Northern Lights Now – Solar activity has been low over the last month, but a large coronal hole combined with some activity on it’s periphery is prompting SWPC to issue a G1 geomagnetic storm watch for July 7.
UPDATE 1:30AM GMT 7/7 (9:30PM EST July 6)
SWPC has updated today’s watch to include 7/8. We expected this was possible based on the size and location of the coronal hole. Keep an eye on the solar wind speed. Once it increases watch the Bz. If it points south, there’s a good chance for a show. The current predicted times for the storm are late on 7/7 and early on 7/8
There have only been about 20 sunspots recorded in June, and none so far in July. Without sunspots, solar flares and eruptions are less likely. This leave coronal holes and filament eruptions as the remaining potential sources for northern lights activity. Currently there is a large coronal hole pointed towards Earth:
This coronal hole should start to impact Earth midday July 6 with enhanced solar wind speeds through Early on July 7. The official forecast from SWPC shows only one period of G1 activity around 18:00GMT, but there’s reason to believe this could actually product more activity than that. First, these forecasts often miss by 6-12 hours, so the active period could happen any time during the day on the 6th or early on the 7th. Second, there was a minor filament eruption to the west of the coronal hole on the 4th of July. Check out the video linked in @haloCME’s post.
Northern Lights Now – The large coronal hole that was responsible for the May 6-8 Mother’s Day G3 aurora storm is pointed toward earth again and has potential to create aurora this weekend. SWPC has posted a G2 storm watch for June 4, with a period of predicted G1 and G2 (KP=5, KP6 respectively) storming late in the UTC day. It is likely this watch will be extended to June 5 tomorrow. This means good aurora conditions are possible on Friday and Saturday evenings – particularly in the southern hemisphere where it is winter and the nights are longer.
The initial estimates for the timing of the arrival of the solar wind are often off by several hours, but the current estimates show two periods of G1 storming starting around 1500 GMT, then a period of G2 storming starting in the 2100 GMT timeperiod. This is good timing for European and North American aurora chasers, but NLN is expecting the storm to last long enough that it will be good for the evening of June 5 in New Zealand and Southern Australia. As of June 1, this is the NLN aurora clock for the day covered in the watch period:
Northern Lights Now – A large coronal hole was pointed directly towards Earth on April 9th and 10th. The high speed solar wind from that exposed area is should impact Earth on April 13 and 14. Space weather forecasters are expecting two consecutive days of geomagnetic storming. That could bring several opportunities for Aurora hunters to experience the Northern and Southern Lights. Here’s an image from SDO from late on April 9 in AIA 211, a wavelength that makes it easy to see coronal holes:
SWPC is calling for two periods of active Aurora (G1 level storming). The first period is early on April 13 and the second is Early on April 14. For North American Aurora viewers this is in prime evening viewing time. Europeans viewers will have to stay up past midnight. See the NLN Aurora cast for April 13 and 14. The data behind this infographic comes from the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder Colorado
Note: It is not an error that both days have the same profile throughout the day. The is what the forecasting models have predicted.