SDO solar image - 335 angstroms - Courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams.
satellite
radio propagation
Today's Space Weather
Friday 06 May
last updated 05/2323 UT
Solar activity was at low levels during the last 24 hours. Solar wind speed decreased from 400 to nearly 360 km/s during the day. Solar activity may be expected to stay at very low to low levels during the next three days (6, 7 and 8 May). A high speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole may start to strengthen the solar wind stream from late hours on 6 May. Geomagnetic activity stayed at quiet to unsettled levels on 5 May. Mostly quiet geomagnetic conditions are expected on 6 May with the possibility of rise to unsettled levels during late hours on this day due to possible start of a coronal hole effect. Unsettled to active levels are likely on 7 and 8 May due to the coronal hole effect. HF conditions were mostly normal today with some minor to mild MUF depression periods observed in mid latitude regions. Nearly similar HF conditions may be expected on 6 May. Further depressions in MUFs may be expected on 7 and 8 June due to expected rise 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
Closeup of a sunspot showing convection cells.
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