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Big Flares Return with Solar Storms Headed for Earth & Mars | Space Weather News 05.10.2021

Our Sun gets busy this week! We have multiple solar storms in the inner heliosphere, including one that is headed towards Mars and one that is headed towards Earth! The storm headed towards Mars should arrive sometime early on May 11th and it is driving a minor radiation storm towards that planet. This means both Ingenuity Helicopter and Perseverance Rover are being bathed in a slightly elevated radiation environment that will die down after the storm hits on May 11. Let’s hope this elevated dose does not impact Ingenuity’s flight plans or mission success! As for the solar storm headed towards Earth, we have two predictions, one is that the storm will arrive by May 12 and be a glancing blow to the East, the other prediction, made after SOHO/LASCO coronagraph data became available, indicates the bulk of the solar storm will actually travel west of Earth, with only a weak flank hitting Earth early on May 13. Likely the truth is somewhere in between! This means aurora photographers should prepare for possible aurora on both the 12th and the 13th, as it is a bit difficult to know from the model runs when the storm will hit! On top of all of these solar storm launches, we have a very active flare player, region 2822 that has been firing off moderate to large flares since before it rotated into Earth view. Likely this region will continue to be flare active for a few more days, possibly even a week before it calms down. This means radio propagation will be noisy on Earth’s dayside, and GPS reception could be affected, especially near dawn and dusk. Learn the details of the solar storms headed towards Mars and Earth, say hello to active region 2822 as it fires off more flares, and come see what else our Sun has in store this week.

Goodbye Trio of Sunspots Hello Fast Solar Wind | Solar Storm Forecast 05.02.2021

This week activity slows down just a bit as we watch a trio of sunspots rotate off the west limb of the Earth-facing Sun. This means the solar flux has been dipping down into the low 70s and solar flare activity has also dropped off for now. The cool thing is that we do have several new active regions on the Sun’s farside that look to be flare-active and which are launching solar storms as well. However, it will be a few days yet until they rotate into Earth-view. Until then, amateur radio operators should expect barely marginal radio propagation over the next few days until things improve. In addition, we have several small coronal holes rotating int through the Earth-strike zone, which are giving us pockets of fast solar wind. Aurora photographers at high latitudes should expect some decent aurora views through mid-week while photographers at mid-latitudes might catch a few sporadic glimpses over the next few days. GPS users should also be careful near dawn and dusk as GPS/GNSS reception might be a irregular there as well as anywhere near where aurora is active. Learn the details of the coming fast wind, catch up on aurora photos from recent solar storms, and see what else our Sun has in store this week.

The Sun Fires a Big Flare & Solar Storm Towards Mars & Ingenuity | Space Weather News 04.19.2021

This week our Sun picks up the pace with an extended blast of fast solar wind from a large coronal hole. We have been storming over the weekend and it should continue through the early part of this week, especially at high latitudes. This means aurora photographers have a chance to catch more aurora views before things settle down. In addition, we have another sunspot cluster on the Earth-facing Sun and multiple smaller bright regions emerging. These regions are keeping the solar flux boosted into the high 70s on Earth’s dayside. This means we will continue to enjoy a boost in radio propagation this week on Earth’s dayside. Along with that, we also have a big region on the Sun’s farside that fired a large flare over the weekend and launched a solar storm towards Mars. Hopefully, this solar storm will not be a problem for Ingenuity as it preps for it’s first flights on the Red Planet. Learn more details about this solar storm and how it might affect the Mars helicopter, see how long this ongoing storming at Earth will last, and find out what else our Sun has in store this week.

An Earth-Directed Stealthy Storm Launches as Activity Bumps Up | Solar Storm Forecast 04.14.2021

This week our Sun turns on the heat with multiple new bright regions emerging and several solar storm launches. The most notable bright region is 2814, which is the most complex sunspot cluster we’ve seen thus far in this new cycle. as such it is boosting the solar flux well into the mid-70s and at times, we have even jumped up to the low 80s for a short bit. The region is also firing off low-level flares so we will be watching it closely for continued growth. In addition, we had a nearly Earth-directed solar storm launch this week, which will graze Earth around April 15. This stealthy solar storm is expected to be pretty weak, which means aurora at high latitudes is likely, but the chances for aurora at mid-latitudes is pretty fleeting. However, we do have a large coronal hole that will be rotating into the Earth-strike zone later this week and into next week so we could get some nice pockets of fast solar wind that could bring more chances of aurora in the coming days. Learn the details of this coming solar storm and the fast solar wind that will follow, see the growth and complexity of the new sunspot region 2814, and find out why GPS users and amateur radio operators should be smiling this week.

A Fast Wind Burst & Solar Flux Boost | Space Weather News 02.28.2021

This week our Sun causes us to wait for some action to arrive. We have two coronal holes in view this week that will rotate into the Earth-strike zone over the next few days. These will bring some much needed aurora to high latitudes and possibly mid-latitudes during the early part of the week and again round the next weekend, especially since the last solar storm fizzled! In addition, we have several new bright regions on the Earth-facing Sun that are boosting the solar flux up into the low 80s and ensuring marginal radio propagation on the dayside of Earth. These regions are also firing minor flares so that means amatuer radio operators might hear a little noise on the bands. Sadly, these regions will rotate out of view over the next few days, which will drop the solar flux back into the 70s, but it shouldnt be too bad. At least the drop in solar flux will help GPS reception on Earth’s dayside, but reception on earth’s nightside will likely be impacted near dawn and dusk and at high latitudes near aurora once the fast solar wind arrives. Learn the details of the coming fast wind and see what else our Sun has in store!

