The Biggest X-flare Yet Shooting Blanks | Space Weather News 24 February 2024

Our Sun has gotten busy this week firing multiple X-class flares including the largest of this cycle thus far. All the noise is due to Region 3590, which has been actively firing flares even before it rotated into Earth view. Amateur radio operators, aviators, and GPS users are dealing with R2 and R3-level radio blackouts on Earth’s dayside and this trend will likely continue through the rest of this week. Despite all of its flaring, Region 3590 still has not launched any noteworthy solar storms (towards Earth or otherwise). The reason is likely due to it having no more overlying material to evacuate. It seems all of its overlying material was launched while the region was on the farside of the Sun. In other words, Region 3590’s “solar storm” gun has run out of bullets. At least for now. This means aurora photographers will have to settle for the weak filament eruption and fast solar wind chaser that will be hitting over the next couple days. (Early signs show the weak filament may be hitting Earth now). The combined effects could bring a little aurora down to mid-latitudes, but it will be sporadic and short-lived at best. Learn how Region 3590 can fire the largest flare of this solar cycle, yet shoot solar storm “blanks” at Earth, see the effects on radio communications with all of these radio blackouts, and find out what is in store with the expected, wispy solar storm.

A Big X-Flare, a Near X, & Three Earth-Directed Storms | Space Weather Spotlight 11 February 2024

Our Sun has gotten so busy over the past week that I have had to update this forecast three times before releasing it to the public! This week our Sun has fired no less than seven mid-to-high M-class flares along with an X-class flare and has launched at least three Earth-directed solar storms. This means aurora photographers have something to look forward to, especially near February 12- 14. Aurora photographers clear down to mid-latitudes have a good chance to catch some aurora views during a series of solar storms headed towards Earth. In addition, big solar flares and radio blackouts continue to impact the dayside of Earth. Amateur radio operators and GPS users should remain vigilant this week as the chance for big radio blackouts up to the R3-level is high. Aviators should also take heed since we have an S2-level radiation storm ongoing with a polar cap absorption event that could cause additional trouble for navigation and HF radio communications, especially over the poles. Learn the details of the coming solar storms, see why big radio blackouts remain on the menu, and find out what else our Sun has in store.

Big Back-to-Back Storms Head To Earth | Solar Storm Forecast 22 January 2024

We have four, back-to-back solar storms on their way to Earth. The first is expected to hit Monday the 22nd (although I suspect it will arrive fashionably late). The second will be right on its heels and enhance the first. These first two storms will be the ones that drive aurora down to mid-latitudes if the magnetic field orientation proves favorable. The third and fourth storms will be glancing blows, but they could extend aurora possibilities, possibly through the 25th, especially at high latitudes, before things calm down. Aurora photographers, G2-level storm conditions are entirely possible with this series, so be sure to get ready. Amateur radio operators and GPS users, however, you will need to hunker down as the solar storms will make nightside signal reception a bit unpredictable. Also, solar flare and radiation storm activity is ramping up so aviators you will also need to get ready for radio blackouts to increase once again on the dayside and near the polar regions. On top of that, we also have some big-flare players from the Sun’s farside that will be rotating back into Earth view over the next several days, which will up the risk for radio blackouts and radiation storms even more. Learn the details of the coming solar storms, see why flare risk is rising, and see what else our Sun has in store.

Side Swiping Solar Storms & East Limb Action | Space Weather Spotlight 13 January 2024

This week our Sun is beginning to ramp up activity due to a bunch of new regions rotating into view. At least seven new active regions have rotated into view over the last few days. We will be watching them very closely, as some of them are showing signs of increased flare activity. Amateur radio operators and GPS users should be aware that radio blackouts could pick up a bit over this week on Earth’s dayside. These regions are also launching solar storms off the Sun’s east limb, which means Earth-directed solar storms might also be back on the menu as we move through next week. In addition, several glancing solar storms will graze Earth over the next few days, possibly causing some minor disturbances at high latitudes. We may get a small pocket of fast solar wind mid-next week, but again, only minor disturbances are expected. Learn the details of the new activity, see the active regions from the Sun’s farside that are about to rotate into Earth view and find out what else our Sun has in store.

Big Flares, Mini-Storms & A Whole Lot of Eye Candy | Solar Storm Forecast 10 December 2023

This week our Sun steps into high gear. We have multiple glancing solar storm blows along with a pocket of fast solar wind on its way. Aurora photographers at high latitudes should get a nice show, but it may not be enough for mid-latitude photographers. That being said, with active regions 3511 and 3513 showing significant flare activity and lots of filaments on the disk poised to erupt, it is very possible one of these filaments will be destabilized enough to launch into a solar storm towards Earth later this week. Amateur radio operators and GPS users should plan for moderate radio noise and short-lived radio blackouts on the dayside of Earth, up to the R2-level. Chances for R3-level radio blackouts have been increasing slightly over the past few days, but overall, conditions should begin to calm down once region 3511 rotates to the Sun’s farside in the next few days. Learn the details of the coming fast solar wind, watch some gorgeous solar storm eye candy and catch up on some stunning aurora photos from the recent G3-level solar storm.

