Space Weather



What is Space Weather?
Space weather describes the conditions in space that affect Earth and its technological systems.
Space Weather is a consequence of the behaviour of the sun, the nature of Earth's magnetic field and atmosphere,
and our location in the solar system.

Solar Activity Monitor for the next 24 hours
 

Solar X-rays:
Geomagnetic Field:

current

Status
Status



 

Actual region
of solar radiation:

Click to enlarge the picture

Latest Active Region image

Latest H-alpha Image
 

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Auroral Map

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About the Solar X-ray status monitor

The X-ray Solar status monitor downloads data periodically from the NOAA Space Environment Centre FTP server. The previous 24 hours of 5 minute Long-wavelength X-ray data from each satellite (GOES 8 and GOES 10) is analyzed, and an appropriate level of activity for the past 24 hours is assigned as follows:

Status  Normal: Solar X-ray flux is quiet                                       (< 1.00e-6 W/m^2)
Status   Active: Solar X-ray flux is active                                      (>= 1.00e-6 W/m^2)
Status   M Class Flare: An M Class flare has occurred                (X-ray flux >= 1.00e-5 W/m^2)
Status   X Class Flare: An X Class flare has occurred                   (X-ray flux >= 1.00e-4 W/m^2)
Status   Mega Flare: An unprecedented X-ray event has occurred (X-ray flux >= 1.00e-3 W/m^2)

 

About the Geomagnetic Field status monitor

The Geomagnetic Field status monitor downloads data periodically from the NOAA Space Environment Centre FTP server. The previous 24 hours of 3 hour Planetary Kp Index data is analyzed and an appropriate level of activity for the past 24 hours is assigned as follows:
 

Status    Quiet: the Geomagnetic Field is quiet                         (Kp <4)
Status    Active: the Geomagnetic Field has been unsettled     (Kp =4)
Status   Storm: A Geomagnetic Storm has occurred                  (Kp >4)

 

NOAA Space Weather Scale for Geomagnetic Storms

Category

Effect

Physical measure

Average Frequency
(1 cycle = 11 years)

Scale

Descriptor

Duration of event will influence severity of effects

   

Geomagnetic Storms

Kp values*
determined every 3 hours
Number of storm events when Kp level was met;
(number of storm days)

G 5

Extreme

Power systems: : widespread voltage control problems and protective system problems can occur, some grid systems may experience complete collapse or blackouts. Transformers may experience damage.

Spacecraft operations: may experience extensive surface charging, problems with orientation, uplink/downlink and tracking satellites.

Other systems: pipeline currents can reach hundreds of amps, HF (high frequency) radio propagation may be impossible in many areas for one to two days, satellite navigation may be degraded for days, low-frequency radio navigation can be out for hours, and aurora has been seen as low as Florida and southern Texas (typically 40 geomagnetic lat.)**.

Kp = 9

4 per cycle
(4 days per cycle)

G 4

Severe

Power systems: possible widespread voltage control problems and some protective systems will mistakenly trip out key assets from the grid.

Spacecraft operations: may experience surface charging and tracking problems, corrections may be needed for orientation problems.

Other systems: induced pipeline currents affect preventive measures, HF radio propagation sporadic, satellite navigation degraded for hours, low-frequency radio navigation disrupted, and aurora has been seen as low as Alabama and northern California (typically 45 geomagnetic lat.)**.

Kp = 8, including a 9-

100 per cycle
(60 days per cycle)

G 3

Strong

Power systems: voltage corrections may be required, false alarms triggered on some protection devices.

Spacecraft operations: surface charging may occur on satellite components, drag may increase on low-Earth-orbit satellites, and corrections may be needed for orientation problems.

Other systems: intermittent satellite navigation and low-frequency radio navigation problems may occur, HF radio may be intermittent, and aurora has been seen as low as Illinois and Oregon (typically 50 geomagnetic lat.)**.

Kp = 7

200 per cycle
(130 days per cycle)

G 2

Moderate

Power systems: high-latitude power systems may experience voltage alarms, long-duration storms may cause transformer damage.

Spacecraft operations: corrective actions to orientation may be required by ground control; possible changes in drag affect orbit predictions.

Other systems: HF radio propagation can fade at higher latitudes, and aurora has been seen as low as New York and Idaho (typically 55 geomagnetic lat.)**.

Kp = 6

600 per cycle
(360 days per cycle)

G 1

Minor

Power systems: weak power grid fluctuations can occur.

Spacecraft operations: minor impact on satellite operations possible.

Other systems: migratory animals are affected at this and higher levels; aurora is commonly visible at high latitudes (northern Michigan and Maine)**.

Kp = 5

1700 per cycle
(900 days per cycle)

 

X-Ray Flux

This plot shows 3-days of 5-minute solar x-ray flux values measured on the SEC primary and secondary GOES satellites.
One low value may appear prior to eclipse periods.

 

The Earth has a magnetic field that resembles the field of a bar magnet located at centre of the Earth. In Finland the strength of the field is about 51000 nT (nanotesla). Magnetic field is a vector quantity which means that in addition to its strength it is important to know also its direction. The standard measurements of the geomagnetic field determine its geographic north (X), east (Y), and downward (Z) components. In Finland the field is directed almost perpendicularly downwards and thus the Z-component is much larger than the X- and Y-components.
The accompanying magneto gram show the X-, Y-, and Z-components of the magnetic field recorded today at the Nurmijrvi geophysical observatory. At the left side of the magneto grams you can see the nanotesla scale that can be used to estimate the amplitudes of the various in the field components.
Electric currents flowing in the upper atmosphere (in the ionosphere at 100 km altitude) cause continuous variability in the geomagnetic field. During auroral periods the strongest currents flow in the east-west direction causing variation especially in the X-component which typically decreases (i.e. the curve deviates downward).
The strength of the ionospheric currents can be easily estimated if the amplitude of the magnetic field variation is known. According to a rough thumb rule one nanotesla deviation corresponds to a current enhancement of 1000 amperes. Such currents are large when compared e.g. to the few ampere currents of domestic appliances. In Lapland during auroral periods typical measured magnetic deviations are of the order of a few hundreds of nanotesla corresponding to ionospheric currents of a few hundreds of amperes. During the strongest geomagnetic storms, like at the end of October 2003, the ionospheric currents can easily exceed million amperes.

 

This is a summary of latest plots of space weather data as provided by NOAA/SEC.

Informations by

Estimated Planetary K index
(3 hour data)

kp.gif

 

GOES Electron Flux
 (5 minute data)

electron.gif

 

GOES Magnetometer
 (1 minute data)

goeshp.gif

 

GOES 11 Proton Flux
 (5 minute data)

proton.gif

 

GOES Satellite Environment

satenv.gif

 

GOES X-ray Flux
 (5 minute data)

xray.gif