SolarHam.com - Older News Archive (September 2017)

September 15, 2017 @ 13:50 UTC
Coronal Hole Generates Nice Aurora
A high speed solar wind stream continues to move past our planet and was responsible for periods of minor to moderate geomagnetic storming at higher latitudes. Sky watchers around the Arctic Circle were once again treated to beautiful aurora displays last night. Sacha Layos from Fairbanks, Alaska sends us the awesome photo below from the latest storm. Thanks for sharing!

Isolated periods of enhanced geomagnetic activity will remain possible during the next 24 hours while the solar wind speed remains high. Sky watchers should remain alert tonight.

September 14, 2017 @ 18:50 UTC
Geomagnetic Storm in Progress
An expected coronal hole stream containing periods of southward Bz is now moving past Earth. A Moderate (G2) geomagnetic storm is currently in progress. Sky watchers at higher latitudes should be alert for visible aurora once dark outside.

ALERT: Geomagnetic K-index of 6
Threshold Reached: 2017 Sep 14 1759 UTC
Synoptic Period: 1500-1800 UTC
Active Warning: Yes
NOAA Scale: G2 - Moderate

September 13, 2017 @ 00:25 UTC
Shock Passage Observed (UPDATED)
A shock passage related to the large coronal mass ejection (CME) observed on 9/10 reached Earth on Tuesday afternoon. The solar wind speed is currently just above 600 km/s and the Bz component of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) is fluctuating between a north and south pointing orientation. A Minor (G1) geomagnetic storm is now in progress with a chance for Moderate (G2) storming possible. Please note that a coronal hole stream is also expected to become geoeffective over the next few days and could add to the disturbance. Stay tuned to SolarHam.com where you will find the most up to date information.

ALERT: Geomagnetic K-index of 5
Threshold Reached: 2017 Sep 12 2340 UTC
Synoptic Period: 2100-2400 UTC
Active Warning: Yes
NOAA Scale: G1 - Minor

September 12, 2017 @ 09:40 UTC
C3.0 Flare and CME
Early Tuesday morning a C3.0 flare was observed around small sunspot 2680 in the northeast quadrant at 07:29 UTC. No big deal right? Well except for the fact the flare was also associated with a coronal mass ejection, now visible in the latest STEREO Ahead coronagraph imagery. There is a chance that the CME will be directed towards Earth, but will only be confirmed once updated Earth facing LASCO imagery becomes available. More updates later today.

UPDATE: Coronagraph imagery reveals that this minor flare did produce a faint CME, however it turned out to be rather unimpressive and mostly reabsorbed by the sun. A geomagnetic disturbance from this particular event is not likely.

SUMMARY: 10cm Radio Burst
Begin Time: 2017 Sep 12 0726 UTC
Maximum Time: 2017 Sep 12 0727 UTC
End Time: 2017 Sep 12 0728 UTC
Duration: 2 minutes
Peak Flux: 110 sfu
Latest Penticton Noon Flux: 80 sfu
Description: A 10cm radio burst indicates that the electromagnetic burst associated with a solar flare at the 10cm wavelength was double or greater than the initial 10cm radio background. This can be indicative of significant radio noise in association with a solar flare. This noise is generally short-lived but can cause interference for sensitive receivers including radar, GPS, and satellite communications.

ALERT: Type II Radio Emission
Begin Time: 2017 Sep 12 0729 UTC
Estimated Velocity: 909 km/s
Description: Type II emissions occur in association with eruptions on the sun and typically indicate a coronal mass ejection is associated with a flare event.

September 11, 2017 @ 17:00 UTC
Large Coronal Mass Ejection Update / Proton Storm (UPDATED)
Coronagraph imagery is now complete following the X8.2 solar flare on Sunday. The full halo coronal mass ejection (CME) was so powerful and widespread, there actually appears to be an Earth directed component, most evident when viewing the LASCO C3 (blue color) video. If so, an impact to our geomagnetic field may be possible by September 12th. More updates once an updated CME tracking model becomes available. Video below.

UPDATE: According to the latest tracking models, the edge of the large CME may deliver a glancing blow to our geomagnetic field by Sept. 13th. This combined with an anticipated coronal hole stream may help to enhance activity. A Moderate (G2) storm watch will be in effect. More updates whenever necessary.

Proton Bombardment

The video above released by LASCO shows a "snowstorm" of speckles in the aftermath of the large eruption off the west limb on Sunday. This happens when sensors on board the SOHO spacecraft become saturated with energetic protons blasted away from the flare site at millions of miles per hour. Pretty awesome! Unless of course you happen to be a satellite operator.

September 10, 2017 @ 18:50 UTC
X8.2 Solar Flare / Radiation Storm
Okay... how about a major X8.2 solar flare for a parting shot? This event was just observed peaking at 16:06 UTC around region 2673, now located off the west limb. A Strong (G3) level radiation storm is now in progress as particles ejected outwards following the blast stream past Earth. Another massive coronal mass ejection (CME) is visible in STEREO imagery, but will be mostly directed towards the west. More updates once Earth facing LASCO coronagraph imagery becomes available.

