Thursday, April 26, 2012

Report for 4/26/12

There was a lunar transit on Saturday, which was captured by NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) cameras.  The picture below was taken by SDO in extreme ultraviolet light.

On Monday and Tuesday, geomagnetic storms (Kp=5-6) occurred as a result of a coronal mass ejection (CME) that blasted by the Earth.  The solar activity caused auroras, which could be seen as far south as Colorado and Nebraska in the US.

Do you predict there will be any space weather events in the next 24 hours?  Submit your forecast!

Saturday's lunar transit as seen by NASA SDO.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Report for 4/12/12

The Sun was pretty quiet this week, with virtually no sunspots on Tuesday! This shows that although we are approaching solar max, there can still be periods of intense quiet on the Sun. The largest solar flare that occurred was a C-class blast on Monday; a coronal mass ejection (CME) that was expected to hit Earth on that same day missed, so geomagnetic activity was low this week.

A few sunspots have appeared on the Sun in the last few days, which may cause some increased activity. Do you think there will be any space weather events in the next 24 hours? Submit your forecast and let us know!

There were no sunspots on Tuesday!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Report for 4/6/12

Although sunspot AR1429 recently returned from its journey around the backside of the Sun, solar activity has been low this week. This sunspot (which has since been renamed AR1451) was the source of over 50 solar flares from March 2nd to 15th, but has significantly decreased in size over the past few weeks.

A coronal mass ejection (CME) that erupted from the Sun on April 2nd was predicted to hit Earth two days later, but there have been no signs of it yet. It is possible it missed Earth, but we are still on the lookout for it.

The Sun also did a 360 degree roll this wee
k. Just kidding! Although it appears the Sun did a somersault, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) actually did. Twice a year, the SDO spacecraft does a 360 degree roll about the spacecraft-Sun line; this maneuver allows scientists to identify optical distortions in solar images. It also enables them to determine if the Sun's sphere is changing over time as a result of the solar cycle.

The Solar Dynamics Observatory did a 360 roll on Wednesday (not the Sun).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Report for 3/22/12

There was a powerful coronal mass ejection (CME) released from the Sun on Sunday, the source being sunspot AR1429. The sunspot, which has been active for several weeks, has been turning to the backside of the Sun and so the CME was not Earth-directed.

Midweek there was an electron storm; there was an increased number of excited electrons in the Earth's outer radiation belt. The NASA Goddard Space Weather Lab determined that this was caused by a combination of a solar wind stream and geomagnetic storm activity that Earth experienced recently. Satellites that travel near the radiation belts during these storms could be adversely affected.

Today there is a 15% chance of geomagnetic storms in the higher latitudes according to NOAA. Do you think there will be any major solar events through the weekend? Submit your forecast and let us know! Results will be posted on the home page next week!

SOHO captured footage of a coronal mass ejection on March 18th.
The disc in the middle is covering the Sun.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Report for 3/16/12

Sunspot AR1429, which caused a flurry of solar events last week, unleashed a massive M8-class solar flare on March 10th and M7-class flare on March 13th. The latter blast was followed by a coronal mass ejection (CME) that caused yesterday's geomagnetic storm (Kp=6). AR1429 has been so active that sky watchers in the Arctic Circle have witnessed auroras for almost two weeks straight.

Comet SWAN, a Kreutz sungrazer comet, rocketed toward the Sun on March 14th, but did not survive. This comet was much smaller than Comet Lovejoy
, a sungrazer comet that got a great deal of attention last December for making it around the Sun and surviving its journey.

Do you think there will be any major solar events this weekend? Submit your forecast and let us know what you think!

Comet SWAN (bottom left) races to the Sun (blocked out by center disc).
SOHO captured this footage on March 14th.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Report for 3/9/12

Massive sunspot AR1429 has been very active this week, unleashing several intense solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). The sunspot released an X1-class solar flare and CME on Monday. It followed that up with an X5-class solar flare and CME on Wednesday, which was Earth-directed; the blast is the cause for today's geomagnetic storm activity.

AR1429 is currently more than seven times the width of Earth and is still growing! (As of Sunday, it was approximately four times Earth's width.) NOAA forecasters predict an 80% chance of M-class flares and 40% chance of X-class flares in the next 24 hours.
What do you predict?
Submit your forecast today!

