiation, particles and matter, which have been ejected from the Sun, can interact with the Earth’s upper atmosphere and surrounding magnetic field to produce a  variety of effects.

Image courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams

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Aurora forecasts

Northern Hemisphere

Some enhancements to the auroral oval are possible early on 27th September and overnight 27th into 28th September under a potential combination of or CME coronal hole fast wind influences, with aurora sightings likely at high latitudes under clear skies.

Southern Hemisphere

Some enhancements to the auroral oval are possible on 27th September and overnight 27th into 28th September under a potential combination of or CME coronal hole fast wind influences, with aurora sightings likely at high latitudes under clear skies.

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Forecast overview

Space Weather Forecast Headline: G1/G2 Minor to Moderate Storms most likely day 1 (27 September) from CME arrival and coronal hole fast wind influence.

Analysis of Space Weather Activity over past 24 hours

Solar Activity: Solar activity was low with two common class flares observed in the last 24 hours from sunspots in the western hemisphere. There are four sunspots on the visible disc, with one small, but complex feature in the southwest quadrant. Three further regions appear to be fading significantly.  No Earth-directed coronal mass ejections (CMEs) have been observed in available imagery in the last 24 hours. 

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity: The solar wind speed has decreased steadily but erratically from close to elevated speeds, to background values. Total magnetic field strength was weak, with the important north-south component showing no significant deflections. Resultant geomagnetic activity was Quiet (Kp 0-2).

Energetic Particles / Solar Radiation: The count rate of energetic particles (high energy protons) was at background with no solar radiation storms observed.

Four-Day Space Weather Forecast Summary

Solar Activity: Solar activity is expected to remain low, with only a very slight chance of M-class flares.

Solar Wind / Geomagnetic Activity: There are four CME which may affect the Earth. Three of these could arrive separately or as a single combined feature during 27 September, with a further CME perhaps glancing the earth later on 27 or during 28 September. A coronal hole fast wind may also affect the Earth on 27 and 28 September, although any effects from this wind are considered uncertain. There is also a low risk that the CMEs and fast wind may affect the earth at similar times, providing an greater effect. Any enhancements would then ease during 28 and 29 September. Quiet Geomagnetic activity with Unsettled intervals may increase to Unsettled to Active with G1/Minor Storm intervals and a chance of G2 Moderate storms day 1 and day 2 (26th and 27th). A decreasing risk of G1/Minor storm intervals day 3 and 4 (28th and 29th), with mainly Quiet to Unsettled geomagnetic activity, and a chance of Active intervals.

Energetic Particles / Solar Radiation: The count rate of energetic particles (high energy protons) is forecast to remain at background with no solar radiation storms occurring.

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Solar imagery

SDO AIA-193

This channel highlights the outer atmosphere of the Sun - called the corona - as well as hot flare plasma. Hot active regions, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections will appear bright here. The dark areas - called coronal holes - are places where very little radiation is emitted, yet are the main source of solar wind particles.

SDO AIA-304

This channel is especially good at showing areas where cooler dense plumes of plasma (filaments and prominences) are located above the visible surface of the Sun. Many of these features either can't be seen or appear as dark lines in the other channels. The bright areas show places where the plasma has a high density.

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