Click HERE for video of the solar flare.

ALERT: Proton Event 10MeV Integral Flux exceeded 1000pfu
Begin Time: 2017 Sep 10 1840 UTC
NOAA Scale: S3 - Strong

Potential Impacts: Radiation - Passengers and crew in high latitude, high altitude flights may experience increasing radiation exposures. Astronauts on EVA (extra-vehicular activity) are exposed to elevated radiation levels.

Spacecraft - Single-event upsets to satellite operations, noise in imaging systems, and slight reduction of efficiency in solar panels are likely.

Radio - Degraded or episodically blacked-out polar HF (high frequency) radio propagation.

SUMMARY: 10cm Radio Burst
Begin Time: 2017 Sep 10 1550 UTC
Maximum Time: 2017 Sep 10 1554 UTC
End Time: 2017 Sep 10 1706 UTC
Duration: 76 minutes
Peak Flux: 1900 sfu

ALERT: Type II Radio Emission
Begin Time: 2017 Sep 10 1608 UTC
Estimated Velocity: 928 km/s
Description: Type II emissions occur in association with eruptions on the sun and typically indicate a coronal mass ejection is associated with a flare event.

September 9, 2017 @ 19:10 UTC
The Storm Is Over / 2673 Recap
What a week! The strong geomagnetic storm is now over and it looks like solar activity will decline to much lower levels. Region 2673 will turn behind the west limb during the next 48 hours. Sky watchers across many locations reported visible aurora, including deep into the southern USA. All of this activity was thanks to one large sunspot cluster.

Over 25 M-Flares and 3 X-Flares, including the largest of Solar Cycle 24. Region 2673 gave us all something to talk about over the past week. Below is a closer look at the evolution of the monster sunspot and the enormous energy it possessed. All imagery and video courtesy of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and SOHO/LASCO.

September 8, 2017 @ 13:10 UTC
Severe Geomagnetic Storm Continues (UPDATED)
A coronal mass ejection (CME) propelled into space by an X9.3 solar flare on Thursday reached our planet a little earlier than expected and helped to generate a Severe (G4) level geomagnetic storm. The solar wind climbed to above 700 km/s and the Bz component of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) pointed sharply south (-32nT) following the shock passage. Visual aurora is being reported across many locations at middle to high latitudes. Attached photo below is courtesy of Kathy Laroche from Williamstown, Ontario, Canada. Excellent photo and thanks for sharing!

A geomagnetic storm warning will remain in place for the next 24 hours. Sky watchers should continue to be alert for visual aurora.

UPDATE @ 13:10 UTC: The Bz component of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) has again tipped south. The solar wind also remains above 700 km/s and this is helping to fuel an ongoing geomagnetic storm. A Severe (G4) storm is again in progress.

September 7, 2017 @ 17:30 UTC
Strong Flaring Continues
The flaring around region 2673 continues on Thursday. The very active region produced an M7.3 flare at 10:15 UTC and this was followed up by an X1.3 event at 14:26 UTC. So far neither flare looks to have produced a large coronal mass ejection. Another strong flare will be very possible during the next 24 hours. With each passing hour, region 2673 rotates closer towards the west limb and the chances for an Earth directed eruption will decrease because of this. More updates whenever necessary.

September 6, 2017 @ 23:55 UTC
CME Impact / Storm Warning (UPDATED)
Impact! The coronal mass ejection (CME) observed on Monday swept past Earth at approximately 23:48 UTC Wednesday evening. Minor (G1) to Strong (G3) geomagnetic storming is in the forecast for middle to high latitudes during the next 24 hours. The timing works well for sky watchers across Scandinavia, northern Europe, Canada, Alaska and the northern tier USA. More updates whenever necessary.

UPDATE @ 06:30 UTC: So far the first CME impact is not nearly as impressive as initially forecast. G3 level storming from this passage is not looking likely, at least not at this point.

The Bz component of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) is now finally starting to point south at times and this could help the chances for a geomagnetic storm A storm warning will remain in effect on Thursday.

A reminder that another CME observed on Wednesday is expected to reach Earth by Friday and will again deliver a chance for Strong (G3) geomagnetic storming.

SUMMARY: Geomagnetic Sudden Impulse
Observed: 2017 Sep 06 2348 UTC
Deviation: 21 nT
Station: FRD

September 6, 2017 @ 21:00 UTC
Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) UPDATE
Coronagraph imagery courtesy of LASCO C2/C3 is now available. A bright, fast moving halo coronal mass ejection (CME) is seen leaving the sun following the X9.3 event earlier today and does indeed have an Earth directed component. Because of the sunspots location now off center in the southwest quadrant, the bulk of the plasma cloud is traveling to the west. The Earth directed flank is still significant enough to almost make a geomagnetic storm a certainty by Friday. Sky watchers should be alert for visible aurora during the next several nights while we await another CME generated by an M5.5 flare on Sept. 4th. Stay tuned to SolarHam.com for the most up to date information.

