FORECAST SOL: Normal green MAG: Moderate yellow ION: Normal green
SDO solar image - 1600 angstroms - Courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams.
satellite
radio propagation
Today's Space Weather
Thursday 23 February
last updated 22/2322 UT
Solar activity was low on UT day 22 February. Region 2638 produced a C4 flare that peaked at 1327 UT. A coronal hole effect is expected to start strengthening solar wind stream from some time today (23 February) and remain effective for the following few days. Very low levels of solar activity may be expected for the next 3 days (23-25 February) with a slight chance of C-class flares. Geomagnetic activity was at quiet to unsettled levels across the Australian region on UT day 22 February. The effect of the above mentioned coronal hole is expected to raise geomagnetic activity from quiet to active levels with the possibility of minor storm periods on 23 and 24 February. Geomagnetic activity is expected to decline to mostly unsettled levels on 25 February. MUFs were near predicted monthly values with periods of mild to moderate enhancements during UT day 22 February. Minor to moderate MUF depressions and degradations in HF conditions may be expected from 23 to 25 February due to expected rises in geomagnetic activity levels on these days.
What is Space Weather ?

Space weather refers to changes in the space environment, particularly the region between the Earth and Sun. The "solar wind" from the Sun stream past the Earth and is mostly deflected by the Earth's magnetic field, but variations in the solar wind cause changes in the Earth's magnetic field.

solar prominence

Occasionally, a huge release of magnetic energy, called a solar flare, occurs on the Sun. Flares can produce large quantities of x-rays which affect the Earth's atmosphere. They can also accelerate atomic particles (mostly protons) to very high speeds (a substantial fraction of the speed of light!). These high energy particles are dangerous to man and can reach the stratosphere where jetliners fly.

Most aspects of space weather affect us to some extent. The more our society becomes dependent on technology and the more we utilise space, the more we are affected by space weather. Some aspects of space weather are benevolent, and allow activities not otherwise possible such as long range radio communications. Some aspects are benign but fascinating such as the Aurora, and some are malevolent. Like terrestrial weather, it sometimes depends on the situation and the event.

The image below is an artists impression of the solar wind interacting with the Earth's magnetic field.

Solar wind
Aurora Australis as seen from the International Space Station, with the port wing of space shuttle Atlantis, and segment of a boom sensor system attached to the shuttle's robotic arm.
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