Northern Lights Now – After somewhat quiet space weather since the last round of aurora October 9-13, there are several features to watch again. A coronal hole is pointed towards Earth and has prompted a G1 Geomagnetic Storm watch for October 24. There is a filament to the west of the coronal hole that looks like it could lift off soon and there is an active region rotating on to the east limb that was responsible for a large backsided CME just a couple days ago. Let’s take them one by one
The large dark area in the center of the imange is a large coronal hole pointed towards Earth right now. It has increased in size since the last rotation and is likely to bring high speed solar wind starting in three days. When it arrives there is a good chance KP values will cross into the G1 storming range. SWPC has posted a geomagnetic storm watch for Tuesday October 24.
Just to the north and west of the coronal hole there is a filament that is looking like it may lift off soon. If it does lift off, there is a chance it could produce a CME. This is worth monitoring. It is easiest to see the filament in AIA 304 as in the animated gif here:
New Active Region
Potentially the most promising area of interest is the active region rotating into view on the southeast limb. This is the return of AR2674 (Aug-Sept rotation) and AR 2682 (Sept-Oct rotation) after it traversed the backside of the Sun. It should be numbered AR2684 or AR2685 later this evening.
This AR was responsible for CMEs early on Oct 18 and on October 21. The CME yesterday was from an M1.1 flare that happened just over the eastern limb. This region has shown activity over the last several days that hints that it is magnetically unstable. It seems likely that it will continue to producing flaring and possibly more CMEs.
Northern Lights Now – The Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder Colorado has issued a G1 storm watch for October 11-12 indicating the potential for KP values at or above 5 and active aurora. This is due to the expected high speed solar wind coming from a large northern hemisphere coronal hole.
Models, such as the WSA-Enlil below, are predicting that the first phase of the storm should start midday on Tuesday as plasma densities rise to around 15 p/cm3. 6-12 hours later, solar wind should pick up and may reach 550 km/s. The coronal hole covers a large area longitudinally, so once the wind speed readings increase, they may remain elevated for over three days. It would not be surprising to see the G1 watch extended into a third day.
As of this writing, the periods of KP=5 and above are predicted to start midday on Oct 11 and continue on and off throughout Oct 12.
Northern Lights Now – Quick Update: The expected coronal hole high speed stream arrived with a bang. KP levels have reached G2 and the forecast calls for KP=7.33 in the next hour.
Aurora reports have been streaming in from Northern Europe and Iceland over the last couple hours. As the Sun sets across Eastern North America, expect additional reports to come in from the Northern United States and Canada.