The Sun unleashed an X-class flare on Wednesday.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Report for 2/24/12

This week was pretty exciting! On Tuesday, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured stunning shots of the Lunar Transit (see images below). On Thursday, a "solar tsunami" erupted from the Sun, which released a burst of plasma into space at an incredible speed of approximately 250 km/s. A filament erupted this morning causing a coronal mass ejection (CME) to be hurled into space, but it is not headed for Earth and should not affect us.

Tuesday's Lunar Transit as seen by SDO.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Report for 2/17/12

Early in the week, sunspot AR1402 returned after a two-week trip around the back of the Sun. This sunspot (which has since been renamed AR1419) was the source of a major X-class solar flare on Jan. 27, but has since significantly decreased in size; it gave off only B- and C-class flares this week.

A geomagnetic storm (Kp=5) began early on Feb. 15th and gave sky watchers as far south as Minnesota the chance to see auroras. The Sun remained quiet the rest of the week and remains that way today. Do you think that a space weather event will occur over the weekend? Submit your forecast and let us know!

Today's Sun is quiet, but is still amazing to look at!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Report for 2/10/12

The Sun started the week off strong with a powerful coronal mass ejection (CME) and M1-class solar flare on Monday. Mid-week, a moderate solar wind stream flowed to Earth leading NOAA forecasters to predict a 40% chance of a geomagnetic storms in the higher latitudes. No major storm activity occurred, but sky watchers around the Arctic Circle were treated to vibrant auroras.

Last night, a filament on the Sun's northeastern limb exploded, causing a CME that is currently heading toward Venus. Although the blast is not headed our way, a new sunspot located near the blast site may be a potential source of solar activity in the upcoming week.

What do you think this weekend's space weather will be? Submit your forecast!

Today's Sun as seen by the Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Report for 1/27/12

This week was an exciting one for space weather fans! On Monday, sunspot AR1402 caused an M9-class solar flare followed by a coronal mass ejection (CME). The CME, which hit Earth's magnetic field on Tuesday, caused a geomagnetic storm; the storm created beautiful auroras for sky watchers as far south as South Dakota and Michigan in the US.

Yesterday, a CME was released from the Sun over its north pole, although it is not heading toward Earth. Earth is also safe from the effects of the powerful X2-class flare and CME that sunspot AR1402 unleashed today. This sunspot is on the far side of the Sun, so its recent activity has not been aimed at us.

A solar wind stream is expected to arrive over the weekend, which may cause some disruptions in Earth's magnetic field. What are your predictions for this weekend's space weather? Make your forecast here!

An X2-class solar flare and CME erupted today.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Report for 1/20/12

Sunspot 1401 put on a show for us this week, causing several space weather events. According to the NASA Goddard Space Weather Lab, strong geomagnetic storms are possible this weekend due to a full-halo coronal mass ejection (CME) that occurred yesterday. The CME occurred when sunspot 1401 erupted around 16:30 UTC. It produced not only the CME, but an M3-class solar flare.

What do you predict the weekend will hold? Make your space weather forecast here!

Sunspot 1401 has been very active this week.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Report for 1/13/12

Over half of the Camilla Space Weather Project forecasters predicted a 60-80% chance of a solar event last week. Good job, forecasters! There were C-class solar flares on Jan. 9 and Jan. 12!

Last weekend, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured footage of sunspot AR1393 tripling in size in just over two days, growing to be about five times the width of Earth (see video)! Despite its size, this sunspot did not produce much activity. On the other hand, on Jan. 9, sunspot AR1395 caused a C-class solar flare when its magnetic field untwisted!

Sunspot AR1393 tripled in size last weekend!

A minor solar wind stream caused beautiful auroras around the Arctic Circle on Jan. 10. The Sun put on another show yesterday with an eruption on its far side, which caused a C-class flare (see image below). The active region that caused the eruption and flare will be turning toward Earth over the weekend; do you think it will cause any other events? Make your predictions here!

This active region produced a flare on Jan. 12 and will soon face Earth.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Report for 1/6/12

Half of our Camilla Space Weather Project forecasters predicted a 40% chance of a solar event this week (see chart on right).

On Jan. 2, there was a solar flare and coronal mass ejection (CME)! Although not Earth-facing, it put on a beautiful show for around three hours.

On Jan. 5, the Sun released another CME. The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center predicts a 15-40% chance of geomagnetic storms in the higher latitudes through Jan. 8 (see table above). This is due to a solar wind stream that is predicted to hit Earth's magnetic field.

The Sun is currently quiet, but what will the weekend hold? Submit your forecasts and let us know what you think!

Plasma dances on the Sun after a CME and flare on Jan. 2, 2012.