Solar Terrestrial Activity Report

Last update issued on May 26, 2003 at 02:20 UTC. Minor update posted at 11:38 UTC.

[Solar and geomagnetic data - last 4 weeks (updated daily)]
[Solar wind and electron fluence charts (updated daily)]
[Solar cycles 21-23 (last update May 1, 2003)]
[Solar cycles 1-20]
[Graphical comparison of cycles 21, 22 and 23 (last update May 1, 2003)]
[Graphical comparison of cycles 10, 13, 17, 20 and 23 (last update May 1, 2003)]
[Historical solar and geomagnetic data charts 1954-2003 (last update April 13, 2003)]
[Archived reports (last update May 26, 2003)]

Recent activity

The geomagnetic field was quiet to minor storm on May 25. Solar wind speed ranged between 473 and 631 km/sec, peaking early in the day under the influence of a high speed stream from coronal hole CH40. The coronal hole flow appeared to be ending late on May 25.

Solar flux measured at 20h UTC on 2.8 GHz was 121.1. The planetary A index was 22 (STAR Ap - based on the mean of three hour interval ap indices: 22.6).
Three hour interval K indices: 55432434 (planetary), 55432433 (Boulder).

The background x-ray flux is at the class B2-B3 level.

At midnight there were 4 spotted regions on the visible disk. Solar flare activity was low. A single C class event was recorded during the day.

Region 10367 was quiet and stable.
Region 10368 was mostly quiet and stable. Flare: C3.0 long duration event peaking at 17:54 UTC.
Region 10370 reemerged with a few spots.

Spotted regions not numbered by SEC/NOAA:
[S169] A new region emerged very quickly after noon on May 24 in the southeast quadrant about 11 degrees longitude east of spotless region 10365. The region continued to develop quickly as a compact region on May 25 and has a magnetic delta structure in a leading penumbra. M class flaring is possible. Please note that SEC/NOAA confusingly has recycled spotless region 10365. To complicate the situation further region 10365 actually reemerged with a few spots at noon on May 25 (this is evident in SOHO/MDI images and was noticed by Mt.Wilson as well), only to become spotless once again during the early evening. Location at midnight: S06E08.

Comment added at 11:38 UTC on May 26: An interesting sequence of events occurred earlier today. First region S169 produced an M2.0 flare at 05:50 UTC. Then at 06:15 region 10367 brightened followed by a similar brightening in region 10368 at 06:23 UTC. At 06:42 UTC a long duration C6.0 (with an origin at the northeast limb) event peaked. The M2 flare in region S169 may have triggered these events and may itself have been associated with a partial halo CME. The ejected material was observed off of most of the east limb (with the exception of the southernmost part of the southeast limb) and part of the northwest quadrant. There is a small chance that a flank of this CME could reach Earth on May 28 or early on May 29.

Region S169 has continued to develop and has taken on a DKC classification. The major part of the positive polarity spots are now in the southeastern part of the region and the inversion line between the polarities has extended quite a bit. Further M class flares are likely and there is a chance of an X class flare as well as long as the strengthening magnetic delta structure is present.

Coronal mass ejections (CMEs)

May 23-25: No obviously geoeffective CMEs observed.

Coronal holes

Coronal hole history (since late October 2002)
Compare today's report with the situation one solar rotation ago: 28 days ago 27 days ago 26 days ago

A recurrent coronal hole (CH41) in the southern hemisphere was in a geoeffective position on May 24-25. A coronal hole (CH42) in the southern hemisphere will rotate into a geoeffective position on May 30.

Processed SOHO EIT 284 image at 19:06 UTC on May 25. Any black areas on the solar disk are likely coronal holes.

Forecast

The geomagnetic field is expected to be quiet to minor storm on May 26. On May 27 a high speed stream from coronal hole CH41 will likely arrive and cause unsettled to minor storm conditions that day and on May 28. Quiet to active is expected for May 29 becoming quiet to unsettled on May 31-June 1.

Long distance medium wave (AM) band propagation along east-west paths over high and upper middle latitudes is very poor and will likely stay very poor until at least May 29. Propagation along north-south paths is good to very good. [Trans Atlantic propagation conditions are currently monitored every night on 1470 kHz. Dominant station tonight: none, strong signals from 4-5 stations from Brazil noted, Radio Cristal del Uruguay only managed to get through a few times.]

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)

Compare to the previous day's image.

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 inside a few hours before midnight) and data for regions not numbered by SEC or where SEC has observed no spots.

Solar region Date numbered SEC
spot
count
STAR
spot
count
Location at midnight Area Classification Comment
10362 2003.05.15     S10W57     plage
10365 2003.05.20 16   S08W02
(SEC:
S08E08)
0190 DAI location corrected
the region is spotless,
SECs spots belong to
region S169.
10366 2003.05.22     N11E23     plage
10367 2003.05.22 4 7 S14E29 0040 CSO classification was CAO
at midnight
10368 2003.05.22 1 2 S33E37 0130 HAX  
10369 2003.05.23     N12W21     plage
10370 2003.05.23   5 N16E27 0020 DRO  
S165 emerged on
2003.05.21
    S13W11     plage
S169 emerged on
2003.05.24
  29 S06E08 0280 DAI beta-gamma-delta
Total spot count: 21 43
SSN: 51 83

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
2001.12 235.1 132.2 114.6 (-0.9)
2002.04 189.8 120.7 110.5 (-2.9)
2002.05 178.4 120.8 108.8 (-1.7)
2002.06 148.7 88.3 106.2 (-2.6)
2002.07 173.5 99.6 102.7 (-3.5)
2002.08 183.6 116.4 98.7 (-4.0)
2002.09 175.8 109.6 94.6 (-4.1)
2002.10 167.0 97.5 90.5 (-4.1)
2002.11 168.7 95.5 (84.9 predicted, -5.6)
2002.12 157.2 80.8 (80.5 predicted, -4.4)
2003.01 144.0 79.5 (77.5 predicted, -3.0)
2003.02 124.5 46.2 (72.4 predicted, -5.1)
2003.03 131.4 61.5 (66.8 predicted, -5.6)
2003.04 126.4 60.0 (61.9 predicted, -4.9)
2003.05 114.0 (1) 73.4 (2) (57.9 predicted, -4.0)

1) Running average based on the daily 20:00 UTC 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 30-50% 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. All time references are to the UTC day. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.


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