Current Aurora Conditions
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Aurora Alerts are issued when space weather activity favourable for viewing aurora is in progress. When an alert is current the alert information indicates the latitudinal range in terms of high, middle, low and equatorial regions where aurora may be visible under good observing conditions. All times are given in Universal Time (UT), which is similar to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Aurora Watches are warnings with lead times of up to 48 hours. They will only be issued in response to a significant solar Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) or coronal hole likely to be geo-effective. Aurora alerts will follow if favourable space weather activity acutally occurs. Aurora Outlooks are warnings with lead times of 3-7 days. They will be issued in response to the presence of a large active solar region expected to rotate into a position that is favourable for CMEs, and similarly for significant coronal holes. Solar regions that maintain high levels of solar flare activity for sustained periods are rare. Consequently, these notices are likely to be infrequent. Aurora watches and/or alerts will follow if a geoeffective CME is observed and/or significant geomagnetic activity actually occurs. The Space Weather API provides details of any aurora notice (alert, watch, outlook) current for the Australian region.
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The K index is a measure of geomagnetic activity for a 3-hour period. The larger the K index, the greater the chance of seeing an aurora at lower latitudes. To check if an aurora could be visible at your latitude for a given K-index value, look at our table of visibility range estimates or try out the Auroral Oval Prediction Tool. The Kaus index is the Estimated Australian Region K index sourced from SWS. Kaus is a near real-time estimate of the K index for the Australian region, which is recalculated approximately every 5 minutes. The Kp index is the Estimated Planetary K index sourced from NOAA/SWPC. The Kp index is updated every 3-hours and its timestamp will be behind that of the Kaus index.
Current Solar Wind
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More details about the solar wind are given at Solar Wind Speed. The solar wind data is supplied by the US NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). This Real Time Solar Wind (RTSW) data set originates from NASA's Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite.
AskBOM: What is an aurora?
Video: Watch this short video "What is an aurora?" to understand more about auroras.
A new aurora camera system, to be installed at Campania, Tasmania, is currently under development. The aurora camera will provide real-time images of the southern horizon so that current aurora viewing conditions can be monitored. Aurora visibility can be reduced by cloud cover and moonlight.