September 6, 2017 @ 14:00 UTC
Major Spaceweather Event (X9.3 Flare) / CME (Updated)
The largest solar flare of the current solar cycle 24 was just observed around region 2673. The massive event measuring X9.3 peaked at 12:02 UTC Wednesday. A Type II radio emission with an estimated velocity of 1969 km/s was recorded. A bright coronal mass ejection (CME) is visible in the latest STEREO Ahead imagery and will likely be directed our way. More to follow once Earth facing LASCO coronagraph imagery becomes available. Aurora sky watchers may be in for a treat later this week.

ALERT: Type II Radio Emission
Begin Time: 2017 Sep 06 1202 UTC
Estimated Velocity: 1969 km/s
Description: Type II emissions occur in association with eruptions on the sun and typically indicate a coronal mass ejection is associated with a flare event.

SUMMARY: 10cm Radio Burst
Begin Time: 2017 Sep 06 1154 UTC
Maximum Time: 2017 Sep 06 1156 UTC
End Time: 2017 Sep 06 1157 UTC
Duration: 3 minutes
Peak Flux: 12000 sfu

September 6, 2017 @ 09:25 UTC
X2.2 Flare! (Updated)
Region 2673 just produced a nice X2.2 solar flare at approximately 09:10 UTC (Sept 6). This is the first X-Class event to be detected since May 2015. The active region is still in a decent position for Earth directed eruptions. More updates will be provided should a coronal mass ejection (CME) be associated. More to follow. Image courtesy of SDO/AIA.

UPDATE: The X2 solar flare was not associated with a noteworthy coronal mass ejection (CME).

September 5, 2017 @ 19:00 UTC
Strong G3 Storm Watch
Possibly a treat in the works for aurora sky watchers. A Strong (G3) geomagnetic storm watch will be in effect beginning Wednesday (September 6) when the coronal mass ejection (CME) observed Monday is expected to sweep past Earth. Sky watchers across middle to high latitudes should be alert during the next 48 hours. More updates regarding this to follow.

September 5, 2017 @ 00:45 UTC
M5.5 Eruption / Earth Directed CME / Radiation Storm
Moderately strong M5.5 solar flare event observed around region 2673 on Monday evening.

UPDATE: An update regarding the M5.5 solar flare event around region 2673 this evening at 20:33 UTC. The flare was associated with a Type II radio emission with an estimated velocity of 1472 km/s, along with a 10cm radio burst (TenFlare) lasting 52 minutes and measuring 1600 solar flux units (SFU). Low energy proton levels as measured by the GOES-13 spacecraft are currently on the rise. Updated coronagraph imagery courtesy of LASCO C3 shows a coronal mass ejection (CME) leaving the sun and at least a portion of this cloud may be Earth directed. More updates to follow.

UPDATE #2 @ 00:45 UTC (Sep 5): Proton levels continue to rise following the eruption around 2673 earlier this evening. A minor (S1) radiation storm is currently in progress.

UPDATE #3 @ 02:30 UTC (Sep 5): Updated video courtesy of LASCO C2 and C3 is showing a fast moving, asymmetrical halo coronal mass ejection (CME) generated by the M5.5 event around region 2673. Judging by the video, a portion of the plasma cloud appears to be headed towards Earth. An updated CME tracking model shows an impact to our geomagnetic field possible by late September 6th. Geomagnetic storming will be likely should such an impact take place. More updates to follow whenever necessary.

Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) leaving the Sun

September 4, 2017 @ 08:00 UTC
Region 2673 / M-Flare (UPDATED)
Impressive sunspot formation continued on Sunday with region 2673 growing rapidly in both size and magnetic complexity. Although solar activity continues at low levels, the chance for stronger activity should now increase with the presence of a new delta magnetic formation. The next few days may get interesting. Stay tuned!

UPDATE: Solar activity is now at moderate levels with an M1.2 solar flare observed around region 2673 at 05:49 UTC (Sept 4). Additional flaring will be possible at the region continues to evolve.

Imagery below courtesy of SDO/HMI.

September 3, 2017 @ 13:30 UTC
Sunspot Increase
Good morning. Here is an updated look at the visible solar disk courtesy of SDO/HMI. With large sunspot 2674 now front and center, along with the addition of newly assigned regions 2676 and 2677, this helped to increase the daily solar flux value to 100 for the first time since April 2017. Also of interest, existing region 2673 has showed steady sunspot formation during the past 24 hours and will be monitored. There will remain a chance for minor C-Class solar flares and perhaps an isolated moderate M-Flare. Stay tuned to SolarHam.com for the most up to date information.

September 2, 2017 @ 13:30 UTC
Aurora From 40,000 Feet
Below is a great view of the aurora captured by Matt Melnyk during his trip between Calgary, Alberta and Toronto, Ontario. The image was just captured during his trip between Calgary, Alberta and Toronto, Ontario. Stunning photo Matt and thanks for sharing!

Periods of minor (G1) storming continued on Saturday morning while a coronal hole stream remains geoeffective. A gradual return to quieter conditions is expected within the next 48 hours.