Solar Terrestrial Activity Report

Last update November 21, 2002 at 03:40 UTC. Minor update posted at 10:32 UTC.

[Solar and geomagnetic data - last 4 weeks (updated daily)]
[Solar wind and electron fluence charts (updated daily)]
[Solar cycles 21-23 (last update November 2, 2002)]
[Solar cycles 1-20]
[Graphical comparison of cycles 21, 22 and 23 (last update November 2, 2002)]
[Graphical comparison of cycles 10, 13, 17, 20 and 23 (last update November 2, 2002)]
[Historical solar and geomagnetic data charts 1954-2002 (last update October 13, 2002)]
[Archived reports (last update November 9, 2002)]

Recent activity

The geomagnetic field was quiet to active on November 20. Solar wind speed ranged between 353 and 494 km/sec. A disturbance began influencing the geomagnetic field around noon. Solar wind density and speed increased as early as 10:30 UTC at ACE. The total field of the interplanetary magnetic field increased gradually in strength from 23h UTC and became very strong early on Nov.21. Although a coronal stream is still the most likely possibility, this disturbance may have other sources than a coronal hole.

Solar flare activity was moderate. Solar flux was 159.1, the planetary A index was 17 (STAR Ap - based on the mean of three hour ap indices: 18.5).
Three hour interval K indices: 33132444 (planetary), 32231444 (Boulder).

The background x-ray flux is at the class B7 level.

At midnight there were 7 spotted regions on the visible disk, 1 of which has not yet been numbered. A total of 10 C and 1 M class events were recorded during the day.

Region 10191 decayed slowly and is rotating over the southwest limb. Flares: C1.1 at 04:50 and C1.0 at 15:25 UTC.
Region 10195 decayed slowly and quietly.
Region 10197 added a few small spots and was otherwise unchanged and quiet.
Region 10198 did not change much. The magnetic delta in the huge leading penumbra disappeared, however, there is a weak delta in a trailing penumbra. Flares: C1.7 at 01:46, C1.4 at 03:12, C1.3 at 11:24, C3.9 at 16:33, an impulsive M1.4 at 18:07, C1.6 at 19:29 and an impulsive C5.2 at 23:56 UTC.
New region 10199 emerged in the northeast quadrant on Nov.19 and was numbered on Nov.20.
New region 10200 rotated into view at the east limb early in the day.

Spotted regions not yet numbered:
[S32] A bipolar region emerged just northwest of the leading penumbra of region 10198 late on Nov. 18 and developed slowly on Nov.19 and 20. Location at midnight: S16E03.

Comment added at 10:32 UTC on November 21: The unusually strong coronal stream in progress caused severe to very severe geomagnetic storming during the 06-09h UTC interval with the 3-hour planetary A index reaching 144 (as far as I can recall this is the highest 3-hour ap value associated with a coronal stream disturbance, at least since the years prior to the last sunspot minimum). Solar wind speed has levelled out just below 700 km/sec. Active to major storming is likely for the remainder of the day.

Coronal mass ejections (CMEs)

November 18-20: No obviously geoeffective CMEs noted.

Coronal holes

A trans equatorial coronal hole, possibly an extension of the southern polar coronal hole, was in a geoeffective position on November 18.

Enhanced SOHO EIT 284 image at 19:05 UTC on November 20 . The black areas on the solar disk are coronal holes.


The geomagnetic field is expected to be unsettled to major storm on November 21 and unsettled to minor storm on Nov.22 under the influence of a coronal stream. Long distance medium wave (AM) band propagation along east-west paths over high and upper middle latitudes is poor to very poor.

Coronal holes (1) Coronal mass ejections (2) M and X class flares (3)
Coronal hole indicator CME indicator M and X class flare indicator

1) Effects from a coronal hole could reach Earth within the next 5 days.
2) Material from a CME is likely to impact Earth within 96 hours.
3) There is a possibility of either M or X class flares within the next 48 hours.

Green: 0-20% probability, Yellow: 20-60% probability, Red: 60-100% probability.

Active solar regions (Recent map)

Composite image based on a SOHO/MDI image and overlaid by a coronal hole image. Region numbering has been included.

Data for all numbered solar regions according to the Solar Region Summary provided by SEC/NOAA. Comments are my own, as is the STAR spot count (spots observed at or just prior to midnight) and data for regions not numbered by SEC or where SEC has observed no spots.

Solar region Date numbered SEC
Location at midnight Area Classification Comment
10191 2002.11.08 7 1 S18W81 0200 FAO area was 0040 in
an HAX group at
10193 2002.11.12     S02W84     plage
10194 2002.11.13     S17W51     plage
10195 2002.11.13 7 5 S17W11 0190 EAO  
10197 2002.11.14 2 5 N24W06 0310 HHX  
10198 2002.11.15 30 24 S18E15 0580 FKC beta-gamma-delta
SEC spot number
includes region S32
10199 2002.11.20 3 4 N27E13 0030 AXX formerly region S33,
classification was HRX
at midnight
10200 2002.11.20 1 1 N00E71 0060 HSX latitude appears to
be S02 rather than
S32 emerged on
  6 S16E03 0040 DAO  
Total spot count: 50 46
SSN: 110 116

Monthly solar cycle data

Month Average solar
flux at Earth
International sunspot number Smoothed sunspot number
2000.04 184.2 125.5 120.8
cycle 23 sunspot max.
2000.07 202.3 170.1 119.8
2001.10 207.6 125.5 114.0 (-0.1)
2001.11 210.6 106.5 115.5 (+1.5)
2001.12 235.1 132.2 114.6 (-0.9)
2002.01 226.6 114.1 113.5 (-1.1)
2002.02 205.0 107.4 114.7 (+1.2)
2002.03 179.5 98.4 113.4 (-1.3)
2002.04 189.8 120.7 110.5 (-2.9)
2002.05 178.4 120.8 (109.0 predicted, -1-5)
2002.06 148.7 88.3 (107.0 predicted, -2.0)
2002.07 173.5 99.9 (103.6 predicted, -3.4)
2002.08 183.6 116.4 (100.2 predicted, -3.4)
2002.09 175.8 109.3 (96.4 predicted, -4.8)
2002.10 167.0 97.5 (92.3 predicted, -4.1)
2002.11 180.9 (1) 120.4 (2) (87.0 predicted, -5.3)

1) Running average based on the daily 20:00 UT observed solar flux value at 2800 MHz.
2) Unofficial, accumulated value based on the Boulder (SEC/NOAA) sunspot number. The official international sunspot number is typically 25-45% less.

This report has been prepared by Jan Alvestad. It is based partly on my own observations and interpretations, and partly on data from sources noted in solar links. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

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