Storm surprise

An un announced geomagnetic storm took place last night and into early this morning. What looks like a switch in polarity of the IMF (no not the money crowd, the Interplanetary magnetic field) casued a rip in our magnetic field which allowed high energy solar particles to race into our atmosphere. Some beautiful aurorae were visible from Ireland including these from Ronan Newman of Galway Astronomy Club http://m1231.photobucket.com/albumview/albums/Ronan_Newman/IMG_3287.jpg.html?newest=1 . My own magnetometer (below) showed that activity seemed to start Tuesday evening and by 4am local time Wednesday, it had settled again.

Dave Gradwell


Magnetic activity - check for aurora

A short burst of magnetic activity occurred around 22:00 (on the 22nd) but current solar wind polarity doesn't suit for aurora. It may be worth a look if this changes. Raining here near Birr at present.

Dave Gradwell


Some small flares today

My solar flare monitor picked up some small C class solar flares today. They originate from, as yet to be seen, sunspot 1440. Maybe this guy will emulate 1429 who provided us with great entertainment over the last few weeks. It's still throwing off Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) on the far side of the Sun.

Dave GRadwell


All's quiet (but not on the western front)

The Sun has finally settled down after a month of flares, CMEs and northern lights. But on the western horizon Venus and Jupiter blaze down. 2 images I took this evening (Friday) mark the occasion, do go out and have a look, they're amazing. In the first the Hyades and Pleiades, or 7 Sisters, Clusters, are visible.

Dave Gradwell


Aurorae observed

Displays of the northern lights have been reported across the UK. Here in Ireland a blanket of our ubiquetous cloud has covered the country spoiling the view. I would be interested to hear from anyone who has seen them tonight. Below is a plot of my magnetometer data and it shows the big magnetic displacements from about 15:00UT onwards signifying a probanle auroral display.

Dave Gradwell

Aurora Alert

Data from my magnetometer shows sizeable activity from about 15:00 which continues at the moment. This is strong enough for visual northern lights over Ireland. When it gets dark (and the clouds clear) check your northern horizon for faint bands of mainly green or red. This activity is probably due to the impact of a weak CME at 13:00 and the onset of a fast solar wind from a coronal hole that's turning to face us.

Dave Gradwell


And the hits just keep on coming

Sunspot 1429 (surely this guy needs a more impressive name) is still unleashing large flares. Today it was an M2 class flare and may be one of the last flares we'll pick up from this most active sunspot. It's now leaving the Earth facing side of the Sun but orbiting instruments may still pick up its activity. My solar flare monitor picked up the action as it happen at about 15:15 today.

dave GRadwell


A parting blow?

After giving us days of enjoyment, sunspot 1429 is departing our view and left us with another large flare. As this spot weakens (its magnetic fields are unravelling) it released a large M7.9 flare that resulted in a proton storm around Earth. Now these have no affect on aurora but they can cause some polar flights to divert due to increased radiation levels and cause disruption to high latitude HF radio communications. My solar flare monitor picked up this flare as shown below.

Dave Gradwell


Another CME impact

Data from my magnetometer shows the CME impact of this morning (Monday) was felt over Ireland. The obvious spike in my graph coincides with the impact time and is probably a geomagnetic sudden commencement (see my previous post). A small geomagnetic storm is happening at time of typing but at the moment it's not strong enough for Northern Lights over Ireland. Stay tuned as these things can change.

Dave GRadwell


Small CME impact

The first of 2 coronal mass ejections (CMEs) impacted Earth today at 11:59am. In the end it was quite weak and no major geomagnetic storm followed. However most CMEs are polite fellows and knock at the door before they come in. Magnetically we call this a geomagnetic sudden impulse (if no storm follows) or a sudden commencement if one does. It results in a small but definite wobble of Earths magnetic field. It looks like my magnetometer picked up one of these from today's CME. I'm not certain as there's quite a bit of low level "noise" (small peaks on the graph) around the same time. Yet another CME due tomorrow (Monday) at 18:00UT.

Dave Gradwell


Another large flare

Sunspot 1429 let loose another big solar flare this evening (Saturday 10th) that was picked up by my solar flare monitoring station. This one came very close to being one of the strongest type (X class) and any CME released would be aimed directly at Earth (geoeffective).

Dave GRadwell


Magnetic activity 2012 March 9

From Early today (Friday) magnetic activity picked up. The plot from my magnetometer shows activity from about 3am (UT) probably due to the solar wind becoming south and allowing high energy particles enter our magnetosphere. Just like magnets here on earth, for the Sun's magnetic field (Interplanetary magnetic field) to connect to ours the polarities must be opposite. Earth's magnetic field that faces the Sun  has a north polarity. Should this continue we may have northern lights later.

Dave Gradwell

Some more bad science

Again the media are just printing anything without checking sources. Seemingly all of the conditions for aurora were disregarded and the aurora DID appear over Ireland. It was seen through cloud, during low magnetic activity and with a Northerly Bz. Must have been the leprechauns.

Dave Gradwell


And so it came (or did it?)

And we waited and we waited and then at about 11am it arrived ....... and it turned out to be a bit of a damp squib really. A mild geomagnetic storm occurred from the CME impact but it barely registered on my magnetometer. So after all the hype and warnings nothing happened. But on the plus side this is the great thing about solar astronomy, we still can't predict to any great certainty whats gonna happen.

Dave Gradwell


Giant Sunspot 1429

Sunspot 1429 sparks off some serious solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). One CME is planned to hit us on the 8th (Thursday) at about 6:25UT. This may produce good dislays of aurora.

Dave Gradwell