Big Solar Flares & Solar Storms on the Menu | Solar Storm Forecast 23 November 2023

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Im on the road this week, but our Sun is hard at work! Activity is picking up, big time. We have no less than 11 active regions in Earth-view right now with more rotating into view over the next few days. Several of these are X-flare players, which means lots of radio noise and potential for radio blackouts on Earth’s dayside. Amateur radio operators, expect radio propagation to suffer over the next week or more before things quiet down. In addition, we have a partially Earth-directed solar storm on its way. This storm could graze Earth starting the afternoon of the 25th so aurora photographers be sure to stay on your toes. GPS users should also stay vigilant because both the radio noise and the solar storm can cause reception issues at dawn and dusk and anywhere near aurora. Learn the details of the coming solar storm and fast solar wind, watch the fast growth and flare potential of all these new emerging regions, and see what else our Sun has in store this week.

A Dark Hole & Bright Regions for Halloween | Space Weather News 31 October 2023

This week our Sun continues a moderate level of activity. Region 3473, as it was just rotating into Earth view, launched a massive solar storm, which is grazing Earth now. Along with some fast solar wind from a large coronal hole these bumpy conditions have caused aurora visible at high latitudes. Views at mid-latitudes remain sporadic through Halloween. As the fast wind wanes over the next serval days, shows are expected to retreat to high latitudes. As we shift into November, conditions should gradually calm down. Solar flare risk rises this week, mainly due to region 3474, which shows increased flare activity and poses a risk of radio blackouts. New big-flare regions are also returning to Earth-view from the Sun’s farside later this week. Amateur radio operators should notice a slight rise in noise on the dayside radio bands this week. GPS users should also remain vigilant during radio blackout events, especially near dawn and dusk. Luckily, the risk for radiation storms remains relatively low. Learn the details of the recent solar storm launch grazing Earth, and what it means for more activity, find out what active regions will be rotating into Earth-view, and see what else our Sun has in store this week.

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Back to Back Solar Storms on Their Way | Solar Storm Forecast 19 October 2023

Our Sun remains active, launching no less than four solar storms in our general direction, but most of these are wispy and will have a soft landing at Earth. At least one of these storms is already impacting Earth, bringing aurora to high latitudes. However, aurora photographers at mid-latitudes will likely have to wait until October 20 when a larger and faster-moving storm is expected to hit. Solar flare activity has also calmed down this week and the risk of radio blackouts has dropped quite a bit. Amateur radio operators should enjoy decent radio propagation on the dayside of Earth, without too much noise. These conditions will likely continue over the next few days before some bigger regions on the Sun’s farside rotate into view. GPS users will also notice improved reception on the dayside of Earth but will need to remain vigilant near dawn and dusk and also near aurora on earth’s nightside. Learn the details of the coming solar storms, watch the big farside blast from regions not yet in Earth-view, and see what else our Sun has in store this week!

A Finger like Coronal Hole in the Earth-Strike Zone | Space Weather Outlook 12 October 2023

You might notice something different. This forecast is the first in a new “broadcast style” of delivery I am developing. It was recorded live with interactive graphics and only minor editing. As such, it has a totally different feel (along with a few audio errors that I am still working out). Stay tuned as I continue to perfect this method of delivery. With a little luck and lots of practice, I will soon be able to deliver these kinds of detailed and graphically complex forecasts live, which means less post-production and more frequent forecasts!

A Solar Storm Glancing Blow with a Fast Wind Chaser | Space Weather News 08.24.2023

This week solar activity increases Earthside with several solar storm launches that could give us a glancing blow followed by a fast wind chaser. Although not very strong, the combination of these three things could enhance effects enough to give us some aurora. Aurora photographers, especially at high latitudes could get some nice views through the weekend. In addition, our Sun fires its first big flare in more than a week. However, most of the Sun’s active regions (in Earth’s view) are stable so amateur radio operators will continue to enjoy decent radio propagation on Earth’s dayside with only low risk for radio blackouts this week. That being said, noise on the bands may increase as we move into next week when growing regions on the Sun’s farside rotate back into Earth view. GPS users should also enjoy decent reception in these mild conditions, with the exception of the weekend when the storming will be at its peak. Learn the details of the coming storms, see when and where aurora may be visible and find out what else our Sun has in store.