Last major update issued on December 31, 2011 at 06:00 UTC.
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Annotated geomagnetic activity charts - Carrington rotation 2116 [October-November 2011] - 2117 [November-December 2011] NEW
[Solar polar fields vs solar cycles - updated June 27, 2011]
The geomagnetic field was quiet to unsettled on December 30. Solar wind speed ranged between 334 and 473 km/s.
Solar flux measured at 20h UTC on 2.8 GHz was 141.1 (decreasing 23.0 over the last solar rotation). The planetary A index was 5 (STAR Ap - based on the mean of three hour interval ap indices: 5.3). Three hour interval K indices: 11101322 (planetary), 11112322 (Boulder).
The background x-ray flux is at the class B4 level.
At midnight UTC the visible solar disk had 9 spotted regions (in 2K resolution SDO images).
Region 11384 [N12W71] was quiet and stable.
Region 11386 [S16W19] decayed slowly and quietly. Note that SWPC includes region S1392 in this region.
Region 11388 [S23E29] was quiet and stable.
Region 11389 [S17E44] was quiet and stable. Note that SWPC includes region S1401 in this region.
Region 11390 [N11E44] merged with region S1398.
Spotted regions not reported (or interpreted differently) by NOAA/SWPC:
[S1392] rotated into view at the southeast limb on December 23, slow decay was observed on Dec.30. Location at midnight: S18W16
[S1401] rotated into view at the southeast limb on December 28 and developed significantly in the central and trailing spot sections on Dec.29. The region has a magnetic delta structure and could produce further M class flares. Note that SWPC includes this region in AR 11389. Location at midnight: S24E50. Flares: M1.2 at 03:09, C3.4 at 08:25, C1.6 at 10:06, C8.4 at 10:32, C1.8 at 13:41, C1.8 at 18:23 UTC.
[S1403] emerged in the northeast quadrant on December 30. Location at midnight: N24E14
[S1404] emerged in the northwest quadrant on December 30. Location at midnight: N11W08
December 28-30: No obviously Earth directed CMEs were observed in LASCO and STEREO imagery.
Coronal hole history (since October
Compare today's report to the situation one solar rotation ago: 28 days ago 27 days ago 26 days ago
A large extension (CH490) of the southern polar coronal hole was in a potentially geoeffective position on December 26-29. A recurrent trans equatorial coronal hole (CH491) will likely rotate into an Earth facing position on January 4-5.
The above coronal hole map is based on a new method where coronal holes are detected automatically. The method may need some fine tuning, however, it has significant advantages over detecting coronal holes manually. The main improvement is the ability to detect coronal holes at and just beyond the solar limbs. Early results using this method for SDO images over a span of several weeks indicate a good match between coronal holes observed over the visible disk and their extent and position at the east and west limbs. Note that the polar coronal holes are easily detected using the new method, the extent and intensity of both holes are consistent with other data sources.
Long distance low and medium frequency (below 2 MHz) propagation along paths north of due west over high and upper middle latitudes is fair. Propagation on long distance northeast-southwest paths is poor.
The geomagnetic field is expected to be quiet to occasionally unsettled on December 31 - January 1 due to weak coronal hole effects, quiet conditions are likely on January 2-3.
|Coronal holes (1)||Coronal mass ejections (2)||M and X class flares (3)|
1) Effects from a coronal hole could reach Earth within the
next 5 days. When the high speed stream has arrived the color changes to
2) Effects from a CME are likely to be observed at 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.
Click on image for higher resolution image) Compare to the previous day's image
When available the active region map has a coronal hole polarity overlay where red (pink) is negative and blue (blue-green) is positive.
Data for all numbered solar regions according to the Solar Region Summary provided by NOAA/SWPC. 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 SWPC or where SWPC has observed no spots. SWPC active region numbers in the table below and in the active region map above are the historic SWPC/USAF numbers.
|Active region||Date numbered
|Spot count||Location at midnight||Area||Classification||SDO / HMI 4K continuum
image with magnetic polarity overlay
SWPC includes region S1392
|S1398||2011.12.26||merged with region 11390 on Dec.30|
SWPC includes region S1401
|Total spot count:||39||39|
|Sunspot number:||89||129||(total spot count + 10 * number of spotted regions)|
|Weighted penumbral SN:||74||77||(Sum of total spot count + classification weighting for each AR. Classification weighting: X=0, R=3, A/S=5, H/K=10)|
|Relative sunspot number (Wolf number):||53||58||k * (sunspot number). k = 0.6 for SWPC. k = 0.45 (changed from 0.33 on Nov.1) for STAR SDO|
|Month||Average measured solar flux||International sunspot number (SIDC)||Smoothed sunspot number||Average ap
|2008.07||65.7 (SF minimum)||0.5||2.8 (-0.4)|
|2010.10||81.6||23.5||23.2 (+3.6)||6.07 / 6.27|
|2010.11||82.5||21.5||26.5 (+3.3)||4.80 / 5.50|
|2010.12||84.2||14.4||28.8 (+2.3)||3.41 / 4.35|
|2011.01||83.6||19.1||31.0 (+2.2)||4.32 / 5.51|
|2011.02||94.6||29.4||33.4 (+2.4)||5.41 / 6.44|
|2011.03||115.0||56.2||36.9 (+3.5)||7.79 / 8.18|
|2011.04||112.6||54.4||41.8 (+4.9)||9.71 / 8.83|
|2011.05||95.8||41.6||47.6 (+5.8)||9.18 / 8.94|
|2011.06||95.8||37.0||(53.7 projected, +6.1)||8.96 / 8.06|
|2011.07||94.2||43.9||(60.0 projected, +6.3)||9.14 / 8.16|
|2011.08||101.7||50.6||(65.5 projected, +5.5)||8.16 / 7.26|
|2011.09||133.8||78.0||(68.8 projected, +3.3)||12.80 / 12.27|
|2011.10||137.3||88.0||(72.3 projected, +3.5)||7.52|
|2011.11||153.5||96.7||(76.6 projected, +4.3)||4.58|
|2011.12||141.6 (1)||103.0 (2A) / 106.4 (2B)||(82.1 projected, +5.5)||(3.28)|
1) Running average based on the daily 20:00 UTC observed solar flux value at
2A) Current impact on the monthly sunspot number based on the Boulder (NOAA/SWPC) sunspot number (accumulated daily sunspots / month days). The official SIDC international sunspot number is typically 30-50% lower. 2B) Month average to date.
3) Running average based on the preliminary daily SWPC ap indices. Values in red are based on the official NGDC ap indices.
This report has been prepared by Jan Alvestad. It is based on analysis of data from whatever sources are available at the time the report is prepared. All time references are to the UTC day. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.
SDO images are courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams.