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Late October 2017 Aurora Strom Live Blog

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Northern Lights Now – Space weather forecasters are predicting 3 days of active aurora conditions. NLN is activating the live blog. We’ll aim to update a couple times a day, or as warranted, so check back often

NLN Live Blog Update – Fri, Sept 27, 02:15 UTC (23:15 EST 10/26)
Live blog time: 74h 15m

We’re calling it. This storm is over. Solar wind speeds have dropped back below 500 km/s. This storm netted two periods of G1 storming. Thank you for tacking it with NLN!

NLN Live Blog Update – Thurs, Sept 26, 13:30 UTC (10:30 EST 10/26)
Live blog time: 61h 30m

The Magnetosphere is now starting to rattle a bit. Bz has sustatined a negative orientation for over 6 hours. This is conducive to aurora and geomagnetic activity. KP has been between 4 and 5 for several hours now. If this continues, G1 is almost certain and G2 is possible.

In the DSCOVR wind chart below, the red bar shows that Bz has been negative for over 6 hours, the two blue bars show that wind speeds have been > 500 km/s for over 48 hours.

Solar wind now conducive to G1 storming
Solar wind now conducive to G1 storming

NLN Live Blog Update – Thurs, Sept 26, 03:15 UTC (23:15 EST 10/25)
Live blog time: 51h 15m

It has been quiet today on the aurora front. Total magnetic fields (Bt) have stayed relatively weak for ranging between 4 and 6 nT, and Bz has been variable. With no prolonged periods of strong Bz south, there has been very little aurora activity. There was one period of G1 storming today and no periods of G2.

Solar wind speeds are still elevated at around 600 km/s and there could be a prolonged period of Bz south at any point, but with each passing hour it is less likely. Today’s busted storm watch goes to show that we need more data from additional satellites to do a really good job of forecasting geomagnetic activity.

Despite the low activity, some aurora reports for the higher latitudes are coming in:

NLN Live Blog Update – Tue, Sept 25, 03:15 UTC (23:15 EST 10/24)
Live blog time: 27h 15m

Solar winds have continued to increase over the last 6 hours and are now in the 600 km/s range with a brief peak above 625 km/s. There was a period of about an hour where Bz was predominantly negative and it produced a period of G1 storming. So far this nearly exactly confirms the posted watch for 10/24. Wing KP models also registered a short term prediction of KP=5.67 for around 02:00 UTC, but this was not measured on the ground. Here is the chart of the measured KPs so far for this storm:

Recorded KP values from boulder confirm the 10/24 G1 storm watch
Recorded KP values from boulder confirm the 10/24 G1 storm watch

NLN Live Blog Update – Tue, Sept 24, 16:15 UTC (12:15 EST 10/24)
Live blog time: 16h 15m

Earth has now entered the high speed wind stream. Solar wind speeds are now registering around 525 km/s after being around 350 km/s just 6 hours ago. Those should increase to over 600 km/s in the next 12 hours. Geomag activity is already responding, KP values have increased to just above 4. There are still several hours before it will reach G1 storming levels.

KPSlowlyClimbing_20171024

Solar wind speeds have increased from around 350 km/s to over 525 km/s
Solar wind speeds have increased from around 350 km/s to over 525 km/s
KP values climbing over 4
KP values climbing over 4

NLN Live Blog Update – Tue, Sept 24, 11:15 UTC (07:15 EST 10/24)
Live blog time: 11h 15m

Have you been watching the density after the last update? It has increase to around 40 p/cm3. It’s very likely solar wind speeds will increase in the near future.

NLN Live Blog Update – Tue, Sept 24, 04:00 UTC (00:00 EST 10/24)
Live blog time: 04h 00m

No sign of the expected solar wind yet. The first signs it is on it’s way will be that the proton density rises as earth enters the co-rotating interaction region (CIR). That sounds uber-technical, but all it means is that there are two streams of solar wind moving towards earth at different speeds. At the place they meet, there is a region where they interact. It means we know there is a period of fast solar wind coming when the proton density measured at DSCOVR increases. For now, Density is at nearly background levels around 5 p/cm3

Proton density is still at nearly background levels.
Proton density is still at nearly background levels.

NLN Live Blog Update – Tue, Sept 24, 00:00 UTC (20:00 EST 10/23)
Live blog time: 00h 00m

The NLN live blog is activated. We’ll bring news and updates about the predicted solar storm over the next 3-4 days. Here is the current three day auroraCast clock showing G1 predictions on Oct 24 and 26 sandwiching G2 forecasts for OCt 25.

NLN AuroraCast shows three days of G1 and G2 activity from October 24-26
NLN AuroraCast shows three days of G1 and G2 activity from October 24-26

CIR and Coronal Hole Bring Quick Burst of Aurora to Northern Europe Sept 14, 2017

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Northern Lights Now – The expected G1/G2 storming from the coronal hole pointed towards Earth on Sept 11 arrived late on Sept 13. It induced a period of fast solar wind, strong Bt and G2 storming. The timing was good for our aurora hunting followers in Northern Europe who had clear skies.

