Northern Lights Now – A new active region is rotating into view on the Eastern horizon of the Sun and is already producing flaring. Once numbered it will be the 6th active region visible in May and it will be numbered 2712.
If it holds together, and continues flaring, this region could have an impact on Earth’s space weather around the end of the month. The region will rotate from East to West across the disk and enter the Earth strike zone in 3-4 days. Once in the strike zone, any eruptive flaring cloud launch a CME towards Earth that would arrive 2-4 days later.
For now, we’ll have to settle for marveling at the amazing imagery that comes from the SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory) of this image. Here is am image of the solar disk during a flare coming from this new region.
And zoomed in to just the plasma loop visible during the flare:
The Sun continues to approach solar minimum with fewer and fewer sun spots and active regions. There should be a slow increase in sun spots and active regions from the next solar cycle over the next 24-36 months.
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.
NLN Live Blog Update – Wed, Sept 6, 22:30 UTC (18:30 EST 9/6) Live blog time: 22h 30m
With the addition of today’s X9.33 flare, the G3 Storm watch has been extended to 96 hours and continues through Sept 9. This should mean pretty almost all viewing areas should have at least some clear skies during the storm period. Also, by Sept 9 the moon is less bright and there’s a longer time between Sunset and Moonrise.
There are hints the shock is about to hit – temp decreasing, wind and density more variable. CME could arrive in next 30-180mins.
NLN Live Blog Update – Wed, Sept 6, 19:15 UTC (15:30 EST 9/6) Live blog time: 19h 30m
Busy day! The active region responsible for the predicted storm produced two X class flares (so far!) today. The bigger flare was measured at X9.33 making it the biggest solar flare of the current solar cycle. The last time there was an X-Class flare was May 5, 2015. Stay tuned for more info on the CME released during this eruption. So far, initial imagery indicates it is likely to the south and west of Earth, but it’s too early to rule out a glancing blow around Sept 8/9.
As it is now getting dark in Europe, the anticipated solar storm has not arrived yet. It is a little late, but it is still well within the bounds of the prediction confidence intervals. Hang tight.
NLN Live Blog Update – Wed, Sept 6, 11:15 UTC (07:15 EST 9/6) Live blog time: 11h 15m
As of this update, the CME has not arrived at Earth yet. Bz has been south for over an hour, which may prime the magnetosphere to ring when the shock arrives. We expect there will be at least three distinct phases to this solar storm.
First, when the initial shock hits, it will have high density (all the protons that it has swept up as it travels through space), and a big spike in wind speed. This will be measured at DSCOVR about 30-45 minutes before it arrives at Earth. Once it arrives, the aurora may dance, but the wing KP won’t reflect it yet.
Second, we will enter the first phase of the storm. It is impossible to know until it arrives if it will be oriented correctly for aurora. If Bz is negative, we should see a good show. Third, there may be a second shock and a new phase of Bz as a second, slower, CME arrives.
You can watch the Wind Speed in real time on our site (it auto-refreshes). This will be the best tool for predicting when the initial shock arrives at Earth. After that monitor the KP here.
NLN Live Blog Update – Wed, Sept 6, 03:15 UTC (23:15 EST 9/5) Live blog time: 03h 15m
Know your local viewing conditions. The best viewing conditions are when it is dark and clear. This storm will be tricky because the forecast calls for clouds or smoke in a lot of the typical hot-spots for viewing. It is also a nearly full moon. There will be a window between sunset and moonrise that it should be really dark. You should be able to get good photos even when the moon is out – do long exposures and photograph a part of the sky where the moon isn’t.
NLN Live Blog Update – Wed, Sept 6, 00:00 UTC (20:00 EST 9/5) Live blog time: 00h 00m
The G3 watch period has started. We aren’t expecting storming conditions to start for at least another 12 hours. In advance of the storm, watch the EPAM rise. We’ll know the initial shock of the storm hits when solar wind jumps and Bt, Bz and density make big shifts. In the meantime, here is the SWPC forecast for max KP expected in each three hour block over the next 24 hours. Expecting 7 blocks of G1 and above, 5 of G2 and above and 2 of G3.
Northern Lights Now – There have been several notable eruptions on the Sun since November 4th. As of now, models are not indicating G1 storming, but with the combination of events, and models predicting KP=4, it is not out of the question that there may be some G1 storming between 11/8 and 11/9.
Early on the 4th a filament erupted from the SW portion of the disk. There is a clear CME lift off, but it appears to be headed mostly to the South and West of the Earth-Sun line. Here is an animatedGIF showing about 4 hours in AIA 304 with showing the filament erupting
About 6 hours later, a small B2.2 flare happened around an unnumbered region in the NW quadrant. Just after this low level eruption, a wave is visible traveling southward through the corona. Dimming was also seen in automated CME detection during this flare. Often, dimming is indicative of a launching CME, but there was no clear sign of a CME on LASCO. If this flare did launch a CME towards Earth, it will be a stealth CME. This flare was optical only and did not register on NLN’s Solar Flare Browsing page. In this video, the first half shows the full disk, the second half zooms in on the actual flare.
Finally, a pair of filaments erupted early on the 5th. The first, bigger one launched from the NW quadrant of the Solar disk from a location just north of the area of the B2.2 flare. This filament also showed what looked to be a launching CME on AIA 304, however most of the material looks to be traveling North and West. The other filament erupted on the East of the disk at nearly the same time and is much smaller. They are both visible in this AIA 193 imagery, the second is just barely visible.