An Earth-Directed Solar Storm & A Holy Grail | Space Weather News 01.08.2020

This week our Sun shakes things up by launching its first solar storm of the year. Considering we are still waiting for Solar Cycle 25 to arrive officially, this solar storm launch is a welcome surprise. Along with a small pocket of fast solar wind expected to arrive near coincident with the solar storm in a few days, aurora photographers might be able to catch glimpses of the aurora even down to mid latitudes for a short while. In addition to the solar storm, we have yet another solar cycle 25 sunspot in Earth-view. These sightings are becoming more the norm than the exception, which means we could see flare activity pick up again over the next few months. As it is, solar flux is creeping up to the mid-70s, with radio propagation back well into the marginal range on Earth’s dayside. GPS users should also be enjoying decent GPS/GNSS reception early in the week, but should stay away from nightside aurora and from the dawn-dusk regions, especially once the solar storm hits. learn the details of the coming solar storm, see where and when aurora might be visible, and find out what else our Sun has in store. This week also has a special deep dive into the Parker Solar Probe discovery of magnetic switchbacks in the solar wind and what it means in terms of finding the holy grail of solar physics.

A Fleeting Sunspot & A Familiar Hole | Space Weather News 12-19-2019

This week our Sun’s activity picks up a little bit. We have a small coronal hole that is rotating through the Earth-strike zone and the fast wind it is sending us is causing aurora at high latitudes. Although we have seen this coronal hole before, it is closing so the fast wind is much weaker this time around. Expect unsettled conditions over the next few days and aurora that will likely stay confined to high latitudes. In addition to the fast solar wind, we are also seeing another solar cycle 25 bright region rotating into Earth-view on the Sun’s east limb. This region has briefly emerged strongly enough to become a sunspot, but it likely wont last long enough to get an official number designation before it disappears below the Sun’s surface again. Nonetheless, it is yet another indicator of the new cycle that is nearly here! Learn details of the current fast wind hitting Earth, how the new bright region is affecting radio propagation as well as GPS reception on Earth’s dayside, and see what else our Sun has in store!

A Coronal Hole in the Strike Zone & A Meteor Explodes Over Wisconsin | Space Weather News 11.28.2019

Happy Thanksgiving! Space Weather remains unsettled this week as we have some more fast solar wind from a southern hemisphere coronal hole hitting Earth in the next day or so. Although this fast wind will be pretty weak overall, it should keep us at unsettled conditions through the weekend. It will also bring aurora shows to high latitudes in through the weekend before settling down. Although the aurora never made it very far south during the previous solar storm last week, we do have the Unicorn meteor shower to thank for the bolide that exploded over southern Wisconsin a few days ago. As reports continue to surface, it turns out that this bolide was seen by many people over a large geographical range. Though most sightings were in Wisconsin, there have been multiple reports in places like California, South Dakota, and Ontario Canada! Learn the details of the coming fast solar wind, watch the new cycle 25 bright region peek up through the coronal hole and boost solar flux back into the marginal range for radio propagation, and see what else our Sun has in store for us!

Fast Wind Storms & Europa Plumes | Solar Storm Forecast 11.21.2019

This week we finally have some good news for aurora photographers! A coronal hole that has brought us up to storm levels multiple times before is back and is sending us some fast solar wind yet again! We have already bumped up to unsettled conditions and could hit active conditions within the next 24 hours. Aurora field reporters, especially at high latitudes should be on the alert for aurora. We could even get some sporadic aurora at mid-latitudes over the next day or so. As for the Sun, unfortunately, we are back to spotless conditions with solar flux tanking back into the high 60s. This means poor radio propagation on Earth’s dayside for next next week or more. GPS users, however, should be smiling since GPS reception on Earth’s dayside should remain pretty decent overall. Learn the details of the coming solar storm and see a special segment I’ve included this week on newly confirmed water plumes on Jupiter’s moon Europa!

Solar Cycle 25 Stirs & Mercury Crosses the Sun | Space Weather News 11.07.2019

This week the action is all about the Sun! Not only have we had several bright regions grace the Sun’s face this past week, but one of them was a sunspot from the upcoming Solar Cycle 25. This sunspot (2750) even fired off a few low-level solar flares before receding beneath the Sun’s surface. In addition, we may have yet another Solar Cycle 25 bright region on the Sun’s farside as seen by STEREO. However, it will be a few days before this region rotates into Earth-view so we will just have to wait until we can take a closer look. Meanwhile, on November 11, we will have yet another treat passing across the Sun’s face and that is the rare transit of Mercury! This passage will coincide with some fast solar wind hitting Earth, so field reporters at high latitudes might be enjoying Mercury’s transit by day and an aurora show at night! Learn more about the transit of Mercury like when and where you can watch it, what these new bright regions are all about, and see what else our Sun has in store this week.

A Solar Storm Returns & a Polar Filament Erupts | Space Weather News 10.24.2019

Our long wait is finally over this week as the fast solar wind from a large coronal hole is finally arriving as I make this forecast public! We have hit active conditions already and guaranteed more is on the way. Aurora is beginning to build now in Scotland and over the UK with promises of more to come! aurora photographers at both high-latitudes and mid-latitudes should ready their cameras as this could be the biggest show we will see for easily a month or more. GPS users should also take note of this storm as it will affect GPS reception anywhere near aurora, especially on Earth’s nightside and near the dawn and dusk terminators. Amateur radio operators might get a small boost to radio propagation on Earth’s dayside from the solar storm, but at nighttime, expect sporadic propagation across most bands until after the solar storm passes, which will be through the weekend. Learn the details of this solar storm hitting now, when and where to see aurora, and what else our Sun has in store!

Two Solar Cycles at Once & A Big Meteor Nearly Hits | Space Weather News 10.10.2019

Our Sun keeps our attention focused even though space weather remains reasonably quiet this week. We have had several bright regions appear in Earth-view. The largest of these regions was strong enough to be officially designated as a sunspot (region 2749) from Solar Cycle 24. But then two high latitude bright regions emerged, one in the north and one in the south. These two regions both had Solar Cycle 25 polarity, which means this is one of the rare moments when we have active regions from two different solar cycles in both the northern and southern hemispheres in view at the same time! Unfortunately, if you blinked, you missed this rarity, as the new regions faded quite quickly. As a result, the solar flux has remained low and radio propagation continues to be poor on Earth’s dayside. We do have a remnant coronal hole rotating through the Earth-strike zone now. Its been sending us some sporadic fast solar wind, which has bumped us up to active conditions sporadically. However, aurora views are expected to be sporadic and elusive, especially at mid-latitudes. Take a closer look at the ongoing solar activity, including the new active regions, see how the fast solar wind hitting now will affect you, and learn about the meteor that nearly hit the ground in Southern California this week!

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