SDO solar image - 335 angstroms - Courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams.
satellite
radio propagation
Today's Space Weather
Saturday 13 February
last updated 13/0003 UT
Solar activity on the UT day 12 Feb was at moderate levels with one M-class and three flares C-class flares. The strongest M1.0 flare occurred at 12/1047 UT from near solar centre (Region 2497), however it did not trigger a coronal mass ejection (CME). The halo CME associated with C8.9 flare that occurred on 21:03 UT on February 11 near the solar centre between Regions 2496 and 2497 will most probably arrive at the Earth early on UT day February 15. A minor to moderate geomagnetic storm are expected on UT day Feb 15. Auroral sight could be possible on the local night of 15 Feb from southern regions of Australia, including Tasmania and maybe Victoria.
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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