A Snake-Like Filament, A Solar Storm, & A Serene Red Planet | Space Weather News 02.14.2021

Our Sun wakes up a bit this week to bring us some gorgeous eye-candy in the shape of a snake! A huge filament, that almost stretches across the entire Earth-facing Sun is snaking through the Earth-strike zone now. If it erupts, not only will it give us a gorgeous spectacle, but it will launch an Earth-directed solar storm. Needless to say, we are watching it very closely. In addition, we have some fast solar wind from two coronal holes that is hitting Earth now. This fast wind has already brought us up to active conditions over the past several days and may easily do so again. Aurora photographers, especially at high latitudes should be in for a nice show over the next several days. Our Sun has also launched a solar storm to the west of Earth, but it may graze us sometime around mid-week. If that happens, it will enhance the effect of the fast solar wind and possibly bring aurora down to mid-latitudes. Definitely a lot happening in terms of solar storms this week! As for amateur radio operators, the solar flux continues to remain in the low 70s, which means marginal radio propagation on earth’s dayside. There are a few bright regions in STEREO’s view, which means solar flux might boost a little to the mid-70s over this week, but expect marginal propagation conditions to continue throughout the week. At least this low solar flux and lack of sunspots means GPS reception on Earth-‘s dayside is good, even if the solar storming might disrupt reception near dawn and dusk and near aurora on Earth’s nightside. Learn the details of this week’s activity and check in with the weather at Mars as we prepare for the landing of Mars2020 with Perseverance Rover and Helicopter Ingenuity on February 18.

Fast Solar Wind Coming in Waves | Solar Storm Forecast 02.04.2021

This week fast solar wind comes in waves as we have multiple coronal holes rotating through the Earth-strike zone. The first coronal hole is sending us fast wind now and the next will send us a second wave in through the weekend. This means high latitudes will experience some decent aurora shows through week’s end and even mid-latitudes will get some fleeting chances. Sadly, the single sunspot on the Earth-facing disk is rotating to the Sun’s farside now and solar flux will likely drop into the low 70s. However, we should be able to hang on to marginal radio propagation on Earth’s dayside over the course of this week. GPS users should also enjoy good reception on Earth’s dayside, but GPS reception on earth’s nightside, especially near dawn or dusk and near aurora will be impacted. Learn the details of these waves of fast solar wind, how the SOHO/LASCO instrument is being impacted due to terrestrial weather and maintenance, and see what else our Sun has in store!

Solar Storm Graze & Red Planet Rendezvous | Space Weather News 01.10.2021

Happy New Year everyone. Our Sun is slowly coming back from being on Holiday since the big solar storms of about a month ago. It has returned to being spotless, but at least we are still getting some activity. We’ve had two solar storms launch that are nearly Earth-directed and they could graze us sometime on the 11th or 12th, just enough to enhance the pocket of fast solar wind we are expecting at that time as well. This could bring aurora down to high-latitudes and possibly to mid-latitudes momentarily. We also are holding on to marginal radio propagation on Earth’s dayside thanks to a small bright region emerging on the Earth facing disk. That region will be named region 2796 (incidentally I say the wrong number in the forecast, I know) if it grows into a sunspot so we are watching it carefully. Nonetheless the region is keeping solar flux in the mid-70s so we should enjoy marginal radio propagation conditions easily throughout this week. Learn the details of the solar storms en route, catch up on the latest conditions on the Red Planet as we prepare for the Mars 2020 rendezvous, and see what else our Sun has in store!

Solar Flux and Fast Wind Boost for the Holidays | Solar Storm Forecast 12.24.2020

This week our Sun gives us some night gifts for the holidays. First we have an extended pocket of fast solar wind that has already brought aurora down to the UK and upper tier of the USA sporadically. It has also sparked some nice storm-time colors at high latitudes! Luckily, this fast solar wind should continue over the next few days through the weekend before it begins to calm down. So, aurora photographers, there is still time to catch some nice shows, especially at high latitudes.(We also have another smaller chance for aurora coming in about a week!) In addition, we also have solar flux getting a boost this week thanks to two new sunspots rotating into Earth-view. This means we are nearly back into the good range for radio propagation on Earth’s dayside. Along with more new regions that will rotate into view over the next week, means we should see radio propagation continue to be pretty decent as we roll into the new year. Learn the details of the ongoing solar storming, catch up on gorgeous aurora shots from the continued fast solar wind, and see what else our Sun has in store this week!

Solar Flux Hits New High & Big Flares Possible Now | Space Weather News 11.26.2020

Our Sun goes through a paradigm shift this week as solar flux tops 100 for the first time in several years! We also have more numbered bright regions on the Earth-facing disk than we’ve seen in a long time, with even more bright regions on the Sun’s farside about to rotate into view. This means amateur radio operators are going to be enjoying GOOD radio propagation on Earth’s dayside easily through this week and possibly from now on as we climb to solar maximum over the next few years. Many of these bright regions are also firing solar flares and solar storms, including one region on the Sun’s farside that fired the first full-halso solar storm of this new solar cycle. This full-halo solar storm launch means our Sun is once again capable of launching the massive solar storms capable of creating real impacts here at Earth. In addition, it means the risk of big solar flares is now back on the table along with the possibility of solar radiation storms. So while there is not an Earth-directed solar storm this week, only some fast solar wind that will likely continue to bring aurora to high latitudes, we do have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. Our Sun is finally and fully awake! Learn the details of this solar awakening, watch the full-halo solar storm launch, and see what else our Sun has in store!

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