Boulder Recorded Planetary K shows two periods of G2 storming in last 15 hours.
Boulder Recorded Planetary K shows two periods of G2 storming in last 15 hours.

At the onset of the storm, Bz was strongly (-15 to -18 nT) south for over half an hour at the beginning of the storm, which set up Earth’s magnetosphere to be highly activated. This means that any additional strong wind, high density, or prolonged negative Bz can quickly jump the KP back into G1/G2 range.

Bz and Bt are strong and favorable at the onset of the storm.
Bz and Bt are strong and favorable at the onset of the storm.

Here are a couple Tweets share with NLN from tonight’s storming

From the Nidderdale in northern Yorks by @HudsonWeather

From Christopher Suarez in Iceland

It is still possible that there could be additional storming. Keep your eyes on the Solar Wind Data. If there is a prolonged people (more than 45 mins or so) of negative Bz, there could be another round of storming.

Note: The current storm is likely the last for a while. There are now active regions that pose M or X class flare threats on the Sun and the next Coronal hole isn’t expected to reach Earth until late September. Make hay while the Sun shines!

Happy Hunting

Sept 6-10 Aurora G3 Storm 2017 – NLN Live Blog pt3

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Northern Lights Now – A G3 storm watch is in effect for September 6 and 7 thanks to a solar storm launched from an Earth-directed solar eruption at active region 2673. Aurora hunters are expecting a mid-latitude display. Northern Lights Now will keep you up to date on the latest information in this live blog. We’ll be updating regularly, so come back often.

This is part 3 of 3, check out the other links:
Live Blog Sept 6-10 Part 1
Live Blog Sept 6-10 Part 2

NLN Live Blog Update – Wed, Sept 9, 04:45 UTC (00:45 EST 9/9)
Live blog time: 72h 45m

Whew! What a storm. There were two distinct periods of G4 storming in the last 36 hours. The first was timed well for North American aurora hunters and the second for our Europeans followers. This was a treat, especially for this late in the solar cycle.

Two periods of G4 storming in the last 36 hours. The storm is now settling down.
Two periods of G4 storming in the last 36 hours. The storm is now settling down.

The core of both CMEs has now passed and the magnetosphere should start to settle down. There still may be a couple more G1/G2 substorms in the next 24 hours, but the event is coming to an end. Thank you all for reading along and sharing your photos. Please follow NLN on Twitter and on Facebook and sign up for our email list to learn about the next storm when it comes.

NLN Live Blog Update – Wed, Sept 8, 22:00 UTC (16:00 EST 9/8)
Live blog time: 68h 00m

Bz continues to be south and wingKP is indicating G4 storming is going on again now. IF you have clear dark skies go out aurora hunting!

NLN Live Blog Update – Wed, Sept 8, 15:15 UTC (11:15 EST 9/8)
Live blog time: 63h 15m

In the last update we mentioned that it looks like another CME core is coming through. It is here now and G4 storming is happening again. Tell your friends to go out and look at the sky if it’s dark and clear! Please share this info and help your friends get a chance to see the aurora for themselves.

Second round of G4 aurora is expected to start in about 30 minutes.
Second round of G4 aurora is expected to start in about 30 minutes.

NLN Live Blog Update – Wed, Sept 8, 12:15 UTC (08:15 EST 9/8)
Live blog time: 60h 15m

What a night! There were two periods of G4 storming before the Bz shifted as Earth exited the core of CME. Aurora hunters from Europe to Central North America got a show.

From the Finnish Lapland:

From Edinburgh Scotland

Michigan:

And holy cow look at the color in this panoramic from Scott Rock in Ontario

But wait there’s more! In the last update we mentioned the possibility that there may be another CME core arriving soon. About 45 minutes ago it did as shown in the solar wind data. With Bz this strong south, we are now expecting another round of at least G3 storming over the next 1-4 hours.

Bz shows we should expect another round of aurora coming midday Sept 8 UTC
Bz shows we should expect another round of aurora coming midday Sept 8 UTC

NLN Live Blog Update – Wed, Sept 8, 05:30 UTC (01:30 EST 9/8)
Live blog time: 53h 30m

There are interesting questions about the future geomagnetic activity of this storm. The IP shocks from both the M5.5 and the X9.33 flares have now arrived. In a regular solar storm, the shock arrives and is followed soon after by the core or body of the CME. In this case, the cores of both CMEs have interacted. This is a very complex, and low confidence, forecast. The bottom line is: We might see another round of G3 storming as the body of the X9.33 CME arrives, or the body of the CME may miss Earth and it might be over. Best thing to do is watch the Bz which, by the way, just flopped back to negative. If Bz stays negative, our west coast US followers and Australia/New Zealand followers may get a show tonight.

NLN Live Blog Update – Wed, Sept 8, 02:45 UTC (22:45 EST 9/7)
Live blog time: 50h 45m

Epic Aurora going on! G4 storming is logged and continues. Bz shifted back to the south, so it may slow for a bit now. Check out this small sampling